How long does it take to learn a language?

Well it depends on a lot of factors, but if you are an English speaker, this infographic (from Voxy) shows the easiest and most difficult languages to pick up and the number of weeks and class hours to do so (according to data from the Foreign Service Institute of the US Dept of State).

Of course, you don’t have to take a class to learn a language, so here’s my list of 200+ places where you can learn a language online in many different ways – both through traditional tuition or self-paced content, as well as through social networking, language exchange partners, etc.

Via: Voxy

9 thoughts on “How long does it take to learn a language?

  1. Alfredo

    I am really interested in this inquiry. As PhD in Linguistics, I am wondering what are the parameters applied to provide this ranking.

    1. Jane Hart Post author

      Alfredo, you’ll need to ask the Foreign Service Institute of the US Dept of State who provided the data for the Voxy infographic

  2. Alex Papworth

    Thanks Jane. I’m enjoying following your blog as someone whose passion is helping business analysts develop their skills effectively. My daughter has just started learning Mandarin so I’m not going to be showing her this!

  3. Adi Gaskell

    25 hours a week seems an awful lot of time to devote to the task. I’ve been learning Czech for the last few years and probably devote perhaps 4-5 hours a week to it. I can probably speak on behalf of my class when I say we’re nowhere near proficient yet, although we’re getting there.

    As a language, it’s similar to Polish so I suppose based on the numbers in the infographic another 2-3 years will be required to become proficient. That seems about right based on our current rate of progress.

  4. Mark oehlert


    Really interesting piece (really).

    Now will my learning style matter? 😉


  5. Paola

    Why German is not in the list?? not because you know english shouldn’t be in the list… I would like to know how many hours and other dates..despite I know english… my native language is spanish…. and I want to lear languages in all the categories such as:

    Easy: Dutch,Swedish,Norwegian
    Medium: Finnish
    Hard: Japanesse ( I wanted Chinesse but not now… hahah just japanesse is enough

    I guess GErman should be either in Easy or Medium .. because it seems to english and dutch… but some people say it is hard hahah…

  6. larry rigby

    As an American who learned to speak fluent German, I found the omission of this language strange, especially since there are 100 m + speakers.

    Is there a reason?

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