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Michelle, the first lady of the United States, started learning Chinese a long time ago. Tony, a former Nobel laureate in physics, said that he was proficient in many languages, but he found Chinese difficult and interesting at the same time. As the “Chinese language craze” continues to heat up, there seems to be an upward trend in learning Chinese. So, how long does it take to learn Chinese? The answer may be better than you think.
Simply put, there are many variables that will affect the length of time you learn Chinese. Some experts estimated that it would take 2,200 active class hours to speak fluent Chinese. This number means that if you only concentrate on learning Chinese and practice for 5 hours every day, it will take 88 weeks.
Let’s explain it in detail below.
Just a takeaway, when we mention Chinese, we pertain to the two central dialects: Mandarin and Cantonese. Today, we are going to talk about the study of Putonghua.
Of course, there are many problems to be solved first. How long it takes to master a foreign language depends on several factors. Learning a new language requires mastering new grammar and different sentence structures. Furthermore, beginners need to understand different cultural meanings and semantics. Not to mention pronunciation and accents. Now let’s look at the facts. According to the US State Department, there are five levels of language proficiency. Primary proficiency means the ability to meet the daily travel needs, as well as the ability to read most individuals and place names, street signs, shop names, and numbers. The primary proficiency is essentially survival fluency. That level of proficiency will meet the basic necessities and travel needs in China.
The ideal way to learn a language is to live and work in a country where the language is dominant, but this method is not accessible to everyone. Another option is taking up classes. General language classes need 3-5 hours a week, that’s 108-180 hours a year, plus extra-curricular time to consolidate what you learn in class. However, this method figure doesn’t look very optimistic either. Achieving language Fluency requires years of study. The key is to start as early as possible and choose a Mandarin learning method that matches your proficiency and learning style. It may take several years to speak fluent Chinese, but it’s worth it when you can enjoy speaking Mandarin.
Teachers of 52ChineseLearning used to teach beginner overseas students. Teachers’ usual feedback is that such students usually have similar goals. They want to pass HSK4 level within one year, which is about the third grade level of elementary school. They want to achieve this to enroll in a university. It takes them more than half a year to learn basic words and sentences.
HSK is taken at the end of March every year. At this time, their examination level is relatively high. But the spoken English level is average. It will take about a year for their Chinese level to overcome the basic dialogue barrier. Provided that the student can construct basic sentences and still stammers when speaking. After two years in China, there is basically no problem in communication.
If you have the opportunity to come to China to learn Chinese, how long will it take to learn Chinese? In the editor’s opinion, it takes at least 3 months. That is a curriculum system of short-term classes. Generally, there are five days of classes every week, Chinese class in the morning, talent class in the afternoon, and you can experience the city and the scenery on weekends. Generally, you can utilize the basics of speaking when you are receiving HSK4 Level 4 and 5 lectures. Of course, it also depends on the students’ learning ability and degree of study. Some international students have studied for a year, but still can’t communicate properly. Some students fail to pass the HSK-4 exam multiple times, and the curriculum system takes at least 3 months. In these cases, the students have to practice Chinese more.
Generally speaking, there are many factors that determine how long it takes for you to learn a language. These are the teachers, environment, and individuals. Personal factors also influence your learning progress. People are innately unique. We have different levels of talent. There are specific sets of skills that might expedite the Chinese learning progress. Students who are naturally proficient in linguistics and put in the hard work can communicate more smoothly in half a year. Our students, too, have learned very well by the second grade, with standard pronunciation and high fluency.
Therefore, how long does it take to learn Chinese? It must be the comprehensive result of these three aspects. Even if some people are not language proficient but have good teachers, an immersive environment, they will inevitably learn quickly. Also, even if Some are talented, they don’t have a good teacher or environment. If they don’t work hard, they won’t be quick.
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