How long does it take to become proficient in English? This is one of the most common concerns among language learners. It is understandable, learners have every right to know how much time they need to commit to their studies to become fluent English speakers. Moreover, many linguists have also tried to find the answer to this question. Researchers who studied English learners in language immersion programs have concluded that it takes from 3 to 5 years for learners to develop oral proficiency in English, while developing academic English proficiency – ability to use English in an academic context, can take from 4 to 7 years, and it can take up to 10 years before learners become fully proficient in English.
What English Language Proficiency Means
Being fully proficient in a foreign language means being as competent in that language as one’s English native-speaking colleagues. Another fact worth noting is that “conversational competence” in English is quite different from “academic” or “professional competence”.
Do Children Learn a Foreign Language Faster than Adults?Many people think that learning another language is an “easy” task for children. Well… it is a mistaken belief and an unsound argument. However, it is quite possible for young learners, those who have been exposed to English for an extended period of time, to be able to speak the language using simple statements, i.e. basic phrases and structures. Even though this is only good enough for their daily social interactions, it gives an impression that these children are “amazingly” fluent English speakers. However, by taking a closer look at their spoken language it becomes obvious that their speech lacks complex structures and vocabulary. To date there is no irrefutable evidence that developing linguistic competence in a foreign language takes younger learners less time and effort to become fluent in the target language.
Does a Learner’s Mother Tongue Delay Other Language Acqusition?
The short answer is “no”. Capable English learners in immersion programs are able to concurrently develop their language skills while also keeping pace with their native English speaking peers in academic subjects.
What is the Fastest and Easiest Way to Speak English?
The most rapid language acquisiton occurs in immersion programs with primary school age learners. Therefore, older learners are advised to adopt the right attitude and set realistic goals to make it happen for themselves. Making consistent effort daily is instrumental in language learning process, it’s the fastest way to achieve results… and build one’s self-esteem!