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Prototype's avatar

How long will it take me to become fluent in Spanish?

Asked by Prototype (55points) April 20th, 2011

I am a native Arabic speaker and I am fluent in English as well. I have absolutely no knowledge of Spanish. I was wondering how long it would take me to master the language. Are we talking years? Months? I am actually planning on taking private lessons at first, then continue with software packages like Rosetta Stone for example. Though I have never used that software before so I don’t really know how good it is, but most people recommend it.


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13 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Master the language? Master to me means basically speaking as well as a native speaker. I think you will be able to communicate well, get your point across in a few months if you consistently study, especially if you have one on one lessons. Master is a different thing.

troubleinharlem's avatar

Wow, Arabic. That’s pretty intense!

Anyway, it depends on how long you would devote yourself to it. If you want to go with computer software, try Rosetta Stone. Personally, I would recommend doing both lessons and the computer to practice.

Maybe, if you can, go abroad for a summer in a Spanish speaking country – that’s the best way to become fluent in my opinion.

JLeslie's avatar

@troubleinharlem Why is Arabic intense? It is his first langauge.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Since you already know two languages, this should be an easier process. The language center of your brain has been developed to handle language structure differences.

I am of the same opinion as @JLeslie. You may learn the language quickly, but mastering would take years.

My understanding on Rosetta Stone, is that it won’t teach structure, but will teach how to communicate in the chosen language. So, if you want to speak conversational Spanish Rosetta Stone will work well for you. If you want to write or use Spanish in a more business-like manner, stick with the private lessons and use a software to help you practice.

Prototype's avatar

My ultimate goal is to use it in business-like manner like SpatzieLover mentioned, though I understand this is a lengthy process. My intent was to get the best of both worlds, the software-package being cheaper and the private lessons being more of a bullet-proof thing. Since not so many people speak Spanish where I live, it is quite hard for me to practice speaking with other people other than in private lessons.

JLeslie's avatar

If you travel to a Spanish speaking place for a month, after you have spent a few months learning, you will be amazed how much your Spanish will improve. Similar to how you are currently bilingual (I am going to assume you have been speaking English since very young, even though Arabic is your first language) your Spanish will become less about translating and more about thinking in Spanish.

Spanish is actually easier than English in many ways, and uses the same alphabet, so you have that working for you. I don’t know much abotu Arabic. My father-in-law soeaks Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish, a little English, and I think the pronounciation is rather easy from Hebrew to Spanish, not sure about Arabic, and he has some trouble with certain sounds in English (Hebrew and Arabic were spoken in his home, but he was born and raised in a Spanish speaking country).

There are websites where you can practice speaking with people in the language you prefer, one was just mentioned on a recent question, I’ll look for it and post the link if I find it.

JLeslie's avatar

Here is the website. Looks pretty cool, but I have never tried it myself.

!Buena suerte!

sinscriven's avatar

Fluency might take a few years, just depends on how apt you are at picking up languages, and how much exposure you have to Spanish language, media, and culture. It’s not a complicated language to learn, but it is a romance language unlike English which is more Germanic so sentence structure will be different.

In terms of vocabulary though, it might be a lot easier for you to pick up than you might think. Spanish has a lot of Arabic influence due to the Muslims having control over the area for centuries so many words will be very similar sounding to you.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@JLeslie : Because it’s really hard to speak? I’ve heard that it’s almost impossible to learn if you don’t learn it before age 10 or so because of the guttural sounds that are necessary. I read that in Time Magazine once… I don’t remember where, though.

JLeslie's avatar

@troubleinharlem But when it is your mother tongue, it is just what you have always known and heard. I know a couple of people who learned Arabic later in life, I never asked them if it was very difficult? I know very little about the language. Most of the people I know who speak Arabic learned it as their first langauge.

Nullo's avatar

Full-immersion learning takes about two years to reach fluency.

troubleinharlem's avatar

@JLeslie : Well yes, I realize that… I meant that it was intense from a person’s eyes who doesn’t speak it and who has only read about it being very difficult.

mattbrowne's avatar

One year at least if you stay in a Spanish-speaking country. Otherwise it’s four years at least to become fluent and even this requires a lot of time.

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