User:Laleena/Workshop

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Introduction[edit]

This world is just full of thousands of languages. Wikibooks also hosts many different language learning books, but on a smaller scale, of course.

Becoming fluent in a language is no walk in the park, even if you do already display an aptitude for languages. This Wikibook will act as a very useful guide showing how difficult learning any particular language you have set your eyes on is.

Many people wonder how long it will take them to become proficient in a certain language. This question, of course, is impossible to answer because a lot depends on a person's language learning ability, motivation, learning environment, intensity of instruction, and prior experience in learning foreign languages. Last, but not least, it depends on the level of proficiency the person wishes to attain.

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages based on the length of time it takes to achieve Speaking 3: General Professional Proficiency in Speaking (S3) and Reading 3: General Professional Proficiency in Reading (R3). The list is limited to languages taught at the Foreign Service Institute, minus languages which don't have their own Wikibook.

It must be kept in mind that students at FSI are almost 40 years old, are native speakers of English and have a good aptitude for formal language study, plus knowledge of several other foreign languages. They study in small classes of no more than 6. Their schedule calls for 25 hours of class per week with 3-4 hours per day of directed self-study.

Before you even look at the table, here's a little advice: If you find that the language you want to learn is particularly difficult, don't make that stop you from learning it. They may well be difficult, but that doesn't mean they're impossible to learn!

Language difficulties[edit]

READ THE INTRODUCTION FIRST BEFORE PROCEEDING!

Now for the part you've all been waiting for. "How difficult will learning language x be?". Well, now you can find out.

Category I: Languages closely related to English
23-24 weeks (575-600 class hours)
Afrikaans
Danish
Dutch
French
Italian
Norwegian
Portuguese
Romanian
Spanish
Swedish
Category II: Languages with significant linguistic and/or cultural differences from English
44 weeks (1100 class hours)
Albanian
Armenian
Azerbaijani
Bengali
Bulgarian
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Latvian
Lithuanian
Macedonian
Mongolian
Persian
Polish
Russian
Serbo-Croatian; ALL three dialects
Slovenian
Tagalog
Tajik
Tamil
Telugu
Thai
Turkish
Ukrainian
Urdu
Uzbek
Vietnamese
Zulu
Category III: Languages which are exceptionally difficult for native English speakers
88 weeks (about half that time preferably spent studying in-country)
Arabic
Cantonese
Japanese
Korean
Mandarin
Other languages:
German
(30 weeks [750 class hours])
Indonesian
(36 weeks [900 class hours])
Swahili
{36 weeks [900 class hours])