As long as it takes…. Not a good enough answer I suppose. You want a more concrete time period on how long does it take to learn Italian?
OK. Got ya. I’ll bite. But first, I have a question for you.
How much time are you willing to put into learning Italian?
5 minutes a day? 30 minutes a day? An average of a few hours a week? All your waking hours not at school and/or work?
I’ll go ahead and break all of them down.
5 Minutes A Day
Expect 20+ years. You’re not really studying enough to make much progress first of all. But when you compound that with the fact that part f that 5 minutes each day will be spent reviewing, then just fuggedaboutit.
Realistically if all you can put aside for learning Italian (or anything really), you are either:
- The busiest person on earth
- The sleepingest person on earth
- The goingest to the bathroom person on earth
- You are not really serious about learning and barely putting forth an effort gives you an out when you inevitably don’t make progress.
Which do you think is most likely the case. Usually.
So in closing, if all you have is 5 minutes a day then either increase your time or stop kidding yourself.
30 Minutes A Day
Now I can give the first level of good estimates about how long does it take to learn Italian.
At 30 minutes a day you’ve stepped into a workable and serious level of commitment.
Could you do more? Of course! But sometimes starting at a large enough point allows you to build momentum to snowball later on.
And what’s more 30 minutes a day is 2.5-3.5 hours a week depending on weekends. That is no small amount of time.
Now how long? I’d say coming from an English speaking background and assuming you don’t ever do more than 30 minutes a day. About 6 months – 1 year to be fairly proficient in simple things. Maybe 2 years till higher intermediate and conversationally fluent. And probably 4-6 years until native-like fluent.
That may seem slow, but in actually that’s pretty fast. Considering it takes a child 9+ years before they sound any type of intelligent, its not too bad.
If this is the amount of time you have to invest. Celebrate! Huzzah! For you have a chance to become great.
A Few Hours a Week (5+)
Now you’re a bit more serious. So you can expect a bit faster speed of acquisition.
It’ll take about 3-9 months to be fairly proficient in simple things. Around 1.5 years till higher intermediate and conversationally fluent possibly even 1.25 years if you have the right methods and/or teacher. And probably 3-4 years until native-like fluent.
All Your Waking Hours
You are a beast. More power to you. I tried something similar but burned out.
If you have it in you to do it then I’d say go for it. Usually for this level of commitment you’ll either be in Italy or doing faux immersion in your home country.
Now how long? Proficient in simple things: 3-6 months (out of country), 1-3 months (in country). Conversationally fluent: 1-1.5 years (out of country), 9 months – 1.5 years (in country). Native-like fluent: 2.5-4 years (out of country), 2-3.5 years (in country).
The large ranges I use are because when you’re using all your waking hours, variables such as learner skill and method effectiveness come into play since more of the time will be spent self-studying.
So How Long Does It Take To Learn Italian?
It takes as long as it takes based on what you put in. Basically what I told you from the beginning.