Approximately how much time does it take to learn a new language?
If I wanted to start learning a new language, how much time will it take before I have a good understanding of it?
6 Months to 2 years depending upon your environment, your commitment and your requirement.
I don´t think it is easy to answer that question because it really depends on your circumstances. When I learned Arabic it was via the immersion method. I lived with a family who spoke no other language so the only way to communicate, even to say something as simple as "pass the salt", it was via immersion. When I was learning Irish the family i stayed with all spoke English as a second language and it took a lot longer. If you are going to learn French or Spanish while still living in the US you really need to have someone you can converse with; if not you end up with that "high school" type of fluency and are more likely to make mistakes/be misunderstood.
A short answer? I think you can be fluent in 3 months (with immersion) or you might take a year (with tapes and a friend) or you might never be fluent (with typical schoolroom type lessons).
Once you've learnt one language, it's easier to learn another because you have more of a grasp on how languages function. For instance before I started learning a second language, I had no idea about the different tenses.
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