How fast can I learn Portuguese?

Over at LanguaTalk, we're sometimes asked by students: how fast can I learn Portuguese?

They’re usually hoping for a simple answer, but learning a language is a highly complex process. There are several factors that will impact how fast you can learn Portuguese, including:

  1. Languages you already know  -  if you know similar languages, it will be easier.
  2. Intensity of study  -  if you study frequently, you'll likely learn faster. There is also a minimum number of hours that you’ll need to put in to make progress learning Portuguese. A common mistake people make is to only study for 1 hour each week. Once you reach an intermediate level, this intensity of study is unlikely to lead to significant progression.
  3. Your motivation  -  this is self-explanatory!
  4. Your level of experience learning other languages -  whether you’re learning Portuguese or a very different language like Japanese, you will have picked up certain skills that will make it easy for you to learn another language. The brain has also been shown to be highly plastic - language learners’ brains develop such that their ability to learn languages improves.
  5. Your ability to learn and memorise language.
  6. How you’re learning  -  depending on your learning preferences, certain learning methods will be more effective than others. For example, some people learn faster through unstructured conversations, whilst others need structured exercises and lots of repetition to make progress. When you browse through the profiles of Portuguese tutors, you should check that the way they teach fits how you learn best. Fortunately, the Portuguese tutors on LanguaTalk are able to adapt the way they teach to the individual student.

As we've shown in this post, there is no easy answer to the question: how fast can I learn Portuguese? Depending on all of the above factors, it could take anywhere between six months and five years to go from beginner to fluent! If you stay committed to practicing regularly, you’ll generally make fast progress. The good news is that according to the Foreign Service Institute, if you already speak English, Portuguese is one of the easiest languages to learn. This is mainly due to the similarities between the languages. Good luck!

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