Start Learning Korean in the next 30 Seconds with
a Free Lifetime Account

Or sign up using Facebook

How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

Everything you need to know about the Korean Language and How to Learn Korean. Discuss, ask questions and get answers on the Korean Language and How to Learn Korean.
samwY
New in Town
Posts: 6
Joined: October 4th, 2009 8:59 am

How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

Postby samwY » October 8th, 2009 2:16 am

Let's say you study 3-4 hours a day, how long will it take to become fluent in Korean?

By fluent I mean be able to talk to a date over dinner, or watch a drama or understand most of a Korean song?

If I were to enroll into a Korean class in Korea, how many years would that take?

smorriskc
Been Around a Bit
Posts: 15
Joined: November 22nd, 2008 1:28 pm

>.<

Postby smorriskc » October 8th, 2009 9:04 pm

Though I've been teaching, I've recently been taking classes to get my ESL Endorsement and they tell me it takes 7 years to truly become fluent in another language!!

*sigh* I will be almost 30 before I am fluent in Korean.

Yikes.

Get your free gifts of the month
franjae
New in Town
Posts: 4
Joined: February 11th, 2009 7:38 am

Postby franjae » October 8th, 2009 9:59 pm

I've been learning since March and although I now know many words, I have trouble putting it all in a sentence. I think I need more practice but I don't have anyone to practice with. I'm visiting Korea end of this year so I'll be sure to add a lot of "yo's" to not offend anyone with my Korean :lol:

hani
New in Town
Posts: 1
Joined: August 4th, 2008 7:27 am

Postby hani » October 9th, 2009 9:02 am

Amber from f(x) learned Korean in one year and Victoria learned Korean in 2. I guess it depends on how u learn... :)

Eden
Been Around a Bit
Posts: 40
Joined: October 12th, 2008 3:55 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Postby Eden » October 10th, 2009 1:57 am

it really does depend on the person. I heard of someone who studied so tenaciously that she learned a new language in 6 months. It is possible that she was just born genius though.

I have a feeling if i had more outlets to practice my korean i'd probably be at least proficient by now. I've been learning for just under a year, but i don't have many places to practice so i still have trouble forming sentences.

Mafia_Puppet
New in Town
Posts: 1
Joined: July 28th, 2009 2:13 am

Postby Mafia_Puppet » October 12th, 2009 1:21 am

It depends on a lot of things, too. How similar the language is to your native tongue, how many languages you've already learned, your affinity for language learning. I achieved Japanese fluency in two years, and passed their hardest proficiency test (JLPT1) in only one year. If you ask me, the best thing you can do when learning a language as different from your native tongue as Korean is to study and practice a lot. Memorizing the vocabulary just flat takes time, but grammar, word choice, and syntax can be learned as fast as you study and practice, and those are what are fundamental to fluency. It's why it's so much easier for an American to learn and start speaking Spanish than Japanese - both require new vocabulary, but Japanese (which is like Korean with different words) requires utterly different grammar, word choice, and syntax.

It might also help to define what you consider fluency. If you manage to master the fundamental elements of the language, fluency becomes just a question of topics. If I know 200 words about the zoo, I can fluently converse about the zoo because vocabulary at that point is just plug-and-play. Oppositely, even in English I'm not fluent in a topic about chemistry reagents and enzymes, even though I understand English grammar and syntax.

Also, to a certain degree, time is a tool. I think the seven-year rule comes from two ESL studies that showed that it took 6.5 years for college-level non-natives to achieve native-level vocabulary (~20,000 words). I also think that you can only study so much vocabulary a day before your efficacy starts to decrease, at least in my experience. However, there are also hardcore 8-week immersion courses that are designed to improve your competency stupid-fast. And they do it by utterly surrounding students in the language - they study a bunch of different things (so your mind doesn't lock up) and present material in a lot of different contexts (the average student has to see a word or grammar construct 7 times before he's able to use it effectively, the average AP student 2-3).

And if you ask the US government, it's not a question of years. It's a question of weeks. They train their soldiers to functioning fluency (which would if anything only leave out vocabulary) in Korean in 60 weeks, 4-5 class hours and 2-3 class-prep hours a day.

So based on this and my experience, I'd say it ultimately depends on you, but also that time is exponentially valuable. If you are college-level and study for 2-3 hours a day, it may take 7 years. Yet if you study 8-12 hours a day, you can reach amazing levels in a couple months. Or, if you're just army-level with an affinity for language, you can achieve fluency in about a year. But you have to know yourself because not everyone has the mental endurance to devote that much time to studying something. You bet your ***CENSORED*** a soldier is going to have a lot of discipline, and use that willpower to study (effectively) 8 hours a day for an entire year. If it's just 8 weeks, and the person does it during a home-stay program, he may have the stress-relief available to study 12 hours a day. But realize that at some point, everyone burns out and becomes less effective at learning. Once you know where your point is, you know how to effectively utilize your time, and you know from where to start working on your mental endurance.

samwY
New in Town
Posts: 6
Joined: October 4th, 2009 8:59 am

Postby samwY » October 12th, 2009 5:52 am

Great post, thanks for typing that out.

I guess being able to watch a Korean drama or movie without subtitles is what I consider fluent. And then being able to TALK about the movie with a stranger.

kpopstars
New in Town
Posts: 1
Joined: October 8th, 2009 12:52 am

Postby kpopstars » October 13th, 2009 9:58 pm

Well Amber and Victoria of f(x) learned in that 2 year range because SM being the tough sweat working company..they train their trainees really hard non stop at times anyway. They tell you that in global audtions you gonna go through Korean training before you debut. And If someone wants to learn Korean, they would have to do that same routine, which I don't know how SM does it. :)

oscabat
New in Town
Posts: 4
Joined: June 25th, 2009 9:48 pm

Postby oscabat » October 15th, 2009 9:04 pm

Mafia_Puppet wrote:However, there are also hardcore 8-week immersion courses that are designed to improve your competency stupid-fast. And they do it by utterly surrounding students in the language - they study a bunch of different things (so your mind doesn't lock up) and present material in a lot of different contexts (the average student has to see a word or grammar construct 7 times before he's able to use it effectively, the average AP student 2-3).

Hmm...are there any Korean courses like that (outside of the military), that you can tell me about?

holdfast
Expert on Something
Posts: 337
Joined: December 15th, 2007 12:45 pm
Location: NYC

Postby holdfast » October 22nd, 2009 1:27 am

i think it seriously depends on the person and the situation.

some people are just naturally faster at learning languages than others for whatever reason. i know people who have diligently studied languages for years and can barely handle the basics. then you hear about people who can learn any number of languages with no problems (like our hyunwoo ^^).

i also think that if you are in a situation where you HAVE to learn a language, then you will be able to learn it quickly. a person living in korea will probably be able to learn korean faster than someone living in, let's say, kansas, as long as you actually move outside of the english speaking foreigner circle and actually talk to people who either can't or won't speak english with you.

as for me, i have been studying for about 2.5 years and i've never been to korea. i studied A LOT right away - my friends all thought i was obsessed, though i prefer to think of it as being passionate, heh... but it was 6 months before i even met anyone who i could speak korean with. it was probably 1 year before i was able to have a basic conversation with people and understand a bit of what i heard while watching tv.

but then, around the 1.5 year mark, it was like someone just flipped a switch, and i could understand just about anything i heard at native speed, and i could hold a fairly natural conversation about almost anything - my vocabulary still wasn't gigantic, but i could explain what i was trying to say in different words if i didn't know the word for what i wanted to say.

i left nyc about 4 months ago and live in the middle of nowhere - i've literally only spoken korean face to face with someone 4 times since coming here. i was terrified that i would forget everything, but i've been watching so much korean tv (and translating it for fun) that i've been told i've actually improved since leaving. i don't officially study anymore (and haven't for at least a year), i just read or watch tv and look up the words i don't know. i'd say the last year has been all about gaining vocabulary - i had the grammar basics down before that.

so all of that to say, i don't really know how to answer your question - haha! there really is no way to judge "fluency" or how long it will take you to get there, since everyone is different. but keep studying, and keep going, and you will get there. especially if you can find a situation where you NEED to use korean, even if it's just finding someone online to chat with that can't or won't speak english with you - that has been the biggest help for me. ^^
안녕하세요~ 에밀리입니다~~ ^^
korean blog: http://holdfasthope.wordpress.com
youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/sendmetokorea
skype: holdfastemily

hartmanncc2561
New in Town
Posts: 1
Joined: June 22nd, 2013 6:56 am

Re: How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

Postby hartmanncc2561 » June 24th, 2013 10:50 pm

Well...I'm in high-school, and have been learning Spanish at the Advanced Level for four years. The way I learned was emphasis on vocabulary and miniscule grammar in the first year, and then, gradually, over the course of three more years, the emphasis shifted to grammar and less on vocabulary. The way I was taught, the third year explored a TON of grammar (especially the subjunctive/indicative), and then the fourth year was just review of all those grammar concepts.

For some reason, personally, I'm better with grammar than vocabulary, and I think learning grammar is somewhat more important than vocabulary (once you've got vocabulary down, basically). After four years, I'm able to hold a somewhat-basic conversation with a local (although I sometimes have trouble with vocabulary), yet all the grammar concepts that I've learned have come in handy in conversations. I need to practice more, of course, because I still speak slowly.

I can't remember exactly when I started being able to speak fluently...it just sort-of happened gradually. Be PATIENT, and it will come.

Bottom line, in my opinion, learning a language takes about three years, if done right. Of course, PRACTICE, because, as I've learned, all the knowledge doesn't count for anything if you haven't practiced.

Oh, and about the seven-year thing: I disagree. Of course, I'm probably poor in fluency, but I think after four years you are good enough, and if you can't understand everything that's said, you'll understand most of it from what you've learned and the context.

Does this help?

social2147
New in Town
Posts: 1
Joined: November 15th, 2013 6:55 pm

Re: How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

Postby social2147 » November 15th, 2013 6:59 pm

Took Korean at this school called Lingo in Singapore... they are doing a promo now I think

Image

not too bad... if u are in Singapore do try it out... msg me if you are going... we can go together.

This is their website...

http://www.lingo.edu.sg/korean-language

ywanib_232371
New in Town
Posts: 1
Joined: May 8th, 2017 5:54 am

Re: How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

Postby ywanib_232371 » May 8th, 2017 5:55 am

samwY wrote:Let's say you study 3-4 hours a day, how long will it take to become fluent in Korean?

By fluent I mean be able to talk to a date over dinner, or watch a drama or understand most of a Korean song?

If I were to enroll into a Korean class in Korea, how many years would that take?

community.korean
Expert on Something
Posts: 262
Joined: November 18th, 2012 3:38 pm

Re: How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

Postby community.korean » May 9th, 2017 9:54 pm

Hello,

Thanks for posting. It is difficult to give you a specific timeline as each person is different, but if you have the willpower to master Korean and study continuously, you'll be able to achieve your goal. There are various programs in Korea offered not only by universities but various private institutions, and like we stated above, it will depend on your dedication to studies/willingness to learn.
Sorry we could not be of more help.

Best,
Lyn
Team KoreanClass101.com

Dave76
Been Around a Bit
Posts: 28
Joined: May 16th, 2017 10:44 am

Re: How long does it take to become fluent in Korean?

Postby Dave76 » May 19th, 2017 9:48 am

I'm just starting my first Second language but my thinking is especially since Korean only has 40 characters take the time to learn these first that way as you start speaking you will also be able to read. That way you get more practice reading while you learn to speak. I did this and for the most part I can read Korean pretty good but that is in recognizing characters and such but have to learn pronunciation next!!

Just my two cents on this!

Edited to correct the word STUPID out was my STUPID spell checker HA HA
Last edited by Dave76 on May 21st, 2017 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Return to “Learn All About Korean (한국어에 관한 모든 것)”

cron