How Long Does It Take to Be Fluent in Mandarin?



That's the goal, isn't it? Many students have dreams of fluency—walking crowded city streets while talking to locals, bargaining with sellers to get the best deals, laughing over jokes with local street food vendors. But what does it really mean to be fluent?



If you were to pick up a dictionary and look up 'fluency', you'd find something like this: The quality or condition of being fluent. Very helpful. Then after a bit of digging, you'd find out that 'fluent' has its roots in Latin, where it means to flow. Think of words tumbling out of your mouth with the same ease and fluidity as a creek or river. So, a person that 'speaks or writes a foreign language easily and accurately' is fluent. It's not linguistic perfection, but fluency does convey the idea of ease of communication.


Is that you? If not, we're sure it will be soon.


How long does it take to be fluent in Mandarin? As with many things in life, the answer depends on you. But some smart people have put together a few numbers for our enjoyment.



Take an American study that estimated the amount of hours it would take a native English speaker to become fluent in a language. According to the study, Chinese fluency takes 2200 hours of study. If one were to study 25 hours per week, they could be fluent in about 20 months.


Chinese has some good company. As a Category III language, it requires a similar amount of hours to learn as Arabic, Japanese and Korean.



Depressing? It doesn't have to be. You have more power over that number than you think! Putting yourself in a classroom environment that you enjoy can help you learn more, faster. Living in a country where the target language is spoken can really speed things up.


Are you studying online? Online classes are incredibly effective learning tools. They can get you where you want to be, even if you're not in a physical seat. Embrace the freedom and flexibility of online studies by studying 24/7 anywhere in the world.


There are other learning activities that you can sprinkle in. If you develop a passion and love for Mandarin, incorporating it into your daily life, listening to music, watching TV shows and movies—basically living your Best Mandarin Life, you'll be fluent before you know it!

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