How long does it take to become fluent in Japanese?

Fluency is the dream of every student who studies any language, after all, fluency would mean that you have reached the almost maximum potential of that language. In other words, it is a major milestone in the study and desire of most students.

In this article, we'll take a general look at what this process is like and why worrying about fluency too soon isn't as relevant as it seems.

But what is fluency? Many create their own definitions of fluency, but there is a consensus that fluency is understanding the language at an almost native level, it is understanding the language to the point of being able to express almost any of your thoughts in a way that is natural among the natives of that language, it is not being all the time causing awkwardness when talking to natives, managing to say something corresponding to most situations.


A clue to fluency is that those who are fluent do not think of a language to express something in another, their mind hides one of the languages and works almost 100% to reproduce from the language they are speaking. It would be like a switch that when pressing a light stays on and this light corresponds to the language that is talking. When someone is not fluent, it is as if this light is psyching and on, that is, unstable.
In other words, fluency is as if you only know that language itself, even though you know another one(s).

But how long does it take to reach this level?

If fluency is directly linked to understanding then that time should be based on how much time you spend trying to = understand things in the language. the linguist Stephen Krashen call it comprehensible input which means Comprehensive input, that is, input, reception of things that you understand. The theory explains that the greater the number of things you throw in and understand, the closer you are to fluency, which as we know is directly linked to understanding a language.

We take as an example a 5-year-old child, although her speech is limited, she is fluent, as she understands a good part of what is being told to her. So let's make a simple assumption, a 5 year old has spent at least 7 to 10 hours listening to the language per day since let's say 3 years old. We were soon able to infer that the result for her to be fluent is the time proportional to what she listened to during part of this period.


But if we try to do this with adults? What would be the result?

We have a practical example of this, there is a youtuber known as matt, his channel is called BritVsJapan he made something called update, which are videos where at each period you tell how your Japanese level is, your reflections, routines, it's like a vlog of your routine, but without necessarily showing it but describing it.

This practice is quite common, if you put the phrase on YouTube: Ajatt/Mia Update you will find several videos of different people doing this. He did these 'updates' for 2 years, and in his experience he spent an average of 10 hours a day listening and studying Japanese.

He reached fluency in 2 years with 95% understanding of most things in the language. In simple estimates, advanced fluency in Japanese takes around 10,000 hours.
And that's why you see so few people fluent in the language, since the language actually takes more time. But of course, not everyone has the courage or availability to study and immersion for 10 hours daily.

However, this is an estimate, in other words, there were people who reached those 10 thousand hours over the years in another way. By combining, for example, the right method and investing a minimal and considerable amount of time in immersion. We were able to understand then that fluency is more about the time you spend daily studying and consuming the language than exactly the sum of the years you study or are involved with that language.

Since someone can study 30 minutes a day non-stop and reach fluency even faster than someone who spends 3 hours only on two days of the week and can't do it on the other days because the routine of those 2 days was too heavy.


But everyone is looking for numbers. The reality is that only you will know this result, do you want to be fluent in 2 years? Dedicate yourself more than most, try to stay longer than usual, do the right method and chances are you will, chances are you won't be too, it's not just time, it's also quality.

Want to stay at 4? Study daily consistently do the right method you will reach maybe 4 or 5, or maybe 3. It's relative, saying a number is complex after all there are several factors and each individual has different types of stimuli, mood and ways of studying, not everyone has time to spend almost all day listening to the language or studying the language for hours and hours in a regular way.

So instead of thinking about fluency I invite you to think about:
What do I do to keep studying and enjoying the language every day?
Ask yourself: how can I be CONSISTENT?


If you know how to answer and follow the letter you will be fluent, maybe not 2 years or 4 years from now, but it will be. The most important thing is to enjoy the benefits and achievements of now. It's every day doing a little, building your castle brick by brick, if you are satisfied to understand a little bit every day soon you won't even notice if you are fluent or not, you will enjoy it and suddenly you will be fluent, and now that will be just a miserable detail of all the time he spent and enjoyed learning the language.

An additional detail is that not everything is about fluency, if you want to be able to read in the language, enjoy watching things without subtitles and understand what you are being told, you will certainly need months or at most a year, with 1 year you can understand movies, anime, dramas and among other things in the Japanese language. But you will mainly have to do the right method, if you want to have more clues on how to do this, get to know the japanese club, click for more details.

To conclude, fluency is not the end either, fluency itself has levels, there are those who are fluent but have an impeccable pronunciation and there are those who have to impress and confuse the natives so, of course it is just a detail but it only shows that if it is worrying about the end of the route, that is, reaching the last stage will always stick with your head in the future and you will never be able to enjoy what you have now.

If you liked this article, share it with your friends who are learning languages, if you have experience or want to tell us something about it, leave a comment below, until next time! Good studies.

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