Is It Possible to Learn Spanish in One Month?
Nowadays, it seems that everything is automatic. Or, at least, really fast. We eat fast food and can’t even sit to drink our coffee calmly. Modern times are hectic, and if you don’t want to be left behind, you may feel the pressure to adapt to this fast-paced lifestyle.
These days, it’s normal to find ever-shortening time frames for projects that used to take longer. However, we’re reaching a point where things are starting to get a bit extreme, if not ridiculous. Which brings us to the topic of this post. Is it possible to learn Spanish in one month? Is it realistic? What would be a realistic time frame? And, how much Spanish can you actually learn in a month?
Can You Learn Spanish in One Month?
Perhaps you’ve seen the ads on the internet promising that you can learn Spanish in one month. Or maybe you’ve come across other articles discussing this same topic. But, is this approach even realistic? Is it actually possible to learn Spanish in one month?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and to their own definition of what “learning Spanish” actually means. But, if I’ve learned something in my life—which has only been reinforced since the advent of the internet—it is to beware of big promises. Most times, what seems like a shortcut is actually a scam.
Beware of Big Promises
Here, I’m not only talking about learning Spanish in one month, but also about everything in life. The things that are worthy of your attention are generally a challenge. Think of any achievement you’re proud of. Was it easy to accomplish? Or, perhaps because it took so much of your time and effort, that’s why you value it so much?
Now, back to the big promise of learning Spanish in one month. If what they’re promising you doesn’t require much time and effort, where is the value in that promise? What type of Spanish might they be offering that doesn’t require any effort on your part? Well, I guess a one-month effort still counts as an effort, but you know what I mean.
Is It Realistic?
Is the promise of learning Spanish in one month realistic? Let’s imagine for a moment that the method (whatever it is) works. Because ways to speed up your language learning process do actually exist, but what they ask of you might be unrealistic demands for your unique personal situation.
Take that medium post, for instance. The author outlines a 7-step process to achieve your goal of learning Spanish in one month. In case you’re curious, the steps are committing to your goals, not being afraid of making mistakes, focusing on common words and minimizing grammar worries, training your memory, not being afraid to ask for help, perfecting pronunciation, and practicing with native speakers.
All of these steps make perfect sense (except perhaps the one about not caring too much about grammar), and I would recommend them to my own students. But not a single one offers the magic formula for achieving the goal of learning Spanish in one month. These are general, common sense recommendations that help Spanish students in their process of learning the language.
Practice with natives, he says. I would recommend the same to my students. One to five hours per week. That’s a realistic approach. How much would you need to practice with natives to learn Spanish in one month? You’d basically need to move in with them.
Besides, think about all the different conjugation sets that Spanish irregular verbs present. If you aren’t focusing on grammar, does that mean that you will skip those? If so, what kind of Spanish can you expect to speak after just one month? One where you structure your sentences without properly conjugating your verbs?
How Much Spanish Can You Learn in One Month?
There’s a reason the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) created their widely used six levels of language expertise. Why would the experts create six levels of learning if you can learn Spanish in one month? It’s like if after one week you’ll achieve level A1 and A2; one more week and you get B1 and B2, and the third week you get your C1 and C2 levels. And you have one week to spare. Excuse me if I don’t buy it.
Or perhaps they’re simply selling you the A1 level and calling it “learning Spanish in one month.” Again, it all depends on your goal: being fluent in Spanish, or simply being able to somehow communicate in the language.
Let’s give it a serious try and plan one month of your life. Are you ready to drop everything and just focus on learning Spanish? No? That’s what I thought. You still have to go to school or work, right? So, that leaves pretty much half a day or less. Pretending that you won’t have to spend time with your friends and family, and that there’s no other activity in your schedule, how much time do you think you can set aside for your Spanish effort? One or two hours per day? Let’s say 10 hours from Monday to Friday, with 5 more hours added on the weekend.
Fifteen hours per week is an intensive study schedule, but one that a highly motivated student could realistically commit to. That gives you around 60 hours of Spanish in one month.
What can you learn in 60 hours? A lot. Sixty hours is equivalent to one year of formal Spanish education, and it’s the number of lessons that Homeschool Spanish Academy recommends to earn a high school credit.
The problem with a schedule as intensive as that one is that it might not be realistic. Even if it were possible, rushing through the content is not the best idea. You need time to be able to get used to the new structures, words, and conjugations learned. Besides, there’s still the pending question as to what level of Spanish you can achieve in that time frame.
What Is a Realistic Time Frame for Actually Becoming Fluent?
Now, let’s go back to real life and accept that pulling off a schedule like the one we just created is impossible. And not even recommendable. Why would you do that? If you don’t have a great job offer in a Spanish-speaking country starting next month, there’s no reason to rush yourself. The language-learning process is something that you should enjoy. And, let me be clear here, studying Spanish for 60 hours in one month is not something that you would enjoy.
According to the US Foreign Service Institute (FSI), if you spend an average of one hour per day studying Spanish, you could achieve fluency after 480 hours of work. That’s just over a year. That’s not bad at all, and it’s a realistic time frame. Although, we should accept that there will be days when you can’t work on your Spanish and that will extend the projection.
Most importantly, it’s not a big promise (or a gimmick), but rather a responsible approach. Not a shortcut—a goal worthy of the time and effort you’ll put into it.
Ready to Learn Spanish?
Even if learning Spanish in one month seems appealing, it might not be the best way to learn the language. If you don’t have to do it due to special circumstances, my recommendation is to embark on this learning journey with a realistic plan and a consistent approach.
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