I now comfortably speak (and understand) Croatian at a B1 level, and I feel pretty smug about that.
My language goals were to speak four languages to a B1 level or above, and to maintain that level while mainly spending my time doing other things in life.
The key word here is mainly.
For example, at the moment in my spare time I’m mainly attempting to make our garden a thing of beauty ready for next year. I’ll tell you about the garden at some other point.
Anyway, I’ve got there and now speak four languages at a B1 level, with Croatian being the last of the four languages.
Now in case you don’t want to read further, I’ll answer the question that I just asked, and that you presumably want answered, but with ‘to a B1 level’ grafted onto the end.
The answer to:
How long does it take to learn Croatian to a B1 level?
for me was:
This was the time that I needed to get to a B1 level.
My experience has been that it is not possible to learn languages particularly fast, and this is an *honest* and *realistic* approximation as to how long it will really take you (while mainly doing other things).
Keep in mind though that the length of time it takes to learn any new language will largely depend on:
- whether you speak any similar languages
- how efficiently you learn and
- its distance from your mother tongue.
Croatian is a slavic language, with all the attendant cases and complicated grammar. Slavic languages are more difficult than romance languages for english speakers. Despite having flirted with Polish years ago, I don’t speak any slavic languages so I was starting from zero with Croatian.
This gives me two crosses and one tick concerning the length of time needed to learn Croatian. I don’t know any similar languages and am an english speaker. However, on the plus side, I know how to learn efficiently, and have had an overarching strategy to follow for Croatian.
For the record, I don’t log the time I spend on languages so I am sticking a finger in the air to an extent to come up with these figures.
That said, my best guess with Croatian is that I have spent thirty minutes a day for five days a week of focused study. I have also had a one hour lesson alternate weeks for the previous two years.
Equally importantly, I have also listened to Croatian audio for hours and hours when doing other things – like automating a water butt;).
Put another way, I have spent about three and a half hours a week over the previous two years, to reach a B1 level.
I know how to learn efficiently, and in general I have been learning Croatian efficiently. That doesn’t mean that every single minute of every single hour of ‘focused’ study has been focused, but it does mean that on balance I have been effective.
I’m not describing the strategy or learning style that I use again here, not because it’s secret, but because it isn’t likely to be useful for you and because it changes or evolves over time.
My learning style and yours are likely to be different, and this is something that you will develop with time (if you are interested in languages).
Your strategy needs to account for your learning style, but you need a strategy (even if it changes as you progress) to learn efficiently.
Besos and baci,