How long does it take to learn and speak Italian | IL DAVID Institute (2023)

But how long does it take to learn Italian and, above all, how long does it take to become fluent in Italian?

These are questions that many Italian students ask us before enrolling in ouritalian courses.From experience and honesty, it is difficult to give you sincere and accurate answers.
We will try to list what are the elements that determine how long it takes to speak Italian.
It depends on the initial level of knowledge of the language and on various elements: nationality, knowledge of other languages, cultural level, age, willingness, abilities, motivation, patience, study time, pleasure in learning a new language, the frequency with which Italian if you talk to other people, the type of course and its duration.

initial level

Approximately one in five students starting a course at our school are complete beginners. It is clear that those who have already studied the Italian language, or those who already speak a little Italian, take less time to achieve the goals they want or intend to achieve.


Some languages ​​are very different from Italian, others very similar.
For obvious reasons, Asian students (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc.) have a harder time learning Italian. This is normal due to the considerable differences between their languages ​​and Western languages, including Italian. The main difficulties are at the beginning and when they have to reach an advanced level. Most of our students have a level between Elementary and Intermediate.

Other difficulties, although to a lesser extent, are also encountered by Anglo-Saxon students (Americans, English, Australians, etc.). This can be explained by four main reasons:
– the ease of English grammar compared to Italian and other languages.
– often Anglo-Saxon students do not learn their language with a grammatical method at school.
– English is the most widely spoken language in the world and, psychologically, English speakers are less motivated to learn a new language.
– Many people around the world speak English and are therefore used to speaking their language with friends instead of trying, failing and getting bored with Italian.

Scandinavian students encounter other difficulties due to the difference of their languages ​​in relation to Italian and the Romance languages.

The students who manage to get the fastest results are obviously Spanish and French due to the similarities of their languages ​​with Italian, although they learn very quickly, many times they continue to speak with their typical accent even when they reach an advanced level. Ironically we call it “itagnolo” or “itancese”.

In addition to Spanish and French, also German-speaking students, Eastern European students, and Russian students learn quickly. They have the grammar of their mother tongue more difficult than Italian and are therefore used to “working hard” to learn a new language.

Considering absolute beginners, therefore starting from scratch, usually, but not always, French and Spanish reach an advanced (higher) level after 4-5 months. Germans, Slavs and Russians after 5-6 months. Anglo-Saxons after about 6-7 months. Asians after about 7-12 months. Obviously, there are many exceptions.

Knowledge of other languages

The difference is reduced if the Asian students already speak English (or better, Spanish or French), or if the Anglo-Saxons already know Spanish or French.

cultural level

The difference is reduced depending on the cultural level, the type of education and the type of subjects taken during the school year. A student with a university degree who has studied foreign languages ​​will surely learn faster than a student with a low level of education who knows no other languages.


Younger students have fewer difficulties because they have a fresher mind and are more open to study compared to an older student, although this is not always the case. An older student with a high cultural level, accustomed to reading frequently and living new experiences, or with a strong motivation, can learn faster and better than a younger student.

will and ability

These are subjective and variable qualities for each person. The more will and ability you have, the greater the results will be.


A student who needs to learn Italian because he has to pass an Italian exam at the university or wants to work in Italy will get better and faster results than a student who takes a course especially to visit Florence or to have different experiences.
If you don't have a real motivation, find it. Think about the richness of the Italian language in history, art, cuisine, music, architecture, literature, opera, fashion, design, cinema, crafts, beauty and culture in general.


We always have to think about how much time each of us spent learning our mother tongue as children. Learning a new language is not easy, but it can be fast and fun. It is normal that we have to make an effort and be patient. At first there will surely be difficulties, but after a week or two the results will come and everything will be easier, more fun and more rewarding.

Time spent studying

Clearly, the more hours after school spent studying, the better the results.

Enjoy learning a new language

The pleasure of doing something is fundamental, not only to learn Italian, it is fundamental in all things.

How often do you speak Italian with other people?

Talking to other people is very important. Testing yourself is the best exercise to learn a new language. It is important not to be afraid of making mistakes. The mistake is usually a reason for shame and frustration, in fact, it should be an element of irony, fun and reflection. Making mistakes is normal. The more mistakes you make, the more you learn.

Course type and duration

The more hours of classes per day and the more weeks of the course attended, the better the results will be. A student who attends a part-time course of 2 hours a day will surely obtain lower results than a student who attends an intensive course or a combined course with group classes and individual classes. The same goes for the duration.

our statistics

We can say that the progress that all our students make at the end of each course week is evident, from the beginner level or higher. They are often surprised at how they manage to improve in such a short time.
For a beginner, a week may also be enough tounderstand and speak italianin the most important situations. It is clear that it takes more timelearn to understand and speak Italian fluently🇧🇷 The more time you dedicate to learning, the greater the results will be to be able tospeak italian fluently.

On average, onebeginnerstudent who attends our classical course, thestandard coursedone 4 hours a day (2 hours of grammar and 2 hours of conversation), pass one of the 5knowledge levels(beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, advanced) every 4 weeks. Usually, a complete beginner student reaches the highest level (advanced) after about 4 to 6 months. By advanced level, we mean excellent grammar construction, good pronunciation, and a rich vocabulary. This equates to not having conversation problems in any type of situation.

In many cases, students easily reach an elementary or intermediate level, but it is difficult for them to reach the advanced level, and this is completely normal, being perfect is difficult. But perfection is not essential. For many of our students, it is often enough to reach an intermediate level that still allows them to understand and speak Italian well.

We hope this has been useful and that you decide to take an Italian course at our school. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate toContact Us🇧🇷 We are waiting for you.

carlos lipparini
director – Il David Institute

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IL DAVID INSTITUTE – Italian school in Florence

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