In his book, Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell highlights a study originally published in the “Harvard Business Review.” The general premise has become known as the “10,000 hours to become an expert rule.” In the book Gladwell explains the research behind the notion that true expertise is achieved after an individual has invested 10,000 hours in learning or practicing a skill. This may be a sport, a musical instrument or the study of something.

There are many ways to define “fluency.” If, for the sake of argument, we consider fluency to be the same as being an “expert” in speaking a language, then a learner may well invest 10,000 hours in their language studies to attain fluency.

An easier question to answer is, “How long until I understand most of what is happening around me?”  In this case, it’s necessary to become familiar with at least 10,000 vocabulary words in any given language.  We find this takes most people around 1600 hours of sessions in Arabic.  Depending on how many hours you are committing, this can be obtained in as few as 16 months to as long as three years time.

For more information on this topic, check out this article.