In his book, Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell highlights a study published in the “Harvard Business Review.” The concept has become known as the “10,000 hours to become an expert rule.” Gladwell explains the research behind the idea that true expertise is achieved after investing 10,000 hours in learning or practicing a skill. This may be a sport, a musical instrument or the study of something.
If we consider ﬂuency to be the same as being an “expert”, then a learner should invest 10,000 hours in their language efforts over time.
There are many ways to define “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, particularly a language as rich as Arabic. We find this takes most people around 1600 hours of Arabic sessions. Depending on how many hours you are committing, this can be reached in as few as 16 months. Most Arabic learners set aside two years for full time Arabic immersion.
For more information on this topic, check out this article.