How long does it take to reach a language level?

One question, several answers! Why? It depends on a number of factors how fast you personally learn a language. Below we ask you some questions to help you estimate how long it takes to reach your personal learning goal in one of the Scandinavian languages.

LEARNING GOAL – What level of language do you want to achieve?

According to the CommonEuropean Framework of Reference (CEFR), the learning of a foreign language can be divided into 3 or 6 levels:

  • Level A (consisting of A1 and A2): Elementary language use
  • Level B (consisting of B1 and B2): Competent use of language
  • Level C (consisting of C1 and C2): Independent use of language

As a beginner, you start with level A1 and can then work your way up to almost native language use at level C2. To work abroad, depending on the job, a language level of at least B2 is recommended, for a vacation A2 or B1 is sufficient.

The estimated time required to reach a certain level depends, among other things, on the level you are already at. As a guide, OBS! has developed the following orientation for you:

These figures are based on the experience of OBS! and the figures provided by OBS! partner schools in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Each lesson is 45 minutes long and takes place online or face-to-face as a group lesson.

If you choose individual/private lessons and invest a lot of time in learning yourself, you will probably learn faster than indicated.

Courses at level C are usually designed on demand, so no fixed number of lessons can be given. If you have any questions about this, please feel free to contact us.

LANGUAGE TALENT – How easy is language learning for you?

Do you still have nightmares about your 8th grade French class, or were foreign languages always your favorite subjects in the past? The easier it was for you to learn other languages, the faster it will be to learn a Scandinavian language. On the other hand, today you will certainly learn with more motivation and a different level of experience.

The big plus of Scandinavian languages is also: they are easier for German speakers to learn than other languages (such as French), simply because they are closely related. Also, Norwegian, Swedish and Danish have significantly fewer verb tenses and the sentence structure is exactly the same as in German, with a few exceptions.

LANGUAGE SKILLS – Have you already learned one or more foreign language(s), such as English or Russian?

English is especially helpful when learning Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic or Faroese, because English – like German – is related to the Scandinavian languages (you can read more about this here). This means that you will understand many Scandinavian words more easily because they are similar to English words.

For example, compare the words for help: norw. hjelp, dan. hjælp, swed. hjälp, isl. /fär. hjálp and english. help. Finnish is a bit more difficult, but even here there are parallels to be found, because Finnish has many loanwords from Swedish (e.g. joulu, Swedish/Norwegian/Danish jul – Christmas).

INSTRUCTIONAL FORM – Would you prefer to learn in a group or one-on-one?

Lessons alone with a language teacher are generally more intensive than group courses, because the teacher can concentrate entirely on you and respond precisely to your questions and wishes. But group lessons also have advantages: you get to know other language enthusiasts and can exchange ideas in and about the lessons.

As far as the length of the lessons is concerned, it is better to have several short lessons than a few long ones! The more often you repeat what you have learned, the better it will “fasten”. Of course, also the teacher makes a difference. The teachers at our partner schools in Scandinavia all speak the language as their native language.

SELF-LEARNING TIME – How much time do you have to repeat what you have learned?

When learning a language, it is helpful to have contact with the new language outside of class. Therefore: listen to the radio (even just on the side), read foreign-language texts (not only books, but also on the Internet) or watch movies in the original with subtitles! And, of course, do your homework JThe more you incorporate the language into your everyday life, the faster you will master it. For more tips, check out this page.

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT – Where do you learn?

Here, too, it depends on what you personally prefer: Do you like to sit down at the PC, or are you more comfortable studying in a relaxed atmosphere on the couch? It helps to create a quiet working atmosphere where possible distractions like the cell phone or the pot of pasta on the stove are far away. You can also choose whether you prefer to learn online from home or in a local language school, depending on what suits you best.

Hopefully, you can now have a better idea of how quickly you will reach a certain level and what you can do to support the learning process. In general: learn the way you like best, because: if you enjoy learning, you will automatically be more motivated and thus learn faster!

How long does it take to reach a language level?