Shortest time to fluency stories

I’m interested in hearing the stories of people who have absolutely gone for it and got to a near-fluent or fluent standard in a really short time. Did you have any knowledge beforehand, how long did it take you to reach your level and what was your learning routine? I’m sure there must be some interesting stories from people who have got into a real ‘right, I’m going to do this mindset’ and gone for it.

It’s a very interesting topic.

But I think we should agree on a definition of “fluent” and “really short time” in order to make comparisons!


I learnt slowly over decades mainly passively from road signs etc. starting with a family holiday and later being surrounded with welsh influenced Valleys English. This was supplemented and kickstarted along the way by 28 night classes and a Saturday Morning practice session over 18 months.

Then 17 years later I enrolled with SSIW and it all fitted into place quickly, say over a second 18 month spell.

So I’d say my quick spirt to conversation level, but partly on the back of the decades of stuff in the back of my head, was that 2nd 18 months

Two years later I still wouldn’t claim fluency, but I could possibly just about get by without English if I had to.


I know a lot of people say they’re not totally or near fluent. I guess I tend to think of someone who can pretty much follow most things on TV and radio and hold a detailed conversation, mainly only getting tripped up by the occasional word or colloquial phrase.

Short time? Anything less than four years would seem quite impressive to me.


Well, I’m already quite happy with my ability to understand (TV more than radio), read and speak Welsh now.

First language speakers pretty much always understand me, and often praised my pronunciation.

Last week I accidentally spoke on the phone with a friend’s friend, who turned out to be a lecturer at the University (in Welsh language) Knowing that I’m learning he asked me to say something - which is always a bit of a shock! But I did try and he said he’d rate me as “advanced”. :hushed: Even sounded like he meant it! :slight_smile: ( he explained why he thought so.)

However, at the moment I can’t always find the words I’d like to use, sometimes get confused even with simple things and often get lost if I venture on topics I’m not familiar with.

I think I need a bit more time to feel confident enough to call myself fluent or near fluent.
And to be sure to understand more than the gist in *any * radio programme or conversation.

However, all I did from February 2020 to March 2021 was Duolingo, read a couple of books, and about 6 or 7 on line chats of about an hour - cause I had lost a lot of my motivation and ability to focus.

It’s just recently I’ve started again to read consistently, studying with songs again, watch a bit of S4C, and having on line chats. So I’m still scrubbing the rust away! :sweat_smile:

I feel my enthusiasm is coming back so hopefully by the end of next summer I’ll feel more satisfied with my level (and having started in summer 2018 with no previous knowledge except having listened to Datblygu’s songs, I should still be within your time limits, so I’ll keep you updated, if you want). :grin: