Can you learn English in 6 months?

Published on 04/07/2022

Nowadays, knowing English is basically a must for most jobs. We have to learn English and we have to learn it now, but is it possible to acquire a good level in just a few months?

Some companies, such as 8belts, offer English courses that promise to teach English in just a few months. More than enough people have questioned these claims and the publicity of such courses. It is precisely this controversy that has encouraged us to write this article.

1. Translators and English teachers criticise the popularity of the fast learning model

Answering the blog’s title’s question: Yes, it is possible to learn English in 6 months. However, there is a big “but” in this statement. It’s clear that the level of English acquired during this time cannot be very high.

If you start learning a language from zero, we have some bad news for you: it is very difficult to achieve a good level of English in such a short time.

Knowing a language is more than just vocabulary and basic grammar. Some fast learning gurus suggest to jump into the pool of total immersion in a language without studying its most basic principles, which we can’t recommend either.

2. Learning a language requires time, effort and a lot of practice

A good learning strategy can certainly speed things up a lot. Efficient learning should be the goal of everyone interested in achieving the level of English needed for work. The appropriate English level depends on the job you want to have. Being an accountant is not the same as being a hotel receptionist or a translator.

3. What English level is required to become a translator?

A professional English translator should have at least C1 level.

In 6 months it is possible to acquire an A1 level, or perhaps an A2 level if you have some previous knowledge of English, but it’s basically impossible to go from knowing nothing nothing to a C1 level. That’s why you should think twice before signing up for fast-learning language courses. While they do not explicitly lie when they say that you will learn English in a few months, their trap is precisely to hide the fact that the level you acquire will make little difference when it comes to finding a job or communicating in English.

4. Tips for learning English efficiently

Magic solutions, as you know, do not exist. Nothing in life is for free, and when it comes to acquiring knowledge, there is no choice but to devote time and study hard. For languages, this means studying, which also involves practice.

A good English learner should:

4.1 Study grammar and vocabulary

Studying the grammatical rules can be a chore at first, but once mastered , it will give us the ability to form sentences.

In terms of vocabulary, many ignore the importance of dedicating time to learning new words. We all think we know a lot of vocabulary because we read or listen to a lot of English. However, one of every student's nightmares is to notice in the middle of a sentence that he or she does not know the word for something in everyday life. Do you know what colander or nail file refers to in English?

Group up the words by theme, such as “kitchen" or “sports”. This will help you express yourself better when writing or speaking in English.

4.2 Reading and listening to English

We assume you've heard this a thousand times, but did you really get it?

English learners often opt for easier texts or watching videos in English with subtitles. Both are not bad strategies when you are just starting out, but once you have achieved a certain fluency, it is important to dare to go a step further.

Try to read without stopping to look up words you don't understand. You should try to understand the words from the context or underline them if you want to look them up later, but it is important that you do not stop your reading flow. That’s the only way to become a confident English reader. You will be surprised how quickly you can improve your skills this way.

Likewise, try to avoid always using subtitles when someone is speaking in English, even if it’s subtitles in English. The idea is to get your ear used to the sounds of this language without any help.

4.3 Practice conversation whenever you can

The fear of speaking a language that we do not master is the main barrier that we put ourselves in the way of learning a new language.

Seek to speak English whenever you can; either with native speakers or other students, with or without a guide. The main thing is to practice speaking as often as possible.

Always remember that perseverance and courage in taking on new challenges will be your best allies in mastering this or any other language.

Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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