According to data from the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI), native English speakers need approximately 2,200 hours to master Japanese.
If we use this data as a reference and apply it to the time required for a Japanese person to master English, it would be approximately 2,200 hours.
However, there is a difference between the number of hours required for a native English speaker to learn Japanese and the number of hours required for a Japanese person to learn English.
And since it is difficult to imagine just what 2200 hours are like, we will explain “the time required for a Japanese person to master English” based on the Japanese education system.
（ Reference：https://www.state.gov/foreign-language-training/ ）
Number of hours required to learn English - A Perspective from the Japanese education system
On average, Japanese students study English for approximately 1,000 hours from the time they enter junior high school until they graduate from high school. Recently, foreign language activities have begun in the two years between the third and fourth grades of an elementary school in order to familiarize students with English.
These foreign language activities mainly focus on “listening” and “speaking. In the classes, quizzes using the alphabet and games using illustrations are used to create an environment where children can learn English with fun and interest. Through play, students learn the rhythm of pronunciation and the fun of English words, familiarize themselves with them, and prepare to be motivated to learn English in the future. Each such foreign language activity lasts 45 minutes. Since it is held once a week for 35 times a year, this means that in the two years from the third grade to the end of the fourth grade, students have studied for about 52 hours.
And from the 5th grade of elementary school, English became a full-fledged academic subject. This means that English has been added to the list of subjects that are reflected in grades. In this English class, students focus on reading and writing, moving on from listening and speaking, which they learned in the third and fourth grades of elementary school. Students are exposed to letters and words, and learn simple vocabulary.
As students become more proficient, they will have opportunities to present what they have learned in class. Furthermore, from the fifth grade on, English classes are held twice a week. Since each lesson lasts 45 minutes, students will have 70 lessons per year. Therefore, in the two years from the fifth grade to the end of the sixth grade, students will have studied for approximately 105 hours.
Based on these results, by the time students graduate from elementary school, they have completed approximately 160 hours of English language study. The total time spent learning English from elementary school through high school graduation is approximately 1160 hours. Subtracting this combined time from the 2200 hours required for Japanese to master English, the remaining time is 1040 hours.
Even if one studies for one hour every day, it would take nearly three years to reach 2200 hours. Even if a student attended an English conversation school once a week for 12 years from the first grade of elementary school to graduation from high school, it would still take about 500 hours of self-study to reach 2200 hours. These figures show that self-study time is very important for learning English.
From elementary school to high school graduation in Japan, students learn reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills for approximately 1160 hours of English classes. However, time spent speaking, argueable the most important language skill, is taught to a much lower degree than at schools in other countries.
Even if a student achieves good results in entrance examinations and tests, it is often the case that the student still cannot speak very well when they go abroad to study. From this point of view, self-study is necessary to make up for one’s weak points or areas where one is lacking. From the perspective of the Japanese education system, the “time required for a Japanese person to master English” is considered to be more than 2,200 hours. Of course, the speed of comprehension differs from person to person, so there may be some who acquire English in as little as 2,200 hours, but on average, the majority of people spend more than 2,200 hours.
Self-study and continuity necessary for English acquisition
The important thing in learning English is to keep going and not give up. It may feel that the road to 2,200 hours is long to achieve proficiency in English, but by practicing little-by-little gradual improvement will be possible.
Here are some ways to find time to study English.
- Use the commuting time to school or work to review vocabulary or listen to podcasts, and audiobooks.
- Making a routine either ten minutes before bed or upon waking up to read a short article or listen to English news broadcasts on YouTube.
- Write each day a short brief review of your day or something interesting that happened during the week – in English! This will help with both grammar and vocabulary. Twitter, blog Facebook or blog platform is useful.
There are many other ways to find time to add English learning to a daily routine and learning in a relatively short period of time allows for better concentration and skill development. By making it a habit, it is easier to stay motivated and continue. And before long, the
It is very important to approach your goal step by step without rushing while making full use of the available time in your life.