How Long Does It Take To Learn Chinese (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 20 Months

Learning Chinese might not be easy as it might sound because the language has got two different categories one is Mandarin and the other is Cantonese. However, if you are new to Chinese or at the beginner level, you will require more effort to learn any of the above two types of Chinese. If only you make enough effort leaving every other thing aside you will be able to learn Chinese within 20 months. Only when you dedicate more than 5 hours each day learning the language. It could even take more than two years to learn advanced Chinese.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Chinese


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How Long Does It Take To Learn Chinese?

ChineseCould take up to 20 months
MandarinA maximum of two years are required to be fluent.
CantoneseA minimum of 4 years is required to be fluent in the language.

Well, as mentioned if you denote maximum of five hours of practice daily then it would take about 20 months to learn the language. To learn Mandarin type of Chinese then and be fluent in it it can take you up to 4 years. In other words, you have to take four years and which is about 230 weeks.

On the other hand, Cantonese learning is much difficult than learning Mandarin and this too can take up to more than a few years for a beginner to be fluent in. Mastering the language will take time for beginners because there are two types of Chinese and both are extremely difficult to learn.

Above all learning, anything new will take some time because everything about it will be new and therefore we have to denote at least a couple of hours each day to get used to the new thing. Efforts and dedication should be made from each so that they can learn much faster. If someone is not dedicated to learning the new subject then he/she will have difficulty learning the new subject.

We are talking about Chinese here which is one of the most difficult languages to master for any beginner. To make to the point of reading and writing Chinese it can take up to several years at the minimum level. There are many online courses that will help you learn Chinese and one can benefit from it a lot.

Why Does It Take That Long To Learn Chinese?

First of all learning, anything will take time because everything is new to the person learning about that particular subject. It is one’s efforts and dedication required to learn a new thing. Similarly, learning Chinese can be difficult because like the English language there are alphabets that you should able to master before moving on to reading and writing in the language.

Being familiar with new words and understanding each and every alphabet is going to take time. This cannot be done within a month time. However, not everyone has the same thinking capacity because some can learn within a year or two and some can take more. That will depend on an individual’s own capacity for learning.

Say suppose someone who wants to learn Mandarin has little idea about the alphabets and other such things but he/she cannot read or write properly then he/she can take much less time than a beginner who does not know a single alphabet of the language. So, in other words, the time limit of learning Chinese can vary from one person to another because not all are the same.


It is always a great choice to learn something new and learning Chinese is one of them. The language is no doubt one of the most difficult languages in the world to master. However, if one has the dedication level and efforts then he/she can make it in no time. People need to be motivated to learn something new each day and this will make them learn faster and grow their interest to learn the new subject more and more.

However, to learn the language could take few years but to be fluent could even take a lifetime. So, I think the journey of learning Chinese is quite tough and is not easy at all as it might sound. Kudos to all those who have mastered the language.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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24 thoughts on “How Long Does It Take To Learn Chinese (And Why)?”

  1. Learning Chinese is indeed a fulfilling journey, each step forward brings a deeper understanding of the language and its nuances.

  2. Learning Chinese requires a lot of dedication and effort, but it is definitely possible in just 20 months.

    1. It’s not just dedication, but also the right resources and teaching methods that will determine how long it takes to learn Chinese.

  3. The time it takes to learn Chinese varies for each individual, but the effort and determination required are universal.

    1. Avatar of Florence Stevens
      Florence Stevens

      The learning process is not only about mastering a language, but also gaining insights into a rich culture and history.

  4. The experience of learning Chinese is not just about acquiring a language skill, but also understanding and appreciating a profound culture.

    1. The journey of learning Chinese is an immersion into a world of profound linguistic and cultural heritage.

  5. The difficulty in learning Chinese is what makes the accomplishment of fluency all the more meaningful.

    1. The intricate nature of the Chinese language certainly makes the learning journey quite an interesting one.

  6. Efforts and dedication are essential to learn any new language. Mastering Chinese certainly takes time, but the progress along the way is fulfilling.

    1. Avatar of Heather Roberts
      Heather Roberts

      That’s definitely true, the gradual improvement when learning Chinese can be quite rewarding.

  7. Learning Chinese is about embracing the challenge and the time it demands, and ultimately benefiting from the wisdom it brings.

  8. Avatar of Elliot Anderson
    Elliot Anderson

    Learning Chinese is an investment of time and dedication, and the journey itself is a unique and valuable experience.

    1. Indeed, it’s more than just learning a language, it’s an exploration of a rich and intricate culture.

  9. The fact that the journey of learning Chinese is tough is a motivating challenge. There are certainly many aspects that make it a unique and interesting language to learn.

    1. The challenge is what makes the journey worthwhile, learning Chinese is an adventure in itself.

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