Today is the one year anniversary of my starting Italian. I have some numbers for the record.

  • Start date : Mar 19, 2020 (early part of Covid in the UK)
  • Finished Learning : Nov 30, 2020
  • Days Learning: 258 (to reach my goal)
  • Amount Learned: 12,704 fluency units (word / grammar rule / phrase)
  • Learned Per Day: 49 fluency units per day

These numbers need some explaining. I imagine you’d like the brief version and we’ll leave the detail for another day. A strong degree student may or may not learn 50 fluency units per day during their course (they are certainly under that impression) but they expand their knowledge by only 5 fluency units per day net (after allowing for forgetting during the course, according to the academic research on the topic). So my 49 fluency units per day should be compared with 5 as a more normal number using traditional (not accelerated) learning methods. Here are some more specific numbers if you’re interested.

  • Nouns: 5,304
  • Adjectives & Adverbs: 2,655
  • Verbs: 2,470
  • Phrases including grammar: 1,482
  • Other: 793

How long did it take? We are able to track time on the Total Fluency System very accurately. Here are my numbers:

  • Learning Hours: 21
  • Review Hours: 157
  • Testing Time: 10
  • Other Time (est): 30 (this is time used outside of the Total Fluency Application)
  • Total Hours: 218

How does that compare? Well here are the accepted standard times taken to progress through a language

  • A0 – A2 ‘O’ Level 600 hours
  • A2 – B2 ‘A’ Level 600 hours
  • B2 – C2 (degree) 2,000 hours assuming 2 hours of study per calendar day of a degree course

That gives a total of 3,200 hours. Which means that I saved very close to 3,000 hours of study by using the Total Fluency method. I’m happy with that.

University students study full-time, I cannot. I averaged about 35 minutes of study per day which has allowed me to keep earning money while learning Italian. By contrast a university student these days will leave with debts of between £10 – £30,000 and having lost 3 years earnings. So the total cost of not moving to accelerated learning has been between say £40-£70,000.

At present I seldom meet an Italian with whom I can speak, so I occasionally hire someone online to talk with. As far as I can tell, I speak, listen, write and read at at least degree level. My vocabulary is so large because I went a bit crazy towards the end trying to reach 99% coverage for reading. I didn’t make it to 99%. I did make it to 98.5% and that is going to have to do. I can read well enough to enjoy reading Harry Potter in Italian, movie subtitles are far easier than that. I’m looking forward to getting to Italy once Covid is over, that should be tremendous fun.

Conclusion: There you are, another language learned with reasonable efficiency. I have gone from zero to degree level in one year and saved 3,000 hours of study compared to conventional learning. I conclude that the book that got me started on all this a long time ago was well worth the £5.99 it cost assuming we place any value on my time. Even at minimum wage I would have saved over £22,000 and at £65 per hour, £195,000. A good return on an investment of £5.99.