forum How long would it take to learn a completely Alien language?
Started by @IShotAnArrowInTheAir

people_alt 71 followers


To make a long and overly complicated story shorter I have a character who spent the first half of her life in the land what is modern day Iraq in around 3000 BC then, thanks to some Magic Hocus Pocus, is put in deep sleep for 5000 years and re-awoken in the modern world USA. The language she would have spoken is long long dead but could maybe be a very distant cousin of Classical Hebrew? Anyway my question is: how long would you speculate it would take for this character to learn English from scratch mostly via children’s programming and social interaction limited to only a half dozen or so people?
On one hand she is a grown woman with a mature brain so you think she could learn faster than say, a toddler could from children’s learn to read material. But on the other hand being older (about 30) and having to unlearn a Canaanite language and then relearn a complicated Germanic based language that's completely grammatically different could be even more challenging, especially when there would be no type of Rosetta Stone program to teach her in her native tongue (not to mention the plethora of words that have been invented in the last 5 millennia).
Anyway yes my question is: what do you think is a realistic time frame for her the be able to understand and speak basic English given these circumstances? (I can give more context if that helps)
Any educated guess is great help, Thanks!

@standingondesks Know-it-all

I wouldn't call this a particularly educated guess but I think the basics should be doable in a couple of months at most? Especially if the people she interacts with are actively trying to help (a.k.a. pointing at an apple and saying "apple.") That wouldn't seem unrealistic to me if I read it in a book anyway…

I kind of feel wrapping her mind around all the new technology, culture, lifestyle, architecture, general look of things would be the more difficult part. (Even said apple would be nothing like the apples she knew, 5,000 years of domestication later!)