To be frank, I think you all have fallen into the usual trap of discussing childhood first language acquisition, and, to what degree we define fluency, and you should avoid that temptation.
There is a difference between someone has moved to another country and is now forced to communicate in the local dominate language, and can no longer use their native language…however, even that isn’t necessary to discuss, the question implied that you are still in your native country, using your native tongue every day, and how long does it take to acquire a second language to the level of fluency.
The answer is well over 5 years, I believe more often, more than 8 years. If you said less, you were not being honest in any way, shape or form…or you are pure genius. So either I think you are a recalcitrant liar, or a genius…take the insult or complement. But it does not take 1 year.
And I think it is quite a shame that the answer cannot be just plainly stated. Because there are lot of people who are looking to learn a language, and we should be able to give a plain answer.
5 years minimum. No shame in 8 years or more. The fact is, learning by studying 1 hour a day, is going to take a long time because you have 20,000 thousand words to learn, and very little practice to speak.
By the way, I live in an English speaking country, and I work with immigrants all the time. The story about the immigrant who came and thrived, only knowing 3 words of English…is common. What I have never heard is the story about the person who learned English first, and then moved.
While it would not be a dramatic story of survival…its telling that I’ve met thousands who have learned English after moving, and never one who learned English before moving…everyone wanted to know English before they moved…and some of them tried for years, even at a University…they all have the same story (I had to learn after I arrived).
I’m sorry I’m almost very angry at the person who said 1 year. From talking with literally thousands, I just don’t find that story to hold true, and it is so destructive to those trying to learn.