I've been looking for this sort of information and after browsing around I came up with this table. I have quoted a wide range of hours because, obviously, the amount of time it takes to learn the language depends on your time frame, your schedule, your passion/motivation, prior knowledge of other languages, etc etc..
I am pretty sure I know at least 500 words by now (Teach Yourself French starter kit quotes 250 words and I'm sure I've picked up at least 2-300 from Michel Thomas and Pimsleur, I have a big sheet of paper stuck to the outside of my glass shower screen with over 100 words on it, I've learnt over 100 new vocab with Assimil... so I'm pretty sure I've passed the 500 mark! I haven't been keeping tabs but estimate that I've been studying for around 40 hours.
Learning vocab is the easy part though. Grammar is the hard part!!
I hope to be at A2 level by the end of this year, at least.
I'm guessing it would take the average dedicated person about 6 months - 1 year to do each of the A, B and C levels, so approx. 1.5-3 years for full proficiency. Probably quicker if you were living in the country and slower if you weren't dedicated or didn't have much spare time to spend studying.
This table is created by me!
|Level||Proficiency||Hours of study||Approx no. of words||Age (native speaker)||French school||British School|
|A1||Breakthrough||60-150 hours||approx 500 words||6-7||CP||Years (grades) 1-2|
|A2||Waystage||100-300 hours||approx 1000-1200 words||7-9||CE1-CE2||Years 3-4|
|B1||Threshold||200-450 hours||approx 2000 words||9-11||CM1-CM2||Years 5-6|
|B2||Vantage||400-700 hours||approx 2500 words||11-14||College (6th, 5th, 4th)||Years 7-9|
|C1||Effective operational proficiency||600-1000 hours||approx 3000 words||14-16||College (3rd)-Lycée (2nd)||Years 10-11|
|C2||Mastery||800-1500 hours||approx 3500 words||16-17||Lycée (1st)||Year 12|