How long does it take to learn Finnish?
over 2 years
impossible to learn
Even 2 years is not enough time. I know people who have been at school learning for 8 and they can barely hold a conversation. I suppose they are kind of dumb though, I've been learning for 9½ and I still have trouble reading books. I'd say it takes at least 20 to get a really 'native' grip on it. Anyone who says less, unless they have 'special' circumstances they'd be lying. It's like the third hardest language in the world anyway and a lot of people use google translate and simply claim they speak Finnish...
I was doing a course which was 4 hours every day, 5 days a week and I can now can get by in Finnish. I have recently started 6 months work experience in a day care centre which I am expected to speak Finnish everyday and I get by absolutely fine. So I also agree, it depends on the intensity of the course as well as how much determination you have to learn it.
I think it depends on your age. I came to Finland when I was 64 years old. I have had no trouble learning Finnish. But I find it almost impossible to retain what I've learned. I'm so-o-o thankful that so many Finns, including vaimoni, have learned English!