Jac Depczyk

while learning Spanish i was occasionally meeting people for language practice exchange and often had to tell them this:
hombre, one or two years is plenty to get fluent in a language, if you are not speaking it after 5 years you are either faking it or going wrong somewhere.
learning a language is not much fun - using a language certainly is - get there fast!

here is my method and i am a living proof that it works:
1. you have to put in the time - giving it 2 hours a week you are just trying to persuade yourself and your friends you are doing something useful, and, before you tell me how amazingly busy you are, note that language is mainly left brain activity - that means you still have the other half of your grey substance unoccupied - correct? while you are doing something right brain your left brain can be absorbing the language you are interested in.
i am fortunate in the fact that much of my work - making images - is right brain, but there are plenty of right brain activities we perform each day - cleaning, DIYing, exercising etc
2. limit your language initially and make sure it is correctly spoken - trying to learn English from gangster movies or period drama set in Victorian England might lead to unpleasant surprises later on.
a perfect source is News, news come in small pieces, get repeated throughout the day, they are correctly spoken and delivered clearly, find a news channel you like and follow it.
3. search for emotional charge in your input - you memorise faster when emotions are involved.

adding those elements together:
put on headphones and spend an hour or preferably more each day listening to the news via Internet or TV. concentrate on the pieces of news where you feel some emotion, with time you will understand more and more.
once you understand most of it apply yourself to the grammar - at this stage, i am afraid you have to read and memorise the rules.
subsequently, find people you feel strongly about (preferably in a positive way) and talk to them a lot.
at that point you are inside the language. now the fun and real work starts ;-)