The short answer to this question is quite obvious; the more the better. But unless you want to dedicate your entire life to learning a new language, you must have a manageable language-learning schedule. Sure, you can go all out and spend all your nights and weekends studying, but will you be able to keep it up? On the other hand, if you don’t dedicate enough time, it will be difficult to build upon what you learn. The key is to find a nice balance and integrate language learning in your life in a way that’s effective, enjoyable and sustainable. In this post, we’ll take a look at a few things to keep in mind when making your language-learning schedule.
Real Active Study Time.
Especially in the beginning, you’ll need to spend a lot of time actively learning the language; you can follow a language-learning book, take lessons with a private teacher, take language workshops or follow lessons in a program like Ouino. This time is dedicated to learning important new words, sentence structure, pronunciation, conjugation etc. For most people who lead busy lives, thirty minutes to an hour a day is a good starting point to get excellent results. Active study time is particularly important in the early stages of language learning.
Language Exposure Time.
One of the great things about learning a language is that there are tons of things you already do that can be adapted to help you learn. Language exposure is anything that reinforces the language, but it’s not necessarily focused on learning. You could watch movies, read simple short stories, listen to audiobooks etc. This is quite simple to implement in your daily routine and you can easily add a few hours of extra practice every week. Why not change the default language on your phone, video games and social media? All these things can make a huge difference. Try to find something you can change in your life to get a bit of extra practice every day. A few minutes here and there can really add up during the day and it all counts towards the amount of time you dedicate to learning. People often forget to add language exposure time to their schedule, but it’s a primordial part of language learning.
Your Level in the Language.
Your current level will greatly affect the amount of time you can spend learning the language. In the beginning, it will be more difficult to spend a long time learning without feeling drained mentally. Shorter (but focused) sessions tend to be more effective than long hours. For most people, 30 minutes a day is a lot more effective than cramming 3 hours once a week. Once you gain a solid foundation in your language though, it will become much easier to learn through content and exposure to the language. As you progress, you will tend to shift your time from active study to more language exposure. Eventually, watching a TV series in your new language can be as enjoyable as watching it in your native language, even if you don’t understand all the subtleties. Language learning becomes less demanding and more enjoyable. The downside is that it’s still time-consuming and the actual progress you make is less noticeable.
Be Consistent in the Long Run.
Remember to include language learning in a way that can be sustained in the long run. We believe that consistency is likely the most important part of language learning. There is no point of rushing for a few weeks, only to give up before it truly becomes enjoyable. For most people, around 30 minutes of active study and 1 hour of language exposure a day is a schedule that will give you great results. It’s a model that’s sustainable over a long period to help you reach fluency. But of course, it all depends on your goals and expectations. Simply give it a try and tweak your schedule to meet your needs.
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