Learning a Language: Making Time?
Learning a language takes time. With that said, making time is easier than it may seem with the technology we have available today. Check out the video to find out more:
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
Welcome to our lesson on making time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. However, we all use those 24 hours differently based on our lives, our needs, et cetera. We’ve all got different levels of commitments with our time.
So when we talked about different categories of languages, we talked about how long it took to reach that B2, intermediate, high, advanced, low level of language. So 750 to 1000 hours, generally speaking, for a category one language. A language that’s close to English, French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, et cetera, things that are close to English. We talked about reaching that level. It would take roughly that amount of time.
So if you started from 0.0 and you wanted to be fluent in one of those languages in that first category a year from now, think about dividing it by 52 and that gives you just about 14 hours a week of study that you’d have to do.
But what’s amazing nowadays is that you can turn things that you’re already doing easily into language learning time. My smartphone is my mobile language learning lab. I love it. The evolution of smartphones and mobile devices has completely transformed language learning in my opinion.
So 14 hours in a week. What are things that you do 14 hours in a week? Do you commute? Do you get breaks at lunch an hour? Do you walk? Do you need to run errands and clean your house? All of those things can be transformed into language learning time.
I have a half an hour commute each way and I’m always learning languages in my car. There’s great programs for beginners out there like Pimsleur and Michelle Thomas and Earworms and Collins, Living Language, super solid, good stuff that will help you learn a new language. Great for beginners.
When I get more advanced in a language, I love to listen to novels and to self-help books in particular. And I listen to them over and over again and I not only learned something or I’m entertained, I also get lots of vocabulary and grammar completely in context.
These are all things that I’m already doing. I’m just changing that into learning time. If you commute on a train, maybe you would spend some time working with Anki flashcards. Something obviously you can’t do when you drive or Duolingo or FlashAcademy, by FlashSticks. Great, immersive, addictive stuff.
I’d rather do something like that if I’m waiting in line at the bank or the post office. I’d rather turn that into learning time than not do anything. So think about it. If you were to transform about 14 hours of your time every week, then you could be fluent a year from now in one of those category one languages.
Now, dividing up that time a little bit differently, let’s say that you are in a position to be able to do that over three months, that would be 250 hours a month if you weren’t doing anything else, and especially if you were in the target language country.
Think about it, 250 hours would go pretty quickly if you’re shopping in the target language. If you’re following recipes in the target language. If all the people you’re interacting with are speaking your target language. If you’re traveling around in your target language country.
Doing all of your interactions. You’re listening to radio and TV, you’re reading newspapers and magazines. So do you see how that time could really … You’re going to make huge leaps, but it’s that same amount of time being compressed into a shorter amount of time.
So one of the things that I love so much about language learning today, it’s completely transformed. They’re so much more focused on communication and less on being right. There’s lots of practical guides out there all over the place, all over the Internet that are going to help you learn how to communicate in a new language.
And there’s lots of opportunities to understand language, which is that’s research based. That’s the part where you learn. The speaking, hugely important. The speaking is the test. Speaking and writing, producing language is always the test, but the learning comes from what you hear and what you read.
And there’s so many opportunities to do that, that are completely free. There’s podcasts, there’s YouTube videos, there’s target language radio, there’s target language websites, there’s target language newspapers online. Amazing opportunities to learn.
And going back to grammar, grammar is important. Grammar is accurate versus not being accurate. Grammar is a great toolbox. Grammar and structures. They’re going to show you how to put things together to be able to most effectively communicate. And you always want to do that better and better.
There’s tutorials all over the place and you could listen to something as many times as you want, as many times as you need to until you really understand it and can incorporate that into your language.
There’s tons of sites that are going to help you with learning grammar and vocabulary. Quizlet for example. Loads of language teachers are on Quizlet and they do these great comma-separated value sheets that people … You can take and you can make your own Anki cards if you want. You can make your own and you can share them on the site. They’ve got flashcards. Great ways to really do some sort of traditional old school, very effective studying.
There’s lots of different options to reach different kinds of learners. I love Duolingo and FlashAcademy. They’re gamey, they’re fun, they’re immersive, they’re addictive. And then vocabulary, you can get it anywhere, right on your mobile phone, on your desktop. You don’t have to carry around a big old cumbersome dictionary, which I’ve had to do in my lifetime. So as long as you’ve got access to the web, you can learn any language.
One of the things that I wanted to share with you here is a time tracker. So this is just a little estimation of each month. If you want to move forward in a language for the next year, let’s say, sort of roughly keep track of what you’re doing. Maybe you’ve got 10 hours a week.
So let’s say that you were able to study 10 hours a week in January, just fill it in and it will total it out at the end for you. And you can kind of see maybe where you could find more time to reach your goals a little bit faster. I find the time tracker really helpful.
So in our last lesson, we’re going to talk about putting it all together. Until next time, we’ll see you later. Goodbye.
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