Finding the time

I was asked how I find the time to learn languages. Let’s look at my recent efforts to learn Korean. I believe that you need to go at language learning in concentrated periods of relatively intense effort. These can be two or three months long. Each one of these periods will bring you a breakthrough to a new level.

During my first spurt of Korean learning I would make sure that I always had audio content in my car CD, or in my MP3 player. I would get in 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there. I would try to get in a minimum of 60 minutes every day. In the evenings I would spend 30 minutes reading and reviewing the new words. I think you need to work 90 minutes a day almost every day for a period of 3 months to achieve a breakthrough.

Unfortunately the Korean learning content was very boring. If I had had interesting and authentic real Korean content (as opposed to textbook content) I would have done better. I would have done a second and third spurt. I did not, because I kind of lost interest in the same old boring Korean content. This brings me to the upside-down hockey stick theory of language learning which I will cover in the next post.

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