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How to Learn a Language in Just 30 Minutes a Day

How to Learn a Language in Just 30 Minutes a Day

Who says learning a language needs to be a full-time job? With the right strategy, scheduling, and tools, you’ll only need 30 minutes a day.

Unfortunately, most of us have fallen into the trap of relying on learning methods that are ineffective and require a significant amount of time upfront to see any results. This leads to a lack of momentum, motivation, and purpose, where the most logical action is to quit.

In fact, before we share with you how to learn a language by spending only 30 minutes a day, let’s share the most common mistakes language learners make.

The wrong methods of learning

The first and most common mistake is the choice of method one uses. This is the most deadly mistake, because it’s the first decision we must make when we’ve committed to learning a language, and most people don’t know the options available when they first get started.

What’s more dangerous is that once they’ve committed to a method, it’s harder to explore other options, and they often blame their lack of innate learning power, age, or convince themselves that learning a language isn’t for them.

What are some of these ineffective methods?

First off, any solution that doesn’t give you the real-life interaction of speaking the language with another human should be crossed off. We’re not saying these solutions are completely ineffective, but they should not be relied on as your main method of learning. Instead, they should be complementary to your main method. This includes free mobile apps like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, language schools, and audio tapes.

The best way to learn a language is the same way you’ll be using the language—from another human. This could be in the form of undergoing a language immersion program, going through a conversation exchange, or working with a private, professional teacher.

Being overly optimistic about results

The second common mistake is something many of us have faced—being too optimistic. This leads to unrealistic expectations that cannot be fulfilled, like learning a language in 30 days, or making a million dollars in the stock market

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It’s important to have clear goals we can visualize, but we must also be realistic and understand that the best things take time. Think about how you first learned English or your native language. Did it happen in one month?

The more realistic answer is that you will face what we call the training curve.

The-Training-Effect-Diagram

    This curve pattern can be represented for just about anything you want to learn and achive, no matter how talented you already are. We’ll all have our high moment and low moments. It’s important to make sure we understand this pattern versus having expectations that we’ll always be growing.

    A lack of persistency

    Most of us can achieve any goal we set for ourselves, as long as we stick with it long enough. So, why do we quit too early?

    We already talked about having overly high expectations. But the other main reason is explained by Simon Sinek, the bestselling author of Start With Why, as not having an inner purpose. Most of us are fascinated by the “what” and the “how-to” solutions of learning something, but never take the time to reflect why we’re trying to learn it in the first place.

    image

      For language learning, you could start by asking questions like:

      • What opportunities will you open yourself up to?
      • Who will you be able to connect with?
      • Who will you become as an individual?

      This doesn’t have to be limited to language learning, and taking even 5 minutes to carefully think about these questions and answer them will change the outcome of your inner motivation, drive, and purpose to push you forward when things inevitably become difficult.

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      Now, let’s talk about effective strategies for learning.

      Here’s the most effective 3 areas you can focus on to learn a language in less than 30 minutes a day.

      *Note: 30 minutes a day spent learning is equivalent to 210 minutes (3.5 hours) per week. 

      1. Learning and reviewing the most common words (10 minutes a day)

      If you’re starting out, there’s no better bang for your time than learning the most common words. Studies by linguists have shown that:

      Studying the 2000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 84% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 86.1% of vocabulary in fictional literature, and 92.7% of vocabulary in oral speech.

      What’s worth pointing out is that:

      Studying the 3000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 88.2% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 89.6% of vocabulary in fiction, and 94.0% of vocabulary in oral speech.

      This means that, while the first 2,000 most common words helped familiarize you with 92.7% of the language, learning an additional 1,000 words helped you gain only 1.3% more of the language. Talk about a time waster!

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      breakdown-of-word-frequency

        Knowing that 2,000 should be our initial target of words to learn, spending only 10 minutes a day to learn and review 20 words will help us reach 2,000 words in just 100 days (about 3 months).

        Total time required: 10 minutes a day 

        2. Working with a private teacher online (three 30-minute sessions per week)

        Just understanding vocabulary isn’t going to help us speak fluently with a native speaker. The only way to achieve this level of fluency is to work with a private teacher who can work with you live and give you the immediate feedback you need to correct your mistakes.

        Luckily, we no longer have to commute or sign up for language schools that require a 6-hour daily commitment. By taking advantage of the technology and communication solutions we have available, we can work with a professional teacher in the comfort of our home, wherever we go, while spending only 30 minutes per session.

        Websites like Rype offer unlimited one-on-one sessions with a professional language teacher online, allowing you to learn on-the-go, anywhere, and anytime you want, even on the weekends and at night.

        rype

          By leveraging the on-the-go and on-demand solutions we have at our disposal, a lack of time should be out of the equation—especially when we can learn in our PJ’s!

          Total time required: (30 minutes per session) x (3 sessions per week) = 90 mins divided by 7 days = about 13 minutes a day

          3. Follow-up review and practice (15 minutes of review per session)

          If you want to see accelerated results, there’s no question that time invested learning outside of your private sessions will benefit you.

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          This could be homework assigned by your language teacher, Spanish classes to watch, articles to read, or anything to keep you immersed in between your sessions. For some of us, this might mean having 4 private sessions per week without the need to review, or working with an accountability partner to help each other practice the language.

          Either way, keep it short and sweet to make sure you’re digesting the materials you learned during the lesson.

          Total time required: (15 minutes per session) x (3 sessions per week) = 45 minutes divided by 7 days = about 7 minutes a day

          **Final total: 10 minutes a day (studying the most common words) + 13 minutes a day (private sessions) + 7 minutes a day (follow-up review)

          = 30 minutes a day to learn a language.

          That’s all there is to it! With the right solutions, strategy, and tools, you can take the shortcut approach without wasting years of time and hundreds of dollars on ineffective methods.

          In just 30 minutes a day, you can learn a language.

          More by this author

          Sean Kim

          Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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          Last Updated on March 30, 2020

          What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

          What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

          Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

          You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

          This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

          What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

          According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

          Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

          There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

          How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

          When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

          Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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          1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

          One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

          The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

          Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

          2. Be Honest

          A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

          If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

          On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

          Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

          3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

          Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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          If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

          4. Succeed at Something

          When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

          Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

          5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

          Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

          Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

          If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

          If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

          Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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          6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

          Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

          You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

          On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

          You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

          7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

          Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

          Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

          Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

          When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

          Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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          In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

          Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

          It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

          Final Thoughts

          When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

          The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

          Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

          Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

          Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

          More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

          Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
          [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
          [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
          [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
          [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
          [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
          [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
          [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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