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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 January 21, 2020

          12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

          12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

          Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they are feeling lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

          While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

          What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

          Here are 12 things to remember:

          1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

          The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

          However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

          We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

          Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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          2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

          You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

          Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

          Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

          3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

          Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

          Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

          4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

          Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

          No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react: How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

          5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

          Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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          Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

          6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

          Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

          Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

          Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

          7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

          Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

          Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

          And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

          8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

          When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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          Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

          9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

          Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

          Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

          Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

          10. Journal During This Time

          Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

          This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

          11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

          It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

          The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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          Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

          12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

          The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

          Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

          When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

          Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

          Final Thoughts

          Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

          Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

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          Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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