An hour a day?

Hey guys, Had another “interesting” topic I’d like to get some views on! I often hear that an hour a day on the language you’re learning is a good bare minimum amount to study every day. But I was just wondering, what should that hour actually consist of? Obviously this is rather subjective to a certain degree, but I more mean in terms of Listening, Writing, Reading and Speaking. if you’re only doing an hour a day is itbest to try and fit it in a bit of all four or what? obviously it also takes time looking at new passages and lingqing words (if you use Lingq) or would you guys not count that as study time when lingqing words? Anyway, would be cool to have some thoughts! see ya!

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Listening and a bit of reading on LingQ… maybe 70-30

Depends on your lifestyle. I do quite a lot of listening on my mp3 player, because I do a lot of gardening, cooking and shopping, and that’s the only form of language learning I can combine with those tasks.

Usually it’s a case of: I’m in the kitchen/garden/bedroom, no-one’s shouting at me right now, if I’m lucky I will have 10 minutes or so before anyone starts shouting at me, I could turn on my mp3 player / get out a notebook and study.

Gotta go, someone’s just jumped on my lap and is waving lego at me.


As SBT’pot says, this kind of depends on a learner’s lifestyle. However, I do believe that there is a common sense rule at play here - the more exposure you get, the better it is!

If I think back to times in the past when I was actually living overseas, well, sometimes I was getting sheer wall-to-wall coverage in the target language!

(And it makes a difference - it really does!)

My daily schedule seven days a week is, roughly:

48+ minutes listening (via LingQ, MP3 player, or car)
15-20 minutes lingQing
30 minutes reading (via LingQ or not)

My French language work = approx. 1 hour per day - without using LingQ. (After using LingQ for nearly one year - having created 8000 LingQ’s, I am now a FREE member.)

See the following for a detailed description of my method. The (original) German version of the following text: see .

How do I read and learn French - my current method

In the last year I have read a lot within LingQ, for example, “L’Étranger” of Albert Camus. I have expanded my vocabulary a lot, and I can recommend LingQ.

Nevertheless, I did not like a few things:

  1. I have to sit in front of the computer in order to read and learn.
  2. I can only read digitally available texts. Many interesting books are only available printed, and the scan is too cumbersome.
  3. The LingQ membership is not free (I prefer spending my money for books, not for a database service).
  4. The flash card system within LingQ didn’t make me happy (that has changed some time ago).

I stopped my LingQ membership due to various reasons, and created my own method.

Some points were very important for me:

  • To read interesting PRINTED material, not available in LingQ or the Internet
  • NOT READING in front of the computer
  • Using a vocabulary BOOK (Why? Writing reinforces my learning)
  • Learning new words and phrases WITHIN complete SENTENCES

The individual steps

  1. I read a few pages in a printed French book every day for at least half an hour. I use either annotated books or read “in parallel” two books (the French and the German version).

  2. I write sentences with unknown words or expressions into a vocabulary book. Most translations can be found either in the annotation or the translated text version. Other unknown words I look up on my iPod touch. No computer needed. An initial learning effect is already obtained by writing the sentences into my vocabulary notebook. One day is normally one page. See or .

  3. The sentences are later transferred to a spreadsheet, here’s a sample: . The retyping is a second repetition. The spreadsheet automatically creates flash cards (see ) for the great learning app “Flashcards Deluxe” (iPhone/iPod touch, see Flashcards Deluxe ) transferred via DropBox. Here is the spreadsheet (older version with 915 items) at Google docs: .

  4. The new words are now being practiced in sentence context in “Flashcards Deluxe” (spaced repetition system “SRS”): and .

  5. In addition, the written notebook is always at my disposal for repetition where I want to avoid the computer or iPod/iPhone.

  6. The last 105 days I have saved 1545 words, or 15 new words or phrases per day. In addition to the daily new material, I repeat, within the iPhone app “Flashcards Deluxe” about 60 to 100 old words. The total time spent is approximately 1 hour per day.

  7. Within a year one will save 5000 new words or phrases, all in sentence context, all by reading interesting books, with a total time spent of approx. 400 hours.

  8. Listening: If I own the audio of the text (normally I don’t. Audiobooks are often not available or abridged.), I listen to the audio while working with the text, or during walks or household chores.

Many will argue - too much work, too much writing and typing, it’s too cumbersome, etc. …
One should however bear in mind that all these steps also help to better memorize the words and phrases.

My personal conclusion: it works. Try it - but you should adjust the method according to your personal preferences and needs …


Thanks for this - it’s always interesting to see details of people’s learning-methods.

Hape, Thanks for taking the time to write that out. It is very interesting. . . . Writing information by hand definitely helps one retain it–I agree 100%. I’ve stopped using the LingQs completely at this point.

Only two of your links worked for me. Is there any possibility the handwritten notebook image can be put up in some other way/place? ("One day is normally one page. See . . . ")

[ edited: changed “LingQ” to “LingQs” ]

Ernie, you can see my notebook here:

I just want to say AMAZING way to learn language HAPE.

I like to know about the members method.

The links have been corrected in my above post.

Now, if I could mark a post as “useful”, you would have gotten a vote, Hape!

The only computer-tied language activity I did today was an Esperanto lesson (Ana renkontas 8, from the Lernu site) - listening to the audio, reading the text, paying attention to grammar points, added 116 entries to Anki (words and phrases)… nearly 90 minutes.

Besides that, I’ve read in Swedish, English, German, Russian for about half an hour each, done a few lessons in a Mandarin textbook for ~30 minutes, and finally some L-R in Spanish.

Pretty OK.

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I think it is all a matter of what we like to do and our learning styles, and also our level in the language we are learning.

I developed LingQ because I got tired of looking words up in a dictionary only to forget them. I am mostly interested in reading more, learning more, and getting more exposure to the language, rather than writing out sentences or word lists.

I create LingQs using QuickLingQ and read mostly on my iPad. I also try to get a book or two on the go, away from the computer as soon as I am able, and I rarely look up the words I don’t know when reading a book. It is just too distracting. If I consider my listening time, the amount of learning that is done in front of the computer is relatively small. It is the forum that takes time -:slight_smile:

Now this works best when I want to increase my passive vocabulary. Now that I want to focus a little more on the spoken language, I find that using saved phrases and translating them and doing them reversed as flash cards, and even doing the dictation, is actually quite bearable.

To each his own, as I always say.

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And you know, when I think about the time I spend QuickLingQing, and reading at the computer ( I don’t just read on the iPad), and then review my discussion reports and saving lots of phrases ( I have over 88 pages of saved phrases, and of course interacting with tutors on the site, and now the extra vocabulary work, I guess I do spend a fair amount of time on the computer, or at least with LingQ. It just does not seem like so much time. Time flies when you are having fun. -:slight_smile:

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Hape, Thanks for putting up that image. Very interesting–nice handwriting, too. :slight_smile:

BTW, Steve et alii, it is not LIngQs per se that I do not find helpful. LingQ is great, even if I don’t use much more of it nowadays than the forum. It is electronic flashcards, and perhaps flashcards in general, that do little for me. Okay for review, but not for learning. I think it is just a quirk of my nature.

As for computer activities in general: I spend hours every day that I can on the computer, which is most days. For instance, I do almost all of my reading and listening to FL audiobooks on the computer. It is SO much easier to read a text and look up words on the computer. And, as I am quite nearsighted, I can enlarge the text to a size that’s comfortable to read (what a concept!). Books are marvelous, but a computer can’t be beat for dictionary work, among so much else.

First o all, I have no problems with distraction on my computer.
I realize that the people can memorize the language more easily when they develop some “write activity” but, for me it’s no so easy to do because I don’t have a lot of time to write or to speak but I have time to read, make lingQs and listen a lot.

When I try to do some write activity I don’t feel enough to me seems that I’m doing the more slow and boring activity of my life, I don’t feel any improvement. it’s kind of thing that I know that I need to do but I don’t know how can I do.

For example Moses method,Luca Lampariello,Hape,Alexander Arguelles,Robert Bigler, to me it’s much work, take time. Definitely I would need a powerful motivation to do the same.

Normaly I read 1 hour and listen 3 hour per day .
Steve method even works very well to me in any language but I feel that I need to do new activities to complement my language studies.