Any interesting things could become boring. Some scholars say that you cannot concentrate on a thing more than fifteen minutes. Others say you shouldn’t do a certain task more than thirty minutes.
Suppose you had nothing to do and had to kill time, how could you listen to something narrated in the “target” language all day long? Isn’t “massive” input a sort of torture?
I don’t have an answer to your questions, which seem to be rhetorical. Just offering up a revision:
Anything interesting can become boring. Some experts say you can’t concentrate on one thing for more than fifteen minutes. Others say you shouldn’t perform a certain task for more than thirty minutes.
Suppose you had nothing to do and a lot of time to kill. How could you spend all day listening to narrated recordings in your target language? Wouldn’t such massive input be a sort of torture?
A bitter medecine rather than torture, I should say. I for example find Russian very interesting language, but listening to some lessons all day long could be just brutal. Certain audios are of bad quality and also the voice per se is less “sensual” but that is the way it is. Fortunately I can’t afford so much time.
I think there is scientific evidence that it is really hard to concentrate deeply for hours, and trying to do so definitely feels like a torture to me.
In my opinion it’s not so much that something interesting becomes boring, rather you just get (temporarily) tired of it, but that is something that can be easily solved by taking short breaks. And if something is really interesting to you, you will find yourself coming back to it frequently.
Maybe your question is really rhetorical, can I please try to answer it anyway? When I have had the chance to spend days with nothing else to do but to learn languages I have changed tasks constantly, concentrating on something in bursts of about 20-40 minutes, it depends. Like this:
Listen to a good audiobook, get tired, do 20 pushups, do some Anki reps, get tired, drink a glass of water, play Lingq for a while, get tired of it, watch random Youtube videos, go do some errands while listening to a podcast, back home watch a tv show that I am enjoying at the time, get tired of it after 1.5 episodes (if I get tired I don’t even try to finish the episode), do some pullups, where was I with that audiobook?, get tired again, read the news, more random videos, 10 minute break just looking out of the window while having a tasty snack (our eyes need a break too!), oh there is a new lesson in Lingq about xyz, after that create a bunch of Anki cards, rest again…
I have spent whole days like that in the past. I miss them so much you can’t imagine, those where fun, happy and productive days indeed…
Of course people routinely concentrate on tasks for more than thirty minutes! It depends on the task, the individual’s training, their motivatio.n, and how rewarding and/or difficult the activity is… Doctors perform surgery, professors give lectures, ballet dancers perform, and people of all ages read engaging books and watch compelling movies for more than thirty minutes. The list goes on. I myself am a professional researcher and often look through historical materials for hours on end, looking for specific data. It is most enjoyable when I find something useful every so often (intermittent rewards are the most reinforcing) but sometimes I have to look closely through an entire record (which could take days) even when I do not find what I was expecting or wanted because the absence of information is itself evidence and it is necessary for me to document. Throughout, I am motivated by the goal of my project and have honed my concentration skills over the decades, as is the case with most professionals in different fields.
Language learning can – and ideally should – involve a variety of activities, some easier than others, some more rewarding than others, but all valuable, albeit for different reasons. In general, I have found it most effective to spend less time on something “hard” – e.g., understanding a passage with a lot of unknown words or learning a tricky grammatical point – and lengthier time on watching/reading/listening to mostly comprehensible material that is interesting. Something that is easy but boring will not hold my attention but something that is funny, scary, unusual, or surprising will keep me interested for longer, even if is a bit harder.
For example, I recently read a few of Chekov’s “humorous stories” in Russian that are posted in the LingQ library. Although they contained more unknown words (30-40%) than I would normally tackle, I loved them and remember a surprising number of the new words because I thoroughly enjoyed the stories. I am looking forward to reading the rest of them but will spread them out and not read them back to back as that would be too difficult.
I find that engaging with diverse materials – on and away from LingQ – and doing so passively and actively makes language learning self-rewarding… For me, the proverbial “icing on the cake” is using the language to talk with people whom I would never have otherwise met. My conversations in Russian are tremendously motivating. With this goal guiding my learning, the process is never boring. Rather, they are steps to further enrich my life.