How much time do you spend on studying language?


Just curious to ask how much time everyone here spends on their studies.
How many hours a day would you say you spend on concentrated, active studies? How much spent watching TV, listening to radio? How many days a week? And given all that, how do you think you have progressed in your studies? Anything you’d like to change?

I ask because I learned Spanish for 5 years (6th grade - Sophomore year in HS) and came back to language studies a few years ago. Since then I’ve studied Spanish & Chinese regularly and have definitely made some headway, being able to impress native speakers because they don’t expect someone like me to know more than gracias and hola (or anything in Chinese). However, I’m still struggling when it comes to listening - everything in native broadcasts still flies way too fast for me to catch more than the basics, and I end up catching on to a word and translating it while the rest of the message keeps flying by. Trying to have a conversation with a native speaker still ends up awkward and troublesome.
I think I can attribute my struggles to the time spent. As dedicated as I feel I am (and my wife probably feels, too), if I step back and take an honest assessment I’m probably only spending 30 minutes a day on active studies. Between 9 hrs a day with work, 2.5 hrs total commuting, helping with the baby and around the house, and trying to get a full night of sleep, I end up with an hour or so to myself at night. By then I might do some studies if there’s nothing else to deal with. So the bulk of my study time ends up being about 30 minutes on the bus home and some passive radio-listening while getting ready for bed. I know that this is definitely not enough, since that adds up to 180 hrs a year if I did the 30 minutes every day.

So again, just curious to see how this compares to everyone else here on the forum and what tips you might have for getting the most out of study time. Thanks.

For me weeknights can be hard but on the weekends I try to put all my time into it.

I expect listening to be brutal. If I think I would likely be able to read everything I am hearing, I will give it a couple of tries. But if not, I just assume I am not ready yet, and am happy to just try to pick out a few words from every sentence.

I study for 3 hours everyday, well I try to but after doing 2 hours of intensive listening and reading my brain really starts to hurt so let’s say 2:30-2:45ish everyday, I only started learning Spanish about 1 and a half months ago with no previous knowledge I did not learn it in school or have any Spanish friends so I was a completely blank slate.

As far as my progress I can most definitely say that my reading has improved as I am able to understand more sentences and words that I know had put to “Known” within Lingq I have not really started focusing on listening yet as I know that my listening is rubbish compared to my reading but after I have completed 3 months of reading to build up my vocab I will purchase an audio book and inport it into Lingq so I can read along and improve my listening compression and start speaking a lot more as this moment in time it not that important as I do not know that many words!

My goal is to be at a B1 level within 6 months then I will move onto another language.

but I am visiting Columbia next year for some Spanish immersion so that should be interesting!

best of luck!

You are correct, btw. It’s simple a matter of time and listening to native speakers, especially in movies is likely the last skill to come.

Most of the time I just do nothing, but when I’m “doing Spanish,” it’s 1.5 hours a day, for example, if I’m doing a 90 Day Challenge or some other stretch of time. When I do a new language (likely next year) after “finishing” Spanish. it’ll be that amount of time devoted. Figure 500 hours a year if I were doing it all the time (some days more, some days, less, etc.) But 500 hours if learning throughout the year. My Spanish is good enough where I can just slack off and pick it up when I get motivated to learn again of have time.

The best and most efficient learning is reading. And then reading and listening together. And then just listening. Like Steve, if you have dedicated language learning time, read. If you have to do other things at the same time, listen. For you, you are going to spend the majority of your commute time listening. The majority of your quiet time reading material in LingQ.

If you’re known words acquired through reading are high, you’ll be able to recognize words more and more during your listening the more you listen.

After a few hundred hours of listening, you’ll notice how much slower Spanish speakers talk than they used to.

Good luck!

1 Like

2-3 intensive hours per day. I try to read 1000 words and get over 100 new ones, I’m aiming to increase this to 1,500 and 200 respectively. I split this time into three and this allows me to stay focused and positive.

I tried to do more but it decreased my effectiveness as my motivation and attention were reduced. I think it’s important to relax and do other activities or it becomes overwhelming. I don’t really do passive learning although, I would like to start listening more perhaps while doing other things.

I take 45 min during my lunch break at work to upload new content and go through it. During my commute I listen to podcasts and if there is some time during the weekend, I put some extra hours into it. Mind you, working in a french speaking environment does help quite a bit.

I spent several hours yesterday watching YouTube videos in my target language. Towards the end of the book I recently finished I read it as much as I could to get to the denouement. So does it count as “studying” if I’m doing it for enjoyment? I guess you need to be far enough in your language acquisition to be able to enjoy activities like that. I highly recommend getting to that point!

I don’t study my language. I expose myself to it.

Is that legal?


I guess that’s ok as long as there are no children around

Right, that’s something I’ve always thought of. If I worked in an office where Spanish, Chinese, etc was spoken mainly, then that would be 8-9 hours every day of pure immersion.

lolol very nice

Replying to self after reading the original post a bit more carefully. If you have a fair knowledge of the language but have problems understanding spoken conversations, then regularly watching some YouTube video bloggers might actually be a good strategy. You should be able to find some who are interesting and who speak in a conversational manner. The visuals of the videos can aid understanding while you develop your ear for the language. Some of the Russian bloggers I watch are easy for me to understand, some are very difficult, but there are many interesting and entertaining ones. Some provide subtitles in the original language, too. It must be the same with Spanish and other languages.

1 Like

I think it’s more common in Europe than here.