Need advice on how long to spend with dialogs

Hello Everyone,

Please advise on how long to spend on a dialog and how often to review. I have never figured out how to do this properly. I think I end up reviewing way too many times and I end up getting bored out of my mind. It is not uncommon for me to listen to something 50+ times.

Currently, I am studying a series in Russian for moving to St. Petersburg. There are 5 dialogs in the series totaling a little over 40 minutes. I have listened to each between 5-10 times. I can understand 80%+ although there are some parts that completely confuse me. There are about 5-8% of words that I don’t know immediately on site.

In such a situation, do you simply move on to something else or do you keep reviewing until you have a better understanding. I want to move on because I am bored listening to them but I don’t want to make a fatal mistake of moving on and failing to commit to long-term memory and thus waste the time I have already spent.


Based on the advice I’ve gleaned from Steve’s YouTube videos and my own experience, if you’re bored you should move on. Expose yourself to more of the language and eventually if you want to come back to these you should be able to pick up more than just cramming it in.

It sounds like you’re more advanced than I am in your progress with your language learning but I’ve found it’s less important to “finish” an individual lesson, and more productive to push on and find something new.

I think, the moment some information feels boring, it becomes either well known or blocked by your mind as something irrelevant to spend the energy to. In any case, there is no sense to push on. Are these dialogs so unique? I doubt so. A new interesting context will give a push to your study. And the feeling of boredom is a good sign to go over to other materials. You will definitely find these 5-8% of words in other materials (otherwise, you just do not need to remember them - like with any specific terms in your native language that you can hear sometimes, but never remember, because you do not use them in your life and hear them only in occasion). And the new context may create some reliable trigger in your memory.

By the way, you can simply ask about the completely confusing parts. It may be much easier/faster to use someone’s help for such cases (where unclear content is relatively small in regard to generally comprehensible input).

If you understand more than 70% of a lesson, i will advice you to do something else because the time you spend to try to nail everything is not worth it IMO. You are better doing another lesson. In any cases, some of the words will stick, some will not until a long time. It’s life.

Also, I find when I am bored that my brain ‘shut down’, I stop noticing stuffs and I daydreams more often. A little break or new materials help me tremendously.

To be honest, I tried learning Russian (with Assimil) and I stopped. One of the main reasons, I stopped is that I tried to hard to nail everythings (words and grammar) and I was feeling that I was not making any progress in the language. As a result, after coming back from my gapyear, I started learning Spanish with only LingQ and my progress are crazy (but I speak French and Spanish is way more easy than Russian). Still, try to make sure you enjoy your studies so you don’t burnout.

I really like to use ‘news articles’ because it often easy to follow them especially if you pick those related to international politic. Worst case scenario, you can always read the news in English to help you get familiarize with the subject.

Good luck

Russian is of course quite a difficult language for English speakers because of strange vocabulary, Grammar etc. But knowing Russian you will understand 50-70% of all other slavic languages and you open a new logic, a new lifestile - a new culture with few of words.
What about a concrete question - you certainly have to go ahead but don’t try to get too hard materials.70% of learned words is quite enough, other words will come later in other tyexts and dialogs.
Try my lessons in our LingQ library ПЕРВЫЕ ШАГИ(first steps) that familiarize you with the basic vocabulary and basic grammar structures. This collection is rather long (85 lessons), but very short (1-2 minutes) lessons. If it will be too easy for you, you can try НАЧИНАЕМ ГОВОРИТЬ ПО-РУССКИ и РАССКАЗЫ О РОССИИ.
If you have any questions you can write on my wall or write in the forum.
You can also sign up for my 1:1 discussions to check your speaking possibilities.
Don’t be boring and best regards from St Petersburg, Russia.

Evgueny, thank you for your motivating post. After many years I am again interested to fresh up my Russian that I have learned 25 years ago. I will for sure try your lessons in the library!