Watching TV Vs Learning languages

Why am I watching TV all the evening long and then telling that I have not enough time to learn languages 1 hour per day ?
Where is my motivation ? What are my goal(s)? I am afraid that the reason is when I am tired I have no motivation and no goal. Do you know that too ? Which solutions work for you?

Hi Cecile!

Ehem…I don’t watch TV anymore now so I wouldn’t know much. If you’re in Canada or US or UK, the programs on TV are mostly available via torrents, so you don’t really miss the show. It’s really just about planning your priority. (You can always download to watch it later)

I don’t really have much progress in the language I’m learning as of now but I think it’s just discipline. Just 10 mins twice a day is better than nothing. Make sure it’s a concentrated, efficient 10 mins though. (Playing the audio while driving your car for example, does not really count! You actually have to sit down and review/preview and testing yourself again and again, depending on what works for you)

Speaking of which, I’m gonna make a change from now on and pull out at least 15 mins 2 times a day dedicated to learning Japanese regardless of how reluctant I sometimes am. Good luck to you too!! >:-]

@Rubberduck, you said: “Playing the audio while driving your car for example, does not really count!”

I am sorry, but I don’t agree with that. Paying full attention would be the ideal situation, but we have so much to do, and we have so little time…I my view we should take advantage of all the moments during the day. For example, driving, doing the dishes, walking, running, waiting in a queue, brushing our teeth… they are all excelent situations for listening the content of the language we are learning, although they are not perfect for full concentration. So the point is that the brain is always learning. Furthermore, in this way we don’t have excuses.

@CecileinParis, what works for me is to listen content that I really like. I always try to find interesting content. The feeling that I am studying doesn’t exist, because I’m just having fun with what I am doing. Even if the content is hard, It doesn’t matter.

I agree with Oscar. My main activity beside having conversations is to listen to podcasts while driving with my car. Obviously it works:-)

Thanks for all your answers !
Actually, it what I was doing at the beginning. Listening at each single moment. But now, it’s just boring me.
My problem is motivation because I have no goal.

@CecileInParis, your situation about motivation and goal is familiar to me. When I listen English, I understand a small part of text. And it is not interesting for me. I regret but I do not receive pleasure when I do it. I have found the decision. I like dialogue. Every evening I prefer this forum and I do not want to watch TV :slight_smile: I wish you to find your way!!!

@Cecile - I’m not sure what you are doing but it’s important that what you are listening to is of interest and probably relatively new. It’s important to go over it on LingQ so you understand it before you already become bored with it. Especially, when your level is relatively high, your tolerance for listening to the same thing over and over decreases.


Sorry, I guess I was not very clear. I was trying to say that we need at least 20 mins a day studying the language in a fully concentrated mode. But of course, the ideal situation is to play the audio 24/7 whenever you can so that the language is almost always around you. However, I myself find it stressful especially when I’m on my study break and now I have to change mode and go into another study session. I prefer music over more intellectual stuff. But I guess it’s just my lifestyle and the fact that I’m a full-time student at this time. I’m sure things will change when I can say bye-bye to assignments, midterm and final exams.


Get a friend in your targeted language, it works very well!

Cecile, you may think this is silly, but my motivation is an index card! During this year, I have identified six activities which I want to be sure to pursue with any spare time I have. One of these is to study LingQ. And so I have made a colorful index card for each activity or goal, to remind me that these things are important to me. During the day, when I find myself drifting into a time-wasting activity, such as watching TV, I remember my cards and I turn my attention to the activities on the cards. If I have 30 minutes to watch TV, I surely have 30 minutes to attend to one or more of my target activities!

I start the day with the cards lined up on the right side of my table. When I am done with one of the activities, I get to move the card for that activity over to the left side of the table. I have no idea why it works, but I get a lot of pleasure out of being able to move a card over to the other side of the table. Some days, I move as many as four or five cards over to the left. Almost every day I manage to move my LingQ card over. LingQ is one of the easiest of my target activities, so I often do LingQ first.

Today was a very busy day for me out of the house, so I only got three index cards moved, but that is okay. Three cards represents more progress than nothing. I am glad I am using my cards to guide me as to how to use my spare moments.

I don’t watch TV anymore. To me watching TV is just a bad habit, I don’t find it very entertaining anyway.
You could try to watch TV in your target language though!

Rubberduck, I agree with you… it drives me crazy when I hear a language 24/7 because I try to understand it, I can’t help that, and I’m horrible at multitasking so everything I do goes wrong when I listen to podcasts! :stuck_out_tongue:

I once noticed that on TV just entertainment. Then I removed the entertainment channels 1 to 10 button tvkeypad. I did not expect, but now I rarely watch TV. Try as well!

So what’s the problem? If you like TV so much then watch some American series and cartoons. I would recommend Dexter, Weeds, Mad Men, Office, American Dad, Family Guy, The Daily Show. And stop watching any media in your native language, be it movies, series, news. Though I still read news in Russian, but trying to keep it to a minimum.
About learning while being tired: I’ve been listening to podcasts for 5-6 hours a day, I would even occasionally fall asleep with my headphones on, then I would awake 30 minutes later and continue listening. And you know the funny thing is, I guess, it helped me break this invisible wall and make a breakthrough.
I also would recommend a motivation course by Steven Covey or Anthony Robbins and A.J.Hoge’s Power English course. He’s got lots of great stuff there. Like setting your goals, seeing yourself in the future, changing your posture, smiling, remembering best moments of your life while studying. I know it may sound cheesy, but as you say: à la guerre comme à la guerre and the ends justify the means.

Thanks everybody for your support.
This week end I will think about all your comments and idea.
I have already plan some easy goals for the end of 2010. I 've written them on my profil not to forget :
My GOALS : End of december 2010 :
English : 17 000 words
German : 3 000 words
Spanish : 5 000 words

I will reload my MP3 with spanish podcast and english ones too.

@CecileInParis Why not try to watch TV in the language you want to learn?
For example I’m trying to learn German and I’m watching a lot of News on the German-TV. I think this helped me a lot. At first it seamed that they spoke so fast and I couldn’t understand much, but then, as the time passed I understood more and more of what they said.

Hope this helps.

Have a great day, Cecile!

I made a rule that I could only watch tv in Japanese. It was easy because I live in japan. That really helped a lot. It’s good to have study goals, but I found it was also very important just to seek out target language materials that I could just enjoy - rather than study. I would download tv dramas and watch them at my own pace. The ones I liked, I watched multiple times. For english dramas anyway, scripts are often easy to find on the Internet.


If you can post links to both the dramas and the scripts, I would be grateful.