What is your proven method to learn a Language?

For instance, using this platform, after how many words did you start focusing on grammar, writing, and speaking?
I did get an admit to university in Germany and my program is entirely in English. I just want to learn German enough so that when I am outside university campus, I can easily talk in German language.
However, sometimes I feel I am rushing into lots of stuff. Like focusing on grammar drills and writing and speaking. It is true it is my first language learning marathon apart from 3 I already learnt in my childhood. Or you can say conscious effort on my behalf to learn any language.
In short, when did you guys start focusing on other aspects of German language? Like writing, grammar, speaking etc?

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Hi Yoda_Basit,

PS -
And I would avoid foreigner bubbles - like the plague - as well :slight_smile:


@PeterBormann PeterBormann I tried looking for your post in which you mentioned these approaches but could not find it.
It will be great if you could post the link in the comments where you explain these approaches.


You mean LingQ’s own link doesn’t work? :slight_smile:

OK. I’ll paste a fragment of the post here.
But it’s just the last post in the thread directly below this one…

*** Quote ***
Reading stuff that interests you (history, politics, whatever) is important.
However, you won’t become fluent in everyday conversations that way.

Ultimately, the question is: What are your goals?
And then you have to train explicitly to achieve these goals.

For example:
GOAL: I want to become fluent fast

  • Then don’t read long books and / or listen to long audiobooks (with their slow-paced, clear pronunciation).
    Instead, focus on podcasts / Youtube videos / talk radio with various (fast-paced) native speakers who discuss topics related to everyday life (you could start with “Easy German” on Youtube, for example).

  • You can also resort to TV / Netflix / Amazon Prime, etc. series (ideally with more dialogues and less action). Yes, their word-density is lower than that of podcasts / Youtube videos / talk radio, but they simply have compelling content.

  • Then you should also talk more:
    → Start with ChatGPT3.5 on Memrise (it’s just 24 EUR p.a.), for instance. The conversations with the AI are quite nice (I haven’t tested it with German, but with many other Germanic and Romance languages).
    → You can have written conversations with ChatGPT about everyday topics, which is also helpful.
    → Sooner or later, it’s best to switch to human tutors (on Italki & Co).

  • Other helpful tools / strategies in this context are (Note: Some like them, others don’t):
    → Use LingQ’s export-to-Anki function to drill the conventionalized word groups (“chunks” / “collocations”) or sentences from the media (podcasts, YT vids, etc.) you find useful.
    → Use Glossika decks (on Anki - if available) or go to Glossika to drill sentences.

  • Finally your training cycle for achieving fluency could look like this:
    Practice reading while listening to the podcast, YT vids, etc. (Variations: Read the script first to mark LingQs or listen first without reading to see if you understand the gist of the dialogues, use Language Reactor to focus on subtitles without resorting to LingQ, etc.)
    Re-listen to the dialogues until you feel at ease (2-3 times is often enough)
    Use the sentences / collocations with: Anki (esp. the translation from your L1 into the L2!), the Memrise bot (ChatGPT3.5) for oral conversations, ChatGPT for written conversations, and / or your tutors.

  • Note:
    → In terms of time commitment: You should spend at least 1.5 hours per day (about 5-6 days per week) on these activities to make rapid progress.
    → It will take some time before you feel comfortable in the oral dimension.
    But after a few months you will definitely see the progress you have made.

*** Unquote ***

Re the ultrareading while listening (U-RWL) approach:

  • Go to your profile page on LingQ.
  • Add my name at the end. Then you can see my LingQ home page.
  • Scroll down a little bit to find more infos about this approach.

Good luck / much success!


Here’s also a short version of U-RWL (as of 2022) so that you don’t have to look for the info on my LingQ profile page

For LingQers who want to know what the “ULTRAREADING-WHILE-LISTENING” APPROACH is [as of March 30, 2022]:

It´s daily “high-volume” reading-while-listening (ca. 8-10k words read and listened to a day - at least with languages that have a familiar writing system) that is based on

  • habits

  • timeboxing (2 Pomodoro blocks à 25 min a day)

  • content flexible audio reader software (LingQ, ReadLang, etc.)

  • a combo like “audio book + e-book imported into the audio reader” (or “podcast + transcript”, etc.)

  • where the audio speed (> 1.0x - 1.5x) is a kind of “pacemaker” for the reading speed.

However, this approach isn´t suitable for the beginning stages (A1-A2), but it´s designed for the intermediate level B1 to achieve an advanced level (B2-C1 / C1) in listening and reading comprehension in the most (time-)efficient way.

In short: It´s a kind of accelerated mass immersion technique.

For some detailed stats on ultrareading, see this tracking document by LingQ user Toby aka @noxialisrex:


I´m working on an e-book version right now. However, here are some of the basic ideas (from my reply to @tjbandel from the “feeling-demotivated”-thread: Feeling demotivated - Open Forum - LingQ Language Forums):

“it mostly feels like a chore which needs to be done, and I am learning for a purpose as per say, not because I particularly find it ‘fun to learn languages’.” (tjbandel)

You should be aware that there´s a lot of marketese in all types of skill acquisition products (languages, math, fitness, etc.).

Everything is the “fastest, easiest, and most fun way ever”.

Learners who fall for these promises tend to have two types of experiences:

  1. If it’s fast, easy, and fun, it’s more or less useless because learning a challenging skill is, well, “challenging” :slight_smile:

  2. After a few hours they see:

  • it´s not fast, but time-intensive

  • it´s not easy, but they´re confronted with increasing levels of difficulty


  • it´s not always fun, esp. at the beginning of the learning process.

So if learners aren´t able to adapt their mindsets to the learning realities the´re confronted with, they´re toast.

In my teaching experience, many learners aren´t able to change their attitudes. Why? Because “the feeling like it” mindset is itself an established bad habit :slight_smile:

So what can you do? Here a few tips:

  1. Switch to a habit-based approach. Let´s say 2 Pomodoro blocks à 25 min 5-6 days a week.

I repeat: If you don’t tackle this attitude problem, it doesn’t matter if you take a few weeks or months off, because you’ll be faced with the same demotivation problems over and over again - in short, they’ll haunt you!

  1. Use quantifiable metrics as goals, not some “vague feeling of fluency” (that´s like trying to nail a pudding to the wall).

As a native speaker of English with Polish as your L2 that would be something like:

  • ca. 3 million words read

  • ca. 500 hours listening

  • ca. 100 hours speaking

  1. Use an ultrareading-while-listening approach (= “book / audiobook” - combo) because
  • it´s very (time-)efficient (you read and listen simultaneously and you read a lot)

  • it improves your “focused attention” more than reading / listening alone

  • it works as a “natural SRS” because of the high volume of words read

  1. Use a time-boxing approach, esp. Pomodoro is your friend here.

If you practice “ultrareading-while-listening” in 2 Pomodoro blocks (25 min each) per day, 6 days per week, you will have read between 2.4 and 3.1 million words after one year (tip: you should strive to read about 4-5k words per Pomodoro block by increasing the speed of the audio to 1.2, 1.25, etc. on Audible, Youtube, LingQ, etc.).

  1. Choose at first interesting / fascinating non-fiction texts (e.g., the Harari trilogy mentioned above), then contemporary (popular) fiction that you find fascinating. If it´s the “Witcher Saga” in Polish, then go for it :slight_smile:

  2. Tweak this approach a little bit by:

  • exporting the LingQ flashcards to Anki. Usually 5-10 min of Anki a day can be quite helpful. Or if you need some grammar / verb conjugation drills, check the free decks for Polish on Memrise.

  • listening to other Polish content (the news, podcasts, whatever) 30 min a day in your down time (while ironing the clothes, washing the dishes, etc.)

  • speaking (at first self-talks where you try to summarize what has been read, later Italki and Co sessions) for another 30 mins.

I don´t mention writing here, but chatting, for example, is also your friend.

If you can do this for about a year (and I repeat: a habit-based learning style is a “best practice” in this context!), ca. 2 hours a day, ca. 6 days a week, all your stats on LingQ will skyrocket.

Then you should be at B2-C1 / C1 level in Polish. In comparison, you’ve only reached about 20% of this language learning journey at the moment!

If that´s too much every day, just go for 1 Pomodoro block à 25 min a day. But then your language learning journey will take a bit longer.


@PeterBormann hey thanks for these comments! I got ur point! Plus, I did visit your profile and man you have been so busy here that it is hard to know which post u were recommending me. But I got ur point now. Thanks! :slight_smile: God Bless!


you have been so busy here that it is hard to know which post u were recommending me"

Yes, sorry. And there are even more posts, which are private reminders / sketches, about texts I want to write. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for writing long articles because I’ve got so many IT certifications to do at the moment.

Anyway, my LingQ profile page has become quite a mess. Therefore, I’m going to put the texts about “second language acquisition” on my own blog / Medium page.

Then I can not only write longer texts, but also just put appropriate links here in the forum.

Have a nice weekend,


The method that works fastest is to do what you’re doing: live where your target language is spoken. There is no faster way. But the most important thing is that you have to engage in the language. It will do you no good if you’re living in Germany and speaking English all the time. Also, it will do you no good if all you do is language drills and grammar - I advise you to forget about that stuff - all it does is get in the way.

I’m all for leaving speaking until after you have acquired a lot of vocabulary, but once you’re in the country, just grab the opportunity: if you don’t, you’re wasting a great chance to get a boost in your abilities.

As for me, I learned German while I was traveling for 3 months in Germany. I used a phrase book at first, and I just kept speaking and listening. Three months in, I had very little grammar and a very small vocabulary, but I was using it to the max and speaking confidently, I never had problems communicating, and no one ever cared that my grammar was terrible.


Study means study in Germany. You will have no time for any other activity including learning German. However, I highly recommend you to attend VHS/private language schools during your semester break, you will learn all grammar rules in a systematic way and also receive oral input by a native german speaker. In parallel , you can always read books on Lingq and listen to podcasts/watch Tv shows. In country immersion will work wonders if your listening level is already around B2 otherwise you have no choice but to make efforts to reach it in order to derive benefits from immersion enviornment.

Listening is the most important skill when you are living in your target country. Wherever you go you have to understand locals. You can imagine then comes speaking and reading. Writing, well, now you have ChatGPT and Deepl , you can write something that makes sense if a need arises.

Germany is such a good luck country for foreigners that here every German speaks excellent English. However, German is such a beautiful and flexible language; you will not appreciate it unless you reach an advanced listening level. Learn it just for the sake of enjoying the journey

I can listen to German 24 hours a day even without feeling bored. To give you an analogy, if English is Algebra then German is Calculus :slight_smile: LOL


Yeah, I will try to learn German in Germany.
For now, I am trying my best to learn German enough that I am fluent in German and can talk on most topics and read as well so that when I read sign boards in Germany, I am Not lost. Lol
Thanks for the comment though!

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I agree with @asad100101. You will be studying full-time, be in a new city and in a new environment, so learning German won’t be your full focus. Being in country is pretty useless unless you are at least B1+, ideally B2. Your language skills are not high enough to actually make use of listening to and talking to locals. Avoiding foreigner bubbles is just not realistic, when you study in English and aren’t competent in the language.

To actually make use of your experience there to become fluent in German, you have to get it to a level as high as possible before arriving. Only then can you fully make use of living in country. I can’t stress this enough.

If German is your first language you are learning as an adult, you will probably benefit from taking classes, both evening classes during the semester at your university, and, if you have the money, intensive language learning courses at private language schools during the semester breaks. For instance, arriving in Germany before your university starts to take one. The reason I’m saying this is because it requires a bit of trial and error to be able to get good at self-study and truly develop the habit of it. You can do self-study on the side, doing reading with listening with Language Reactor or whatever tool you like, but by taking a course, you will be more motivated to actual study German on a regular basis. It’s easy to say “Of course, I’m going to study German on a regular basis,” but when the crunch time of exams come, it will be one of the first activities to disappear. If you are taking a language course, you are less likely to do this.

Once you have at least a B1+ knowledge of German, try and get a part-time job in customer service, ideally outside of a tourist area for foreigners. This can be as a waiter, bartender, receptionist, sales representative, etc. You will have lots of interactions with people in German.

Signing up to group sports, like soccer or hockey, etc. is also a good way to get lots of interactions in German. Just be sure, you are on a German team.

It is very easy to live in a decent-sized German city without knowing German. There are millions of people who do it.

In terms of what to focus on, definitely focus on conversational dialogues. YouTube videos with subtitles should be your go-to. From YouTube videos, you improve your listening comprehension and learn the vocabulary used in conversations. Book vocabulary and grammar are different kettles of fish, so don’t worry about this until much later.


Oddly enough, I was in Berlin last year eating lunch at a fast food restaurant there. Only one guy was working there, and he said he couldn’t speak German. My gf is German, so it wasn’t like he just heard my poor German and didn’t want to deal with it =).


is situation that bad in Germany? The good thing about my course is that German language integrated courses are also part of my first two semesters so I might get a chance to learn something as well.


Some people have suggested you won’t have time for language study. However, you can create time. Find suitable material, podcasts or YouTube for example, then listen to it while commuting to and from work, preparing a meal, during work breaks etc. Even if you only get some of it, it will slowly sink it. Combine that with some proper study, and you’ll progress,


Bad, in what way? Not sure if this was in reference to my post?

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u said in the previous comment that the guy stopped speaking German when he heard your German. So, are things really bad over there that if an accent is odd, they stop speaking German?

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Mine was to:

  1. read/watch/listen to comprehensive and compelling content
  2. look up grammar but only if I want to (not often, and i make it short)
  3. connect with natives (exchange, friends, dating, etc.) and speak the language with them getting feedback when i can
  4. being consistent

and that’s it


Ahhh. I may not have explained it well. You can take me out of the story entirely…I just was noting that in many cases someone in the country may switch to english if they know you speak english (i.e. don’t speak German well). I think in this particular instance my girlfriend (who is German) ordered in German and he said he couldn’t speak German himself. We found it quite odd as he is working in Germany! I suspect he recently immigrated there and is probably learning, but doesn’t know enough yet. He probably would’ve understood MY German =)


oh, I got ur point now. Thanks for the clarification!