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marcchristensen

Finding the time to practice

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I always try to do my research first before I start learning a new language. Some sort of sizing up the whole tasks like if I need to learn how to speak and write and if I already have some familiarity with the language. If I know about the big picture I can certainly plan my leaning sessions and design them to be more focused and helpful. I know I am the type of person who can get lost in the sea of information circulating all over that is why a careful planning is very important for me. 

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I like to try to learn in the morning when things seem fresh and then I can repeat things in my head throughout the day and I find that it helps me retain more information that way. I also like to try to repeat what I learned before bed so it really sinks in. I find that I probably study 2 hours a day and I am doing well. 

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I struggle with this as I am fairly disorganized in many aspects of my life already to begin with, and learning something new I have to actively set a schedule that I force myself to adhere to rigidly as if I don't I will end up delaying it too much and risk forgetting about what I have already previously learned, which then just makes it an endless cycle of playing catch up with my own lessons because by the time I am ready to learn something new I have to then again spend majority of the time reviewing past lessons, whereas if I do it constantly and consistently I wouldn't have to review as much. 

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You just have to schedule stuff.   I have morning rituals, and  20 minutes of Duolingo is what I do immediately after breakfast while I am having my second cup of coffee.  Like everything else you might not want to do everyday, you just schedule it and don´t give yourself any wiggle room.   My worst habit that causes procrastination is that I bargain with myself, often kicking the can down the road til tomorrow.

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On 3/4/2016 at 9:30 AM, Blaveloper said:

I used to have problems with time, but all I did was taking Google Calendar and scheduling all my activities there.
It'll take lots of effort at the start, but it became a habit to me now.
Also make sure your activities are described short, but specific.

I won't show you my calendar obviously since it's highly confidential, but I can give you an example schedule based on how I do it.

All day long - Go through the kanji on WaniKani.
7:00 - 7:30 - Wake up, shower, put on clothes, etc.
7:30 - 8:00 - Listen to a podcast at JapanesePod101.
8:00 - 8:30 - Breakfast.
8:30 - 9:00 - Flashcards.
9:00 - 12:30 - Web development job.
12:30 - 13:00 - Read or watch news in Japanese.
13:00 - 13:30 - Lunch.
13:30 - 17:30 - Game development job.
17:30 - 18:00 - Dinner.
18:00 - 19:00 - Ask friends about Japanese based on what I found that day.
19:00 - 20:00 - Listen to the same podcast again.
20:00 - 21:00 - Fitness.
21:00 - 22:00 - Review what I've learnt.
22:00 - Go to bed.

Everything in bold is related to language learning.
Try to fill up as many blank spaces as possible, every 2 minutes you're waiting for your train to arrive, every 5 minutes you wait for the waitress to give you your order, even that 1 minute you're waiting for the traffic lights to go green, it can all easily be used for language learning (like going through flashcards, apps, etc. on the go), because it adds up a lot in the end.

Wow you have a pretty concise schedule. I wish I had your discipline. What program are you using for your game development job if you don't mind me asking? I am thinking of learning how to code so I can get a web development job as well. I also like how you do your fitness in the evening. I usually can't sleep if I do my fitness late at night. 

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2 minutes ago, sillylucy said:

Wow you have a pretty concise schedule. I wish I had your discipline. What program are you using for your game development job if you don't mind me asking? I am thinking of learning how to code so I can get a web development job as well. I also like how you do your fitness in the evening. I usually can't sleep if I do my fitness late at night. 

The only thing I can disclose is that I'm using the Unity game engine.
Everything else I use is confidential material I receive from Nintendo, so I can't talk about this part.

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6 hours ago, Blaveloper said:

The only thing I can disclose is that I'm using the Unity game engine.
Everything else I use is confidential material I receive from Nintendo, so I can't talk about this part.

That is pretty cool,  I also am a Unity user, but have used it mainly for a traditional RPG.   I was thinking of how easy it would be to create a Unity game to learn languages in a 3d environment, especially since there is so much free art available.  Of course I would have to throw in an orc too.

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I tend to do my book work first thing in the morning so I can think about it during the day.  Then I listen on my iPod during the day while I work and flip through flashcards while I wait for something to load on my computer or save.   At night, I try to make at least thirty minutes of spare time to practice writing and to go over what I learned before going to sleep.  I find that if I don't do it first thing in the morning, I tend to fluff it off.  But on really busy days the most I can do is listen to k-pop on the computer and flip through flashcards.  On slow days, I'll put an extra hour or two into the book.  Mostly my learning style has to conform to my ever changing schedule.  

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Take a look at your day and you will find that you do a lot of activities that don't require your full attention where you could be doing something else at the same time, specially if you want to catch up with audio material, for example, doing laundry, washing the dishes, commuting, working out... all activities that would allow you to be hearing audio lessons at the same time. The key is to find stuff that you could do at the same time, for example, use the time it takes for your clothes to dry to practice writing sentences, use your time at the gym to listen to music in the language that you are studying and try to figure out the lyrics.  You could be watching video lessons while using the treadmill, for example.

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While I know this won't make me fluent, I mostly focus on things that can be done in a short amount of time. Duolingo is good for that, and when I first started, I used the "ten minutes a day" book series. If you are pressed for time, these are easy things to do between classes or work. Being consistent and practicing every day, whether you learn new things or review, is very important to me.

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On March 5, 2016 at 3:55 PM, Mameha said:

Actually i normally eat at 19,30 but some people has dinner at 18.oo too (i think in north) and someone after 21.00. Some saturday i had dinner even at 22.00/23.00 because i was out with my friends :D

Anyway yeah, it is surely personal and it depends of jobs, other stuffs to do etc but it's a good thing to organize the day systematically like this.

I always thought Europeans as a whole eat later.  I had a friend who went to France and said she was the only one in the restaurant before 10pm.  I feel like in the US people tend to eat earlier like 6-7pm.  Those seem to be the most crowded restaurant times.  What do you think?  I prefer to eat earlier as I don't like going to bed on a full stomach. 

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I think one of the best ways is to force yourself either by living in the locality where the language is spoken and if not then just sticking to a routine. If you have a regular schedule then someday it becomes second nature and the day feels like it is missing something when you don't practice. It also helps having some one around like a practice partner or a tutor to help you keep track of your lessons and milestones. 

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7 hours ago, KimmyMarkks said:

I always thought Europeans as a whole eat later.  I had a friend who went to France and said she was the only one in the restaurant before 10pm.  I feel like in the US people tend to eat earlier like 6-7pm.  Those seem to be the most crowded restaurant times.  What do you think?  I prefer to eat earlier as I don't like going to bed on a full stomach. 

This actually differs per country.
The Polish for instance eat at 5 PM, the Dutch and probably Germans too at 7 PM, the Spaniards at 9 PM and so on.
I personally eat around 6 PM, that's the most appropriate time for me.

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On 06/03/2016 at 1:30 AM, Blaveloper said:

Try to fill up as many blank spaces as possible, every 2 minutes you're waiting for your train to arrive, every 5 minutes you wait for the waitress to give you your order, even that 1 minute you're waiting for the traffic lights to go green, it can all easily be used for language learning (like going through flashcards, apps, etc. on the go), because it adds up a lot in the end.

I like this kind of attitude and I think that this can be one of the effective ways in taking the time for learning. No matter how busy your day is, try to find the opportunity to learn the language you want to learn during your free time. Spending even just a few minutes every day will eventually add up and before you know it, you have actually moved forward with your learning with these simple steps. :)

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If you can get hold of those audio cd's you can play them when you are on the way to work or stuck in traffic. If you play them often enough it filters into your subconscious and before you know it you have learned a language without that much effort on your part.

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I honestly think that it's a matter of discipline. Even if you don't find time when you are at home, you definitely have time when you are commuting. I am a big fan of the Duolingo app and I am using it whenever I know I will spend more than 20-30 minutes on the bus or on the train. After all, even a small progress is better than no progress at all.

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I didn't face this problem when I was learning the languages which I now know. That's because I would be living in communities where the language is spoken natively. So I got lots of opportunities to listen to and to practice speaking the language. Now, considering that I intend to learn Arabic, this poses a small problem. People who speak Arabic natively are rare where I live now. I am really thinking about moving to an Arab-speaking country to learn Arabic.

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I am lucky enough to have plenty of time to practice since I am still in school. When I get back home I am able to have plenty of time to study a language or come to Linguaholic.

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Yes, I can always find time when trying to learn a new language. What matters is that if you really have the passion and desire for learning a new language you will always find time, as many people have previously stated. People who say that they don't have time or can't find it are just fooling themselves, they're making up excuses in order to feel good about themselves for not learning a new language; I mean, it's not like anyone is obliged to learn a new language or anything, but if you really want to do it and feel commited, then you do it and find time; if you're too busy during the whole day then you do it at night or you get up earlier and do it, you don't make up excuses. If you lack motivation that's another issue, you find somebody to help you out, to boost your confidence, if you need someone like that I'm here to help.

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We are all so busy these days that it is a constant challenge to find time to do the things that we want to do, like finding the time to practice your language. It's very fortunate that you don't have to assign big blocks of time to language learning, but you can learn even if you just have a few minutes to spare here and there. That's pretty much how it has been for me. I have an hour long lesson every week, but other than that, I try to get in whatever I can whenever I can. And I also make sure to practice a lot, even when I'm alone, I try to think in the language and speak to myself in the language that I'm learning. It helps. 

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We can't learn a new language unless we find time to learn and practice that language. My day schedule is almost always full so I have to devote at least an hour in the evening. I also use the travel time to and from work to listen to the lessons in audio files. It's true that it will be a great help if you can find a learning buddy. In my case, my son is my learning buddy. He's learning along with me and I'm pressured to study in advance so I can answer his questions (and he just loves to fire questions).  

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Many of the jobs that I've had I always had someone, especially women to always talk to when I was trying to master Spanish. Being in this environment was always the best because I had 8 plus hours of practicing Spanish all the time. Since it was natural, and I was going to using words to communicate, then why not. I had no time after work because I just really wasn't interested in dedicating the time to do it unless I was in a school setting. 

Having the jobs helped me to learn much more.

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When I am learning a language, finding time to practice is my main concern. Since I am a professional and I have to make a living by working more than 8 hours in a day, I cannot find time to learn the language. I work from home thus even during the weekends, I work. Thus I cannot find time to practice even during the weekend. Because of this problem, I have given up learning a new language.

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Yes I do struggle with learning my chosen language like most people. But what I do is allot an hour or 2 every weekend before going to sleep to study and practice my chosen language so that I will learn bit by bit.

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On 18/4/2016 at 11:05 PM, sillylucy said:

I like to try to learn in the morning when things seem fresh and then I can repeat things in my head throughout the day and I find that it helps me retain more information that way. I also like to try to repeat what I learned before bed so it really sinks in. I find that I probably study 2 hours a day and I am doing well. 

I will recommend you to learn how to think in the language you're trying to learn, I'm pretty sure thatwill bump you up really quick.

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