If you have a speciﬁc context you want to be highly competent in, such as work or family, your choice of input and vocabulary can diﬀer from a more evenly balanced approach.
Narrowing your learning allows you to eﬀectively reach a higher level much faster and can be more enjoyable.
You can start by tailoring the resources you use and using content that aligns with the contexts you need the language for.
For example, if you want to learn for business purposes, interviews (podcasts or videos) of experts and articles in business publications are more useful.
Your goal may emphasize certain skills, and this same principle applies. For example, if you want to be able to communicate with ordinary people in public, you should utilize audio resources and speaking practice more.
Language learning activities
All activities fall into one (or more) of three categories:
1. Meaning-focused — Large amounts of natural language are required to learn a language, so the learner should be seeking out and engaging with large amounts of input.
The goal is simply to expose yourself to as much of the language as possible and generally understand what is being read or heard. It will be helpful to become comfortable with not completely understanding the meaning.
2. Language-focused — This is when you utilize some smaller piece of content to attempt focused improvement at a speciﬁc component or skill, such as a grammar concept, vocabulary, phonetics, natural phrases, or aural comprehension.
This is the closest to a typical desk study session. Resources used for language-focused learning are often more diﬃcult than those you would use for meaning-focused learning.
3. Fluency-focused — Exercises aimed at helping you improve the speed at which you can use language you already know, focusing one the four skills.
If you use content, you will generally use it for some speciﬁc component and focus only on that. Typical ﬂuency-focused activities involve pronunciation.
How much you do of each is up to you, though the nature of meaning-focused language learning activities means they will likely take most of your time.