It’s imperative to remember that the main goal of any successful language learner from the start is to learn the basic grammar, such as verb and noun forms, the general structure and logic of the target language, approximately 1,000-2,000 words, and enough of the key skills to function in whatever context they are learning for.
A good language learner should begin by having 1-2 beginner courses, a ﬂashcard program, a dictionary, and lots of beginner-level input they can use to do this:
Beginner courses provides us with the grammar and other basics through direct explanation and will often also provide drills and content.
Flashcards supplement lessons and content by allowing us to drill grammar and vocabulary as necessary.
Dictionaries supplement the reading part.
Input lets us learn the language as it is used in the real world.
To learn a language as a beginner, we simply need to progress through our chosen course while ensuring we spend most of our time supplementing that material with content and vocabulary ﬂashcard practice.
How to use your time
It’s widely known and also thoroughly explained in our previous blog posts that you should have a dedicated slot of time each day set aside to study your language. Study time can be spent reading explanations, doing drills, or learning using content.
Divide your time into study blocks between 20 minutes and one hour. It helps if a block deals with a single resource, such as an article or podcast episode, and you pick a speciﬁc skill or aspect of the language to try improving with that resource.
There is no hard and fast rule for how you should split your time.
As a rule of thumb, dedicating around one third of your study time on grammar, one third on vocabulary, and a third on the four skills should work well. For those that hate grammar, you can safely reduce your time studying grammar to about 1/8th. We don’t recommend going completely without grammar, however there are learners that do this.
In addition to your study time, it’s highly recommended to also spend plenty of time engaging with different kinds of content without using it to study anything specific. How much of your time should be spent with study and how much you should spend just using content is up to you.
It will depend on how much time you have spare once you’ve done your dedicated study and what content is available that is interesting and at your level. Aim for at least 25% of your time to be spent using content this way.