Few people who start learning a language appreciate the importance of time. It may sound obvious but never listen to what people say when you can watch what they do. Observing behaviour tells you the real story!

When people quit learning a language it is usually for one of two reasons: an accumulation of negative emotions such as confusion, frustration, boredom etc OR they find the time cost is just too high. So faster learning doesn’t just get you there sooner, it massively increases your chances of getting there at all. And of course, it let’s you dig yourself out of a hole – which is the process I am engaged in right now.

It took me about 4 seconds per word for each of my 1650 words in order to learn them. That is just under two hours total for 1650 words. Obviously, learning isn’t enough, we need to do more to fully commit them to memory and that takes time too, but I’ll tell you about how I do that another time. Meantime, the words are learned, and I got 98% right when I reviewed them a day later – so clearly I have not wasted my time.

But now, as I start the process of committing them to memory, I have 1,100 words to review today. Imagine I review 4 per minute : that would have taken me almost 7 hours. Do I have 7 hours? No. So the hole I was in would be getting deeper not shallower.

Actually, I reviewed 12 per minute, so I completed a heavy catch-up session in about an hour and a half. Did I have an hour and a half today? Evidently.

What’s the take away here? The time it takes to learn and commit a word to memory is incredibly important and before you start learning a language, you should acquire the skill of being somewhat time efficient at learning, reviewing and other related language learning skills. Not only will you be able to reach your goals sooner and take up less of your day but your chances of reaching your goal increase almost directly with the efficiency you achieve. And when you get in a “hole” like I did and everybody does, you’ll be able to get back out of it with relative ease.