Hey, have you ever wondered how those language-learning guys manage to become so fluent in no time? Like seriously, do they have a secret method or something? Well, I hate to break it to you, but the answer is pretty simple – they just show up every day (language learning routine)!
You see, while teachers teach, taxi drivers drive, and pilots fly, these language learners, learn languages. And not just once a week, nope. They seize every opportunity to immerse themselves in the language they’re trying to master. It’s like their passion won’t let them do anything else!
So, if you’re looking to become the next language-learning prodigy, here’s a sample immersion schedule to get you started. And don’t worry, you can adapt these ideas to any language you want – even Klingon! (although, good luck with that one)
So, this schedule I’m about to share with you is James’ routine for learning languages. Now, before you start thinking “Oh, great! Another unrealistic schedule that only a robot can stick to,” hold up!
It’s based around a 9 to 5 job. So, you can tweak it to fit your own lifestyle too! And let’s be real, this schedule represents a best-case scenario where you take advantage of every possible opportunity to immerse yourself in the language. So, I’m not expecting you to turn into a language-learning machine overnight. Just try to do as much as you can, most of the time, and you’ll be on the right track.
And hey, if you do manage to do all of this every single day, then you might actually be a superhero in disguise! So, let’s dive into James’ schedule and see what language-learning card he’s got up his sleeve, shall we?
6:30 am: Our boy James here starts off his day by taking three deep, conscious breaths. Next, James kneels by his bed, prays, and reminds himself how stoked he is to be learning Italian. That’s right, folks, he’s gotta get his mind right and channel his inner Mario before diving into those verb conjugations. And you know what? I respect that level of commitment to the language learning cause.
So, let’s all take a page out of James’ book and start our days in a similar fashion.
6:45 am: It’s time for James’ shower routine! And apparently, if the mood strikes him, he’s belting out lines from Italian children’s songs like a freaking opera star. I mean, we’ve all been there, right? Singing in the shower, pretending we’re the next big thing on “The Voice.”
7:00 am: It’s time for James’ morning multi-tasking session! So, while he’s getting ready for the day ahead, he’s also tuning into a “Newbie” level episode from the ItalianPod101.com podcast.
7:15 am: It’s breakfast time for James! And what’s he doing to kick off his day of language learning? Oh, just casually tuning into an Italian news broadcast. No big deal.
And get this, there’s one broadcast in particular that he likes because they speak Italian in a way that’s easy to understand. It’s a Swiss news broadcast from Ticino (the Swiss canton that speaks Italian).
So, while the rest of us are scarfing down cereal and scrolling through our phones, James is getting his daily dose of Italian news. Keep on chomping and listening, James!
7:30 am: Now it’s time for James’ daily commute! And what’s he doing to make the most out of his bumper-to-bumper traffic time? Oh, just casually listening to Italian with Michel Thomas or Pimsleur. No biggie.
But get this, he’s not just passively listening. He’s actually speaking aloud when prompted. That’s right, he’s talking to himself in the car like a total language-learning maniac.
Now, if he were on the bus or train, he might opt for a podcast instead. I mean, we can’t have him shouting Italian phrases in the middle of a crowded train car. That’s a one-way ticket to weirdo city.
So, while the rest of us are gritting our teeth and flipping off the other drivers on our commutes, James is improving his language skills one traffic jam at a time. Keep on speaking aloud, James!
Noon: It’s lunchtime for James, and he takes advantage of the opportunity to read the Bible in Italian.
One of his strategies is reading first for understanding and quickly highlighting any unknown words or structures. After he’s given a page a once-through, he goes back and looks up any unknown words in the dictionary on his phone or laptop. And let’s be real, the laptop is preferable because you can directly export saved words to Anki.
So while the rest of us are mindlessly scrolling through Instagram during our lunch break, James is diving deep into the Epistle of James in Italian.
12:30 pm: Now it’s time for James’ tutor session! And where is he having this session, you may ask? Oh, just in the comfort of his car via Skype. Because why have a boring old stationary desk when you can have a mobile classroom on wheels?
During this 45-minute chat with his tutor on italki, James is asking all kinds of questions about particular words, phrases, and constructions that came up in his morning Italian studies. And get this, folks: he finds this type of tutoring to be far more effective. Why? Because the entire session is focused only on what he doesn’t yet understand. It’s like he’s got a personal language-learning genie at his beck and call.
And let’s not forget about the tutor’s perspective. This is far easier for them since they don’t have to prepare a “lesson” in advance. It’s like they get to play a fun game of Italian Q&A with James.
1:20 pm: Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the most thrilling part of James’ day: the Anki session! I know what you’re thinking, “Anki? Is that like some kind of ancient Roman torture device?” No, no, no. It’s a fancy little flashcard app that helps James learn and retain new Italian vocabulary.
After scarfing down his lunch, James takes a quick 10-minute break to review his Anki cards. He’s actually happy to see some of those troublesome cards turn green.
5:10 pm: Ah, the commute. That magical time of day when you get to sit in traffic and question all of your life choices.
But not James. He’s got his trusty Michel Thomas course to keep him company. And he’s not just passively listening. As we mentioned earlier, he’s speaking aloud when prompted, like some kind of language-learning karaoke superstar.
Do you know why? Because passive understanding is for wimps. Active recall is where it’s at. And James knows it.
So, while the rest of us are honking our horns and exchanging “friendly” words with other drivers, James is busy honing his Italian skills. Who needs road rage when you’ve got language proficiency, right?
6:00 pm: The gym is the place where you go to sweat and suffer for the sake of fitness. But James is not just working on his physical gains today. He’s multitasking again.
As he warms up on the treadmill, he’s re-listening to this morning’s ItalianPod101 episode.
And then, as he hits the weights, he switches to some Italian music. Who needs a personal trainer when you’ve got Italian pop songs to pump you up, right?
6:45 pm: It’s dinnertime, folks! And what’s on the menu for James tonight? Italian YouTube videos, baby!
That’s right, after a long day of language learning, James likes to unwind with some good ol’ Italian content on the good ol’ tube. Maybe he’ll watch an old Italian movie and pretend he’s one of the characters, speaking fluent Italian like a boss. Or maybe he’ll watch some Italian YouTubers talk about something that interests him. Who knows? The options are endless, just like the amount of spaghetti sauce stains on his shirt.
7:30 pm: As James wraps up his day, he heads over to his local church where he participates in bible studies.
9:30 pm: As James gets ready for bed, he decides to squeeze in one more Italian lesson before calling it a night. He fires up ItalianPod101.com and listens to a Newbie-level episode while brushing his teeth. He tries to mimic the pronunciation as best he can but ends up sounding more like a grumpy Italian grandma than anything else. Oh well, at least he’s getting the practice in!
9:45 pm: James finishes his Italian learning marathon by kneeling by his bedside and praying, he gives thanks for another day and falls asleep, probably dreaming of pasta and gelato.
So there you have it! James’ routine with plenty of Italian.
Now it’s time to throw the ball to you. Yes, you! Are you looking to learn a new language? Well, you’re in luck because I’ve got some simple steps for you to follow.
First things first, grab a pen and some paper (or open a notepad on your laptop). Write down 5 points in your day where you could fit in some language work. Don’t overthink it, just jot down whatever comes to mind.
Now, gather your resources. And no, I don’t mean your dictionary from 5th grade. We’re talking about the apps, podcasts, and videos that will actually help you learn the language.
And, start today! Yes, today. Don’t wait until tomorrow or next week or when Mercury is in retrograde. Start small, but start now. Maybe it’s listening to a podcast during your commute or watching an Italian movie after dinner. Whatever it is, just do it.