A – Set yourself a minimum goal of 7 (seven) new words or short phrases a day
1 -You can start by doing a Internet search of the 100 or 1,000 most common words in a language and compile a list.
I did this for Spanish: I found a number of sites.
I copied the lists onto Microsoft Word (for example)
Then I began writing the words down on index cards with the target word on one side and the translation on the other…
2 – You can do your “Seven Words a Day”…
Manually – See my blogpost A Learning Method for Vocabulary – Index Cards
Or with the help of a learning program – for Spanish and Turkish I use 17-Minute Languages.
If you are a real beginner with the language, you can stick to this at first.
However, it is important that you begin forming short phrases / sentences with the words as soon as possible.
The good thing about 17-Minute Languages – one of the reasons why I like it – is that there are also phrases AND an audio track so that you can learn to hear and understand.
I will also introduce other possibilities as I have reviewed them.
For more on daily possibilities, see the page “Daily” under “Have a Plan”.
B – Listen to radio or television
If you are in the target language country or have access to programming in that language, try listening to broadcasts for half an hour.
To save time and spare yourself to much effort at the start…
1 – Just play the broadcasts while doing something else: making / having breakfast or traveling to work.
2 – You don’t have to concentrate too much. Just try to recognize words at first and note the sounds and pronunciation of the language.
C – Come up with a goal for the week
After you have learned a certain number of words / phrases, set weekly goals, such as:
1 – Read – at first a sentence, then a paragraph, then a page of the target language in a simple text – children’s stories are good for this.
At first, a long sentence per week, then as you improve…
Then a whole page
2 – Or find a website in the langauge with content that REALLY interests you!
For example, if you are a sports fan, find articles about your favorite sport or team
* For words / phrases you do not know, find their translations, add them to your vocabulary list / index cards and make sure you add them into to your daily lessons.
Soon you will be able to understand the whole article!
4 – Look at the daily words you have encountered and learned (above) and give yourself a weekly quiz!
D – As you improve, set monthly goals
1 – Set yourself to read – and essentially (not every single word)
First, a chapter of a book, then later
An entire book
2 – Watch an entire DVD until you can enjoy it without referring to your native language.
This does not mean you need to understand every word, but that you understand it enough to enjoy it – even if there were not native language version of it!
For more, look at “Monthly“.
E – Semi-annual or annual goals
You can take certification courses or exams – many of them online and very affordable.
For example, if you are a real beginner, you can set yourself the goal of “Advance Beginner” (A2 level) or “Intermediate” (B1 – B2) within 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.
My 17-Minute Languages courses also track my progress and provides certification once I have reached certain levels.
I have earned B2 certification for Spanish and “Basic Skills” for Turkish.
I will be updating this page as I review and incorporate other tools, but you can review the other pages for other tools and ideas:
+ All pages under and including “Have a Plan”.
+ All pages under and including “Learning Day-to-Day”
+ All pages under and including “Self Study”