Although language is not an overnight kind of beast, it’s definitely possible to make small improvements that will ultimately lead to reaching big milestones. By following these six painless and extremely effective steps, you can really jumpstart your language learning process in just 24 hours.
Lately I have been talking to a lot of people about vocabulary and memorization and how hard it can be for us to really solidify everything in a painless way. Personally, I suck at both of those aspects of language learning.
But somehow, I survived thus far. How? Well, I just kept going. But there are also quite a few methods behind my madness. Although I really despise rote memorization or really anything to do with flash cards, I have found very effective ways to keep a good memory of the language I learn, and they probably take just as much time.
But hey, it’s easier on my brain, so I’m not complaining.
This six-step method I am about to share with you is something that I came up with when I was freaking out about meeting my Korean teacher for lunch this weekend and having to speak lots of Korean with her after not studying properly for a few months.
I know my language skills aren’t nonexistent, but I also know they aren’t as fresh and clean as they were five months ago.
That being said, I did some digging around my brain to find the best way to have a painless week of cramming in Korean studies whenever I have time, and how to make the most of what I do manage to learn in such a short time.
While digging around, I remembered a method that I used to use all the time when I was studying every day, so that’s what I am going to share with you today.
Note: I am actually writing an ebook on this topic and other memorization methods, tips, and tricks that I have up my sleeve, so if you are interested in keeping up with news on that, sign up for my newsletter!
1. Make time for consistent study.
As I mentioned up there, language isn’t something you can fully learn and master in a short amount of time, so making time every day, at the same time every day, to really sit down and study will help you tons in the long-run.
I really went into details on a great way to figure out where you can make time in your day if you’re a busy person, like the most of us, in this post here, so you can check that out if you want.
But basically, you start off by noting down all your time zappers and free time, figure out what things can be shortened, and then fit in your language study session wherever you see fit.
That being said, please keep in mind that if you try to study at a time when you’re just not in the mood or have zero energy, this will not work. You need to find a time that you are the most productive and study then.
2. Find a Korean video clip and watch it three times.
No, I don’t mean just watch it three times over and voila! We’re done here! I mean, get a video that you can easily access three versions of it: English subbed, Korean subbed, and un-subbed or raw.
You will need these three versions of the video because you will watch the video once in every version.
The order in which you watch them in is totally up to you, but I recommend that you start with English subs, then move onto the raw version, and end with Korean subs. Doing it this way will have you ready for step three.
But remember, you want the video to be short, but not too short and not too long. Around one to five minutes should be good.
You can find Korean drama clips on the KBS YouTube channel and many other channels as well. However, if you’re not really into dramas, that’s fine! Look up your favorite Korean artist’s official YouTube channel and watch one of their vlogs or behind the scenes videos.
So long as it’s something that will keep your attention, go for it!
3. Pick three words from the video, look them up, and then write them down in multiple sentences.
This can get pretty funny if you are super creative and love thinking outside of the box
Once you’ve watched the video and possibly hear their voices in the dead of silence and see their faces when you blink, it’s time to find the three words that caught your attention, look up their definitions, and then write them down.
But don’t write them alone with the meaning ten times over.
Write down the sentence that you found them in and highlight the word so you always know that is the word you were learning.
Try to find two or three sentences from your source, like from the video or from the examples in the dictionary, write those down, and then think up five to seven more sentences on your own.
The reason why I said this can get really funny is because there are no lines you cannot cross with this exercise!
Whatever comes to mind, write it down.
Even if it’s morally incorrect, who’s gonna see?
4. Read all your sentences out loud.
This kind of falls into the rote memorization area that I oh so love to hate. But it works so I actually can’t hate it fully. I can be salty though. And so, I will.
But basically, what you do is, read each sentence out loud to yourself, your mirror, or even your recorder.
Recording yourself is a great way to really improve your pronunciation and get your tongue used to this new language.
Read the sentences as fast as possible, without distorting the words. If you find yourself stumbling over words too much, slow down and start again.
It’s important that you get the sounds of the letters right, not the pronunciation. That will improve over time. What you really should be focusing on right now is that you are sounding every letter out correctly and practicing your speech.
If you do record your voice in this step, leave it for later to judge.
5. Drop it like it’s hot!
Now, you break.
Drop all your studies and walk away for the rest of your day.
Give yourself some time to just let the information sink in and settle. Studying too much for too long will lead to your brain slapping you with fatigue in the next two days.
And uh, we don’t want that.
That will kill motivation AND consistency. Which is never good.
So, after you’ve completed steps one through four, put all your studying materials away and go rest. Live your life, take a walk, watch a movie, eat—Whatever. Just rest.
6. Review it briefly before you end your day for good.
This step is something I realized works really well.
My dad told me not to study before I sleep, which is understandable because I mean, I need to sleep. I’ve also heard before that you should never do something mentally engaging before sleepy hours, especially if you have insomnia.
So, why am I saying to go against these pretty accurate and logical warnings?
Because you won’t be doing enough to mentally strain yourself, but just enough to imprint it on your brain one more time before you go to sleep. This reminds your brain that what you were studying earlier was actually important information.
When I did this, I used to dream about Hangul. It was mental.
But in the end, I still slept like a baby and woke up refreshed and ready to start a new day.
(That’s partially a lie because I used to sleep at three in the morning on a good day…but still, you get the gist. Some days were that great. Others, not so much.)
I still to this day wonder how the actual hell did I survive on three hours of sleep? And can I find that energy again, please?
Anyways. Moving on.
7. Keep learning.
Oh, you thought you were gonna be fluent now? Nope.
Day two is really just the beginning.
But, that’s not to say that all of this was for nothing. You now have successfully retained three new words, ten new sentences, practiced grammar, speech, reading, writing, and listening.
Still think this was a hoax?
Yeah, you won’t be fluent in 24 hours because sadly, that is impossible. But, you have taken one small step closer to your goal of fluency in Korean.
And on top of all that amazing training you did yesterday, there is an extra bonus to this method.
While you were actively studying those words, listening for words that caught your attention, watching the video and reading the subtitles, your brain was documenting anything it deems important.
Passive learning is such an overlooked, yet extremely powerful way to learn a language.
So, the next time you can think a whole sentence in Korean or say a word that you didn’t even study, you owe it to passive learning.
When we were kids, we did this to learn our native language. It doesn’t stop just when we grow up. The only thing different here is that it’s in a different language than our native one.
Take this and keep moving, otherwise it will just be a waste of time.
Use this experience to drive you to keep studying every day. You already have your time blocked out, a goal in mind, and tools to reach it. So, what are you waiting for?
Fluency is a journey with no end, but if you really try, you can reach what you see as your endgame. And with enough drive, you may just surpass that goal and reach an even bigger one you never thought you could.
- Make time for consistent study, every day.
- Find a Korean video clip and watch it three times, first with English subs, second with no subs, third with Korean subs.
- Find three words, look them up, and write them down in sentences.
- Read those sentences out loud and if you’re brave enough, record yourself for later.
- Take a step back and rest for the remainder of your day.k
- Briefly review the words by reading every sentence over once more and looking up any words you forgot the meaning of.
- Keep going. Don’t give up just because you aren’t moving mountains, keep going with the knowledge that one day you will have built one of your own.
Did you find this helpful?
If you did, please share it with those who may need it! Also, once again, I am in the midst of preparing a super detailed ebook on this topic and other memorization
As always, be happy, stay healthy, and keep learning.
Until next time, my fellow Lingo-geek.