How to learn languages faster if you have 3 hrs/day?

Hello all, For those of us who have more than 30 minutes a day to learn a language (more like 2-3 hours), what else can we do to learn our target language faster? Currently I'm learning Spanish and ideally want to become conversationally fluent in 90-120 days before a trip to South America. I am doing over 50 new cards a day on the pronunciation trainers (plus reviews) and making my 625 words list but didn't know if there is anything else I should be focusing on since the flashcards go by within 30-45 minutes. Any tips would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

* Originally posted by brent_f.

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6 comments

  • I'm interested in this as well, great question, I'm just winding down on my pronunciation trainer and am getting geared up to do my 625 words. I took my time with pronunciation because it included spelling which as a dyslexic I had some issues with, but now I want to feed my brain a bit quicker even if that means I have to spend 4 hours a day studying.

    There has to be settings in Anki to change, but I'm afraid to fiddle with something that then makes me have to reset the whole deck. Thanks for asking this Brent f and thanks in advance for any responses.

    * Originally posted by LetsPlayThisBro.
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  • In my experience, 60 new cards per day seems to be my level of tolerance. For example, if I had 3 hours per day, I would use Anki for 1 hour and then have conversations on iTalki.com for 2 hours. This costs money but in 90-120 days, assuming you continue to add new words to Anki, you can reach a very high level in Spanish, certainly a B2 level.

    I have been doing basically what I described with Russian since January and I now have reached approximately a B2 level. Of course, the reviews for Russian take an hour whereas, you say, it takes you ~30 mins for Spanish. In this case, you can maybe try 70 new cards per day which would get you up to around an hour daily after your reviews catch up to the new card number.

    So, in sum, try and spend an hour with Anki and 2 hours in conversation daily and I am certain you will achieve your goal of conversationally fluent in 90-120 days.

    * Originally posted by msmclaugh.
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  • @msmclaugh

    thanks for the response! I didn't know if speaking at the start would be a good idea since it wasn't recommended but I will definitely do that.

    Do you recommend any particular format when starting to speak such as starting in basic hello, how are you, etc. or did u just follow a plan that a tutor (such as on italki) gave you to follow?

    * Originally posted by brent_f.
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  • I started speaking Russian after about a week. When I did not know a word, during the conversations, I wrote it down (in English) and would use this list to make my flashcards. After about a month, I had learned all of the words I, personally, use in conversation and I moved on to a frequency list. From time to time, I made grammar cards for the cases during this whole process but never at one time. For example, I learned the genitive case because I found myself often saying (for something, for him, for her, etc.) and this takes the genitive. You can do this for first-person conjugatations (yo hablo, yo pienso, yo debo, etc.)

    So I did not follow the book exactly in terms of the step-by-step process but I think this is fine as long as you consider the general truisms that Gabriel presents: no English on your cards, massive exposure to the target language without recourse to subtitles/translations (conversations are great for this), and learn the words which are more useful first. Indeed, I did not learn words like "mailbox" or "shrimp" until very recently because: A. they never occur in conversation and B. they are low frequency.

    Thus, I advise you to simply use tutors to practice the language you are learning and also for daily comprehensible exposure in an no-English environment.

    * Originally posted by msmclaugh.
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  • Makes sense. I just signed up with a few teachers on italki to find one that I work with best. Good idea taking his general principles and applying them if you have more time. Hopefully I achieve in my language as you did in Russian!

    * Originally posted by brent_f.
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  • Not much to add! I also have a tolerance for a maximum of 60 new cards a day (and that's really pushing it for me). If I have extra time, I've seen some value in going back through my deck in the browser and adding mnemonics (with pictures from google images) to new cards coming up or old cards that I've had trouble remembering. Chatting on iTalki is definitely valuable, though my tendency is to want to create material for Anki out of those conversations to maximize efficiency, but there's only so much time in a day/week and so even if I had all the free time I'd want to have, I'd hit my 60 new cards/day cap with just two hours of iTalki stuff per week.

    * Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.
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