My Current Language Routine

Lately, I feel like I’ve really settled into a nice language routine. I’ve never had a proper routine in the past, but as I’m feeling more focused and motivated to study languages this year, I’ve found it very helpful to have a defined routine with habits that I can check off a list. Right now, I am focusing on two target languages: Spanish and Korean. If you want to know more about how I am juggling two languages at the moment, keep reading!

Every day, I try to work on both of my target languages, even if just for a few minutes. Thankfully, I’ve been sticking to my habits pretty well and studying for much longer than that each day. I like to start off my day by using some language apps on my phone because it’s much more convenient than booting up the computer or getting out a textbook and pens. While I have studied Korean on Duolingo in the past, right now I am using Duolingo to only study Spanish. After Duolingo, I move on to a Korean vocabulary app called Tobo. At some point in the afternoon, I will then go to the computer and study Spanish using Busuu. Busuu also has a mobile app which I use from time to time, but I prefer the experience of studying Busuu on their website. Finally, I’ll finish off my day by studying with a textbook, Korean Made Easy – Vocabulary. I have the audio files saved on the computer, so it’s easy to continue studying at my desk after finishing with Busuu.

Below, I’ll explain a bit more about how I utilize each resource and how much I try to accomplish each day.

Duolingo (Spanish)

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Duolingo and how it works. They offer bite-sized lessons for a wide variety of languages. Not all of their courses are created equally, but they seem to have put a lot of effort into developing their Spanish course since it’s such a popular language. For Spanish, they of course have the standard lessons, but they also offer Stories and podcasts as well.

In general, I enjoy using Duolingo and with Spanish, I never skip any speaking or listening exercises, even though I feel silly at times. I also try to maintain a cascading tree. What that means is, I will always level up lessons in the same row in a cascading manner, meaning the topmost row will be at level 5 (gold), and then I’ll level up the next row to level 4 (orange), then 3 (red), then 2 (green), then 1 (blue), and finally just “unlocked” (purple). So you’ll never see my levels jumbled like they are in the image on the left. πŸ˜‚

Once I have a tree that cascades down all the levels properly, then I will move back up to where my level 4s are and turn them into 5s and so forth, gradually moving down the tree again. It’s kind of a convoluted process to explain, but in practice, it is very easy to maintain.

My beautiful rainbow tree

How This Fits Into My Routine:

I use Duolingo every single day, weekends included, in order to maintain my streak. (I’m currently at 548 days! Woohoo!)

I set my daily XP goal to the highest setting, 50 XP, so I will do lessons in the regular course until I hit 50 XP and unlock the gem rewards for the day. Then, I will go back and do any “broken” lessons – lessons which are due for review. I’ve also started working on Stories because I’ve been neglecting them for a long time, but I don’t consider it a mandatory part of my daily routine.

If I do all of these activities, I’ll end up with a few hundred XP in a day. It depends on how much I choose to do, how many lessons need to be reviewed, and if Duolingo is offering double XP in that moment.

Daily gem reward
“Broken” lessons for review

Here is my invite link to try one week free of Duolingo Plus!

Tobo App (Korean)

After I finish my lessons on Duolingo, I move on to another app that I keep on my phone called Tobo: Learn Korean Vocabulary. This is a flashcard app that has 70 lessons containing 50 words each. The words are not categorized and are often very random. That might bother some people, but I don’t mind at all. In fact, sometimes I think it’s helpful to try to recall unrelated words rather than relying on other similar words to give you a clue as to what it might mean.

The words are first introduced with flashcards that you swipe left or right depending on if you know it or not. I often encounter words I already know and those are easy to swipe through. When a more difficult word comes out, I will send it back to the deck to test myself again. I do this over and over until I’m finally able to identify the word on my own. Sometimes it’s a really frustrating process when I just can’t remember a new word, even though I just saw it ten seconds ago!

There are also several ways to review words. They have a flashcard review where you determine how well you know each word (easy, medium, hard, or very hard), a multiple-choice review (pictured below), and a game called “Fallee,” where three (sometimes four) words slowly fall down and you have to select the correct one before it reaches the bottom.

How This Fits Into My Routine:

Monday through Friday, I will learn one new deck by using just the flashcards. Today is Wednesday and I’m currently on Lesson 48. By Friday, I’ll have finished studying the flashcards from Lesson 50. In one week, that’s 250 words.

On Saturday, I will play Fallee for the five lessons I learned during the week. Since it’s a three-answer multiple-choice game and the levels correspond to the lessons, it’s a bit easier to find the right answers. Also, when you fail and restart, the words come out in the same order so it’s easier to memorize them.

Then on Sunday, I will do the multiple-choice review which presents four possible answers for each word. Plus, the words come out in random order and are mixed with words from other lessons so it’s a little more challenging to recall the answers.

I haven’t been using the flashcard method to review but it seems like a really good way to study. I’m definitely going to use that function after I complete Lesson 70 to keep reviewing until I know all of the words.

You can download this app for iOs and Android.

Busuu (Spanish)

Busuu is a language learning platform that offers courses in a variety of languages. They have the most common European languages, but they also offer some east Asian languages as well, which is an impressive feature. Along with their main courses, Busuu also has a community feature where you can get (and give) corrections from native speakers on your speaking and writing exercises. As you learn new words and grammar points, they accumulate in the review section. One strange thing to note, however, is that you can only review grammar on the mobile app. I’m not sure why the mobile app is more built out than the actual website.

Similar to Duolingo, not all language courses are created equal, but the Spanish course seems to be quite robust. They have their main course content, Spanish for Travel, a course based on news articles and clips, as well as a Spanish podcast.

I am currently subscribed to the Premium Plus plan, so I have access to more content and activity types than free users. I signed up when they gave a great discount at the start of the pandemic which is how I could afford it. I think under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have paid for a subscription service. Since I am subscribed at a discounted rate for the next year, I am trying my best to take advantage of my access to Busuu while I have it.

Last year, I completed the A1 Level course and am currently working my way through the A2 Level course.

How This Fits Into My Routine:

Monday through Friday, I try to do two Busuu lessons a day, for a total of 10 lessons in a week.

When I first signed up for Busuu I took the level test, which automatically completed a bunch of lessons for me, but I still wanted to start from the beginning. I used my Notion to keep track of which lessons I had completed so far, but now that I have surpassed my original level, it’s a bit redundant. I do still enjoy checking off the boxes, though.

On Busuu, you can set a study time goal (mine is currently set to 30 minutes per day), but I’m not concerned with hitting it. As long as I complete two lessons per weekday, I’m satisfied.

Notion, where I keep track of lessons I’ve completed.

Korean Made Easy – Vocabulary

Korean Made Easy – Vocabulary is a part of the Korean Made Easy series published by Darakwon. I received this textbook second-hand from a friend. In fact, I think she also got it second-hand from the teacher who lived in her apartment before her. I think I’ve had this book on my shelf for at least 4 or 5 years, but I never made the time to study with it until now. Since one of my goals this year is to complete four Korean textbooks, I thought doing some basic vocabulary lessons would be a good way to get my feet wet.

The book is broken up into three parts, each more complex than the previous part. I’ve only started using this book recently, but it seems like the first section will be quite easy. It covers a lot of basic topics like numbers, dates, telling time, weather, etc. However, I don’t recommend this book for absolute beginners because it seems to assume prior knowledge of Hangul and Korean culture. You might need a Korean friend or a study buddy to help you get through this book if you have never studied Korean before.

How This Fits Into My Routine:

Like with Busuu, I try to complete two lessons a day, Monday through Friday, so 10 in a week. Sometimes we are busy or on the go during the weekends, so it’s not always feasible to sit down at the desk/computer for a study session.

As I mentioned, I’m currently working my way through Part 1, where the lessons are rather short and fairly easy. So for now, completing two lessons a day is an easy goal to accomplish.

I use a blue pen to write my answers in the book, and then I check the answer key in the back of the book and mark my work with a red pen. I use the Korean way of marking my answers by circling every correct answer with a red circle. My students taught me that one – they would get really disappointed if I DIDN’T mark up all their correct answers with a red pen, and now I like to see the red circles on the page, too. πŸ˜‚

Even though it feels a little unnecessary, I do all of the speaking exercises recommended in the book as I go.

What do you think of this study routine? I am really pleased with how it’s going so far! I like that I am able to engage with two different languages at the same time by using different methods and resources. And keeping my study load lighter for the weekends is great for staying engaged in the languages but also giving me a bit of respite.

Do you have a study routine? What languages are you studying or thinking of studying soon? Let me know in the comments. ^-^

Thanks for reading!

7 thoughts on “My Current Language Routine

  1. After years of thinking of red circles on a test sheet meant incorrect answers in the US, I was amazed at how quickly my brain adapted to the “red circle = correct” system in Korea haha. You’d think my native culture would be more ingrained into my brain, but nope!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, you’re doing great! Your routine is very neat and it seems to be working well for you. As a former language teacher (Portuguese and English) I would also encourage you to watch both shows and movies you already know using Korean and Spanish subtitles. You’ll hear the words in your native language and see them written and spelled in the languages you are learning. Another tip is that you should start by reading children’s books and then progress to more complex literature as you learn. I’ve used both duolingo and busuu and they’re both really good. I really want to go back to learning languages as well. I picked up both Italian and German in college, studied them for a couple of semesters and then gave up. I can understand and read both Spanish and French but I can’t speak either, which is a pity. You’ve inspired me to download duolingo and start again, though. Sorry for the huge comment lol languages excite me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was also an English teacher! Lots in common 😊

      The tip about subtitles is a good one! My husband is Korean so any time we watch an English movie or TV show we use Korean subtitles for him and I think I also learn a bit that way. I even leave them on when I’m watching alone! I’m so used to them now. πŸ˜‚

      I get lots of daily exposure to Korean (I live in Korea) but I really need to work on my reading skills, so I’ve started reading Korean pregnancy/baby books (trying to kill two birds with one stone lol). A bit of a struggle, but I’m trying my best!

      And no worries on the long comment! I like them ^-^ and fellow language lovers are always welcome here!


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