PeterMollenburg wrote:So if it cannot be shortened, where's the 'cut off' between efficiency and time wasting? Let's say that our target is C1 in three languages. Is it more efficient to study three languages a day for one hour each until the goals are reached or one language at a time for three hours each?
What are your thoughts or experience(s) on the most efficient ways of reaching these advanced levels in several languages?
I don't think there is a certain way you can go about learning a language. Each person has a different definition of what they consider efficient. That's not a bad thing.
But, speaking technically, spending three hours on one language a day will get you farther than a simple mix of three a day. I've been able to pull off progress in studying multiple languages through the years, but it's only through my wit and skills. If we averaged this out to a grander set of the population, most people would need that longer time to accomplish what they needed to do.
And this is not me saying I'm particularly smart--quite the contrary, actually. I do most things by feel and mess up quite often. I'm just lucky.
I agree myself that studying a certain amount of languages handpicked by the learner for a set time per day is agreeable to most people's ideals. As you mentioned three, I think that is the max that should be studied per diem. But if anyone knows me, they know I'm able to cram up to 5 or 6 in one day. Efficiency goes down if the ability to learn and infer is not developed.
I developed my skills in inference as a teen and have worked on them tirelessly since, so I can study in short bursts and take long breaks from a particular language without suffering major setbacks. I think short bursts are more effective anyway for a lot of people, for a few reasons.
- Many people prefer instant gratification, and this doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing (you might just be excited to see results)
- Most people learn with details, facts, and memorization as opposed to global thinking and utilizing this system of learning can overload a person
I'm a natural doer, and I like to see my goals come to fruition. So I like small doses, as well. But if there is background learning to be done, such as listening to a podcast, audiobook, or music, I'm ready to go because I understand that learning doesn't just stop at the textbook.
There is no such thing as "time wasting" as long as you realize that any target language material can be made into target language activities to study with. And if you realize you have a goal, such as becoming C1, you should put your foot forward and keep walking until you reach it. You do that by immersing, almost drowning, yourself in target language content.
If you have time to waste, you're probably not studying.
Studying is the key.