Keeping a Language Learning Log

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been keeping a language log at the forums. I’ve found it to be a wonderful help, both in keeping myself motivated, and in (obviously) keeping track of what exactly I’m doing in my language studies.

It helps my motivation, as it’s a nice feeling to sit down and document what I’ve done throughout the day. It makes my little study sessions of 15 or 20 minutes seem more substantial, when I’m able to line them all up together, and see that I’ve put in 2 or more hours in throughout the day. While this isn’t always the case – sometimes I’m doing good to total half an hour! – often, it is the case, and when it happens, I’m happy to see it.

And, as the more obvious benefit of keeping a language learning log, it helps me keep track of what I’m doing and stay on track. Particularly when you’re tackling multiple languages simultaneously, it’s easy to get lost as to what you’ve done, and what you still need to do. Did I review chapter 4 of my Russian textbook? When was the last time I reviewed that French Assimil lesson? Have I covered this tense at all, or do I need to hit the grammar book?

As an extended benefit, the log has helped me focus on consistently hitting new material for my languages. In the past, I’ve fallen into the trap of sticking to one thing for too long, aiming for complete mastery before moving along. While some people are capable of doing this, I’ve found that I prefer to learn a lot of new material, and then consolidate the knowledge as I go along. Staring for days on end at one tense or declension generally just bores me to tears, which hinders learning.

If you’ve not kept a language log before, do try it; it might help you. Geoff has also written about keeping a language journal, so if you’re thinking of keeping one, you should certainly check out his method as well.

By |2008-11-11T17:35:40+00:00November 11th, 2008|All Entries, Language Learning, Learning Methods, Learning Tips|9 Comments


  1. Damon Lord November 11, 2008 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    I might check this out, the language journal idea. I’m currently thinking about trying out Spanish, and setting a time limit to study it, and this perhaps would be an effective way to monitor progress.

  2. Josh November 11, 2008 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    Indeed, it’s a great way to keep an eye on exactly what you’re doing, as opposed to what you think you did three months ago when starting that second language (or whatever).

  3. Mohamed Idris November 24, 2008 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    It’s a good idea, especially in terms of motivation. Perhaps it would be greater to keep a language log in the target language. It can be more motivating.

  4. Bruce Dumes November 26, 2008 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    I started keeping a “learning Russian” blog a short while back. Mostly it is a living diary for me, but I’m hoping others may find it useful as well. Please take a look!

  5. anka December 3, 2008 at 8:18 am - Reply

    check this out and
    have fun

  6. Josh December 4, 2008 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Bruce: Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

    Anka: Thanks! Looks like there’s some interesting stuff there.

  7. Catherine December 14, 2008 at 7:06 am - Reply

    Thanks for the excellent idea! Keeping a language learning log is exactly what I need to start the New Year.

    I wonder how easy it’d be to put a language learning calender on my blog instead of posting the log on a forum or even on a dedicated blog post or page?

    I played around with a page this afternoon and it got real long real fast.

    Off to google…

  8. […] keep a Language Learning Log, or even a Thai language […]

  9. […] a journal has been proven to be effective for many however in our experience and testing, with children it is particularly important to give them the […]

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