Why are you learning the language?
This seemingly simple question can help you on your language mission by figuring out what to focus on.To best reach success in your language learning one of the first things you need to figure out exactly what you want to achieve.
Do you want to travel and be able to check into hotels and find your way around? If so, you could probably skip a lot of the grammar practice. Focus on the sorts of sentences in phrasebooks first off.
Do you want to be able to speak conversationally with friends? Then you shouldn’t spend too much time focussing on your formal writing. You’ll probably want to become comfortable using slang and a less formal style of the language.
Do you want to be able to speak to your in laws in their native tongue? Then you should learn any formalities that language may have!
By figuring out what you’re trying to do with the language, you can find the best way to do it. You won’t be wasting time learning things that won’t benefit you and you can use the time you have available in the best way possible. If later you discover other paths you want to focus on, you’ll already have an understanding of a particular ‘section’ of the language. You can then build upon that as you need to.
But in the beginning, there’s no point spreading yourself too thin. Focus on what’s most important to you. It won’t be what’s most important to everyone else. But it doesn’t need to be. Ask yourself this question and you’ll be doing yourself a favour. I think it’s important to remember that not everyone needs to know everything. That doesn’t make you less smart or anything. It means you know what you’re after, and you’re doing what you need to achieve it.
So, why did you start learning a new language?