Learn 1,000 Words in 30 Days

Korean Dictionary by Bittegitte

Is it possible to learn 1,000 new words in 30 days?

Being fairly well invested at this point in our challenge to learn to speak Korean in six months, we’ve decided to toss another minor challenge on top of it.

Learning 1,000 new words in Korean in 30 days

The motivation for this is simple, I just don’t feel our vocabulary is progressing quite as quickly as I would like it to for meeting our 6 month challenge. I’m also finding that in many cases our vocabulary is the limiting factor in the speed of progress in other areas of practice. I figure the best way to fix this is by learning the 1,000 most common words in Korean.

Why the 1,000 most common? Well, like I’ve said before, the 80/20 rule applies to language too. By focusing on the most common 1,000 words we’ll be taking the most efficient route and learning the stuff we’re most likely to need to know first.

Why in 30 days? Well, for two reasons to be honest. The first reason is that we’re on a constrained timeline. Our goal is to speak Korean in six months, if we take four months to learn those thousand words, we’re not going to be able to make as much total progress. The second reason is because it’s a challenge. 1,000 words in 30 days probably sounds crazy to most people (a lot like learning a language in 6 months probably does), which is a perfectly good reason to see if we can pull it off.

How are we going to go about it? The first step is finding a listing of the 1,000 most common Korean words. That part is easy, a quick Google search has given me this one which is likely what we’ll use.

With our list in hand, the next step is to divide and conquer. A quick bit of math reveals that 1,000 words divided into 30 days comes down to 33.3 words per day. Since I have no interest in learning 1/3rd of a word everyday, I’m going to round that up to 34 words per day.

I do realize that at 34 words per day we can actually learn 1,000 words in 29 days, but I’m going to assume we’ll need that extra day for review anyway.

Everyday we will tackle the next 34 words using all of the memorization hacks we have available to us, from SRS systems like Anki to good old-fashioned memory hooks. If, by the end of the day, we haven’t learned all 34 words then I’m not going to worry about it too much. The most wonderful part of this challenge is even if we have a dismal 50% success rate, we’ll still have learned 500 of the most common Korean words – an accomplishment I would be proud of on its own.

Anyone else want to try to learn 1,000 words in 30 days?

Adam is a former English teacher turned personal trainer and writer. He’s addicted to learning, parkour and martial arts. In addition to being a voracious bibliophile Adam’s fascinated by anything related to health, fitness and language. When not studying or training he can usually be found curled up with a good piece of fiction. You can e-mail Adam at Adam@RoadtoEpic.com