10,000 Words a Day Challenge

10,000 words a day – seriously?

Personally, I try to aim for 10,000 steps daily and I have been doing this since April 2016.
10,000 steps per day are the amount recommended by doctors for the benefit of your physical and mental well-being. Recently, my step counter flashed 10,000 steps at me and I had a crazy idea about applying the 10,000 mark to my language learning!

What Language?

My maternal grandfather could speak German we thought it was because he was taken German Prisoner of War during WII. We later discovered his grandmother Augusta may have actually been the reason for his fluency – she was German! My father can also speak some German, but this was for business. With the whole Brexit malarky going on learning German does seem like a sensible choice.
So  I am going to expose myself to approximately 10,000 words of spoken and written German – daily. I am just going to take it 7 days at a time for the next 28 days. Although I’ll allow myself a break over the weekends. Time to recharge, chill out and let my brain process all this new information.

Why introduce 10,000 words into my study routine?

The exposure to the sheer volume of words – over 28 days that is 280,000 words! As babies, we are subjected to the raw workings of a language. The way we are taught to learn languages at school is very different to the natural acquisition that our brains prefer.  Although 10,000 words sound a lot this is actually a very realistic target that isn’t as hard as it sounds! I have done some research and on average, for a film in every 100 minutes, there are approximately 10,000 words (unless it’s a silent movie). So just one film could get me to that target. It means approximately an hour and a half – two hours of study per-day which is slightly above my usual 45 minutes of study.

Personal Goal

I am a complete beginner in German but hope to be able to have a basic conversation for about 10-15 minutes with a native speaker in about 3 months time. I will be using my PDF 28DayLanguagePlanner to help me achieve this goal.

The Language Challenge

I’m going to read or listen to at least 10,000 words every day!

I am not going to count every single word, but I have done some basic research and found that…

  • The average 100-minute film contains approximately 10,000 – 12.000 words.
  • A television show has about 2000-3000 words per episode. For those wishing to do this challenge, but in Spanish, there was recently a Fear the Walking Dead episode shot in Spanish (almost enough to sway me to do this challenge in Spanish)!
  • A blog post can vary but on average there are 1000 plus words.
  • Radio or podcasts tend to have about 1000-1500 every 10-15 minutes.
  • The average song will have 200 plus words.
  • A page of a book can have anything between 180-250 words – I have been known to read a whole book (or even 2) in a day!

The Language Plan

So with the stats in mind…

Watching an hour and a half of TV shows via box set, reading a few blog posts in German and maybe some Memrise or Duolingo activities to round things up.


Listening to music for an hour or so and then listening to some podcasts and read a few chapters of a book.

Watching a full-length movie.


…or basically any combination that adds up to approximately 10,000 words.

I am really looking forward to seeing how this challenge works out. If you have any recommendations for German blogs, books, TV shows or movies please let me know in the comments section below. You can also follow my progress on Twitter and my Facebook Page. If you would also like to give this ago please get in contact…

I look forward to reading about your progress, especially if it’s written in German!

Let’s do this language Learning Challenge together …

You can follow my progress here:

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The Mindful Language Learner

Trisha, is the founder of Language Learners Journal.com. An award-winning blog dedicated to empowering and promoting a more mindful approach to independent language learning and teaching across the UK and beyond. Trisha has a professional and academic background in psychology and well-being. She has been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years and has professionally taught CBT-based mindfulness for the past 7 years. You can follow Trisha on her official Facebook Page, Instagram or Twitter accounts to discover how to apply simply mindfulness practices and scientifically proven strategies to your language learning...