Lesson Transcript

Immersion is often hailed as the most efficient and effective way to learn a foreign language. In many ways it’s true. With all the language learning methods out there nothing else comes close to having to think and interact with your environment in the language you’re learning.
Unfortunately though, most language learners wrongly assume that the only way to experience language immersion is to pack up and move to a foreign country. But not everyone can afford to spend a summer abroad just to learn a foreign language.
Luckily, there are other ways to immerse yourself.
These methods are less obvious, but they are effective. In this video we take a look at five steps you can take for the ultimate language immersion experience at home.
Number 1, Transform your digital World into your target language
Technology is an indispensable part of modern life. We interact with phones, computers, tablets, and other electronic devices throughout the day. Why not take these interactions and use them to practice your target language? Most devices give you the option of switching the language of the operating system.
Switching your phone or laptop interface to your target language won’t make you fluent, but it will help you engage with the language in a very practical way multiple times, every day.
Another way to transform your digital life is to check which sites you use on a daily basis, and use them in your target language also. A great example of this is switching your version of Google. This version of Google will allow you to search in for things in your target language and is more likely to give results in the language as well.
So if you are looking for a popular band, show or food that is usually written in your target language, it will actually be easier to find using the switched version of Google.
Of course, You can also change popular social networks like Facebook or twitter. You can even go to news sites for your fill of global news. Do you like podcasts? Try listening to a couple popular podcasts in your target language.
Number 2, Write out a speech or conversation in your target language
A surefire way to increase your ability in a foreign language is to write out a mock conversation or speech in that language. Pretend you have to give a speech on one of your favorite topics, it could be anything from sports, hobbies, or even your favorite movie genre. Now take some time to write out your fictitious speech. Inevitably you will hit some roadblocks, but when you get stuck, research the words or grammar points you don’t know. This is a highly effective and practical way to increase your vocabulary, and it will help you practice thinking in a different language.
Writing a long connected train of thoughts exposes the gaps and weaknesses in your language studying. Once you know what these are, you are free to practice them and use them to continue on with your speech.
This is also a great way to learn new words in the context of your entire speech. Context is king when you’re learning a language. Learning words in the context of other words and sentences helps you surmise what new words mean. It also helps you get comfortable with how these words are practically used. Not to mention context helps you remember and recall new information more easily.
Number 3, Practice with native speakers
There are a lot of great learning resources out for anyone learning a new language. However nothing quite comes close to practicing the language with a real person. If you live in or around a large metropolitan area there’s a chance that there are some native speakers nearby.
Check and see if your area has any local language exchanges or language speaking groups. You’re likely to find a native speaker there.
If you can’t make a connection locally you can search online. Just as there are language exchanges in the real world, there are also online ones, most of which are free.
Number 4, Connect with other language learners
Native speakers aren’t the only people who can aid you on your language learning journey. Practicing with other learners is also helpful. Don’t worry if you practice with someone who has a higher or lower level in the language than you.
If you’re the more advanced learner you can learn a lot by teaching someone else.
As you help someone else understand difficult words or grammatical concepts you’ll find that you start to better understand them yourself. If your learning partner has a higher level, they can be the one to help you overcome the hurdles you encounter as a beginner. After all what better way to learn than from someone who, as a language learner, has been in your shoes?
Number 5, Reward yourself in your target language
At the end of a busy day we all love a little relaxation and me-time. One of the most enjoyable and effective ways to develop your language skills is to kick back and enjoy the language while doing leisure activities.
Whether it’s listening to music, watching a movie or tv show, reading a book, or even enjoying a good online video binge, even spending just an extra thirty minutes a day doing something you love in your target language can yield some serious long term results.
If you’re a beginner start with more basic content. You might have to start out listening to simple songs or even watching children’s shows. After awhile though you’ll be able to dive into the meatier and more engaging stuff as your proficiency increases.
Learning a foreign language doesn’t mean you have to spend your days straining over grammar rules or textbooks. Any way that you can take your learning off the page and make it more enjoyable will help you learn faster.
Immersion is a powerful way to learn a foreign language, and now more than ever the immersion experience isn’t limited to just world travelers.
With a little creativity and the right resources, you can experience the language without ever having to leave your hometown!
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