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How to Experience Language Immersion at Home

Olivia Vella

Posted on June 28, 2020 01:37

3 users

As a student pursuing a minor in a foreign language, I struggled particularly with my foreign language class when my university converted to online classes. In order to continue learning as best as I could given that the class was no longer having conversations, I tried to immerse myself in the language as best as I could. If you are trying to learn a language but struggling to progress, here is my advice as a foreign language student.

1. Try Babbel. Using Duolingo, which is free, can be tempting, but I've found that Babbel is a lot more instructive and useful. One distinction is that Babbel focuses on one theme at a time, while Duolingo randomly throws words like "apple" and "dog" at you. It's also much more rewarding to use Babbel, because you are progressing through vocabulary, while Duolingo makes you repeat lessons five times to complete it. While using the app, I recommend reading the words aloud to practice pronunciation and develop muscle memory.

2. Watch TV in the foreign language. If you have Netflix, Netflix originals are dubbed in a (small) variety of European languages, including Spanish, Italian, French, and German. Another trick to access TV in the foreign language is to download a VPN that provides you access to a server in the country whose language you're trying to learn. You will likely be able to watch shows and movies originally produced in that country that you would not have been able to access otherwise. You can also use the VPN to access other streaming services from that country. I, for example, am learning Italian, and with my VPN I can access RaiPlay, which provides me with live TV, Italian originals, and more shows dubbed in Italian.

3. If you can't find or access TV in the foreign language you are learning, I recommend you research some Youtubers from the respective country. They can be harder to track down, but finding lifestyle Youtubers or even people who talk about things you're not interested in can help you learn more colloquialisms and also learn more about the culture! Both for this tip and for the previous one, I recommend keeping a notebook to write down words you are learning with the translations. It can also be helpful to construct sentences with those words afterwards.

4. Read in that language! And annotate. Annotating in the margins of your book can feel sacrilegious, but the motion of writing is important to learning new vocabulary. And if you want to reread the book, the words are right there! Just remember to keep a dictionary or dictionary app close by.

5. Lastly, engage in a language exchange. Language exchanges occur when two people want to learn each other’s native language. These exchanges can be casual, worked around your schedule, and best of all, free! I recommend iTalki.com, which will also connect you with discussion boards and a language-learning community!

Language learning doesn’t have to be limited to classrooms and exercise books. You can learn languages by watching TV, having conversations, and passing time on your phone on the subway!

Olivia Vella

Posted on June 28, 2020 01:37

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Source: RT
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