If you’ve decided that 2022 is the year that you’re finally going to get round to learning that second language you’ve always wanted to, or you’d like to gain some proficiency ready for a trip abroad, or maybe are keen to add another language to your resume, then you might be wondering how best to get started.
As well as a host of in-person or online study options, there are other approaches now available. Below, we take a look at immersive learning techniques, which have proved to be the most effective – not to mention fun -way to learn a new language!
Immerse Yourself In Language
The immersive method involves building hearing, reading, writing, and speaking the new language into your daily life; surrounding yourself with the language in this way can help you to not only build up your vocabulary and conversational skills but also helps you become familiar with the general tone and flow of the language, as well as its accent and pronunciation. This method has been shown to not only speed up the learning process but to promote confidence in speaking skills. A recent study concluded that, after time spent viewing a tv show in another language, the viewers’ listening skills in this language were improved, and they had effectively acquired a significant amount of new vocabulary.
Immersive learning techniques can be used either to complement your online or in-person study or can be used as a stand-alone method, depending on your learning goals and preferences.
Incorporating Immersive Learning Technique Into Your Day
Immersing yourself in a new language is easier than you think! You could start by changing the settings on your phone to the new language. You could also subscribe to a newspaper or a magazine in the target language, or try browsing some websites or news sites from the country in which the new language is spoken.
Other ideas include listening to music in Spanish, for example, if this is the tongue you wish to learn, or relabelling food packets and tins in your kitchen cupboard in French. Team up with other students and commit to sending each other an email every day, which is written entirely in the target language, or meet up once a week for a discussion entirely in the new language.
You can also learn a language by watching TV – which is one of the most popular ways to gain proficiency fast! Sounds too good to be true? Read on for how this works and just why it’s so effective.
How Watching TV Can Help You Learn a New Language
Relaxing in front of a specially subtitled TV series or movie is a great way to easily get to grips with a new language. Watching a binge-worthy show will allow you to encounter authentic conversations and pick up loads of new vocabulary. It also offers plenty of opportunities to hear various dialects in terms of the target language and to get a sense of real-world accents and pronunciation.
Crucially, learning in this way is fun! It’s a great method to maintain motivation: learners are unlikely to ever get jaded with their ‘studying’ when they’re in the middle of a mustn’t-miss box set. It can also help to consolidate online or class-based learning, giving learners the chance to practice listening to some of the phrases and vocab they’ve studied.
As a way to polish up partly forgotten language skills before a trip abroad, watching subtitled tv is a great idea: simply immersing yourself in a couple of shows every night for a period of time before you jet off can help to bring your skills back up to speed.
How to Decide Which Language to Learn?
If you want to learn a new language but are undecided which one to choose, then you might be thinking about which would be the most useful to have on your resume perhaps, or wondering what is the easiest language to learn. Maybe you’re also thinking about specific dialects; for example, the Spanish spoken in Mexico is pretty different from that spoken in Spain itself.
When it comes to picking a language, there is certainly no lack of choice. If you’re thinking about adding a language skill to your career bow, then Spanish is likely to be a great selection; it’s one of the fastest-growing second languages being learned in the world right now; plus, it’s second only to Chinese as the most spoken language in the world. With the rise of businesses in South America and their expansion into markets in the US and beyond, learning this language could be a very savvy move indeed.
In terms of the easiest language to learn, this is trickier to determine as its largely objective. Norwegian and Swedish are widely believed to pose the least problems for native English speakers due to the shared ancestry of these three tongues.
However, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian are all Romance languages – they all derive from the Vulgar Latin spoken by invading armies from Ancient Rome – meaning that they have many similarities in common; if you have some knowledge of any of these languages, then gaining proficiency in another of them will usually be relatively easy. So, why stop at acquiring one additional language!
While it may be difficult to determine which language is the easiest to learn, what is for certain is that watching subtitled tv is a great way to pick up the linguistic skills you want.
There are many options when it comes to getting started learning a new language. Have a look at relevant online prospectus or college websites; browse evening learning opportunities or virtual courses. Your preferred style of learning and your lifestyle and commitments will play major roles in deciding the right route for you.
Take matters into your own hands by trying out some of the immersive techniques listed above, either to support your course study or as a way to learn in their own right. You may be surprised at just how quickly the immersive method boosts your learning and the speed with which you gain proficiency – not to mention the entertainment you’ll enjoy along the way!