Jak na jazyky

Language Immersion for Beginners

Are you a beginner and do you sometimes feel like there is no visible progress in your learning? That you are stuck in one place and the language is getting further and further? Today, I would like to tell you more about language immersion and how you can incorporate it into your study or daily routine and make it more efficient.

What Is It?

When I say language immersion, maybe your first though, if you’ve heard this term already, is going abroad to a country where people speak your target language. Or attending a school where everything is taught in the target language. But that’s not the part I would like to focus on. Today, I am going to speak about the situation when you are home, you may be learning on your own or attending language lessons but you still feel like it’s not enough.

Immersion, in general, is to surround yourself with your target language “as much as possible”. There are variable opinions on this topic as well as variable approaches. From my point of view, it is not something that’s going to help you master the language in a few months but rather than an addition which makes your learning process more effective. These sometimes small activities that you maybe never thought of can easily become part of your day and help you learn not only vocabulary but also studied grammar points and phrases. Let’s look at some examples.

Vocabulary

If it’s hard for you to remember new words, there are some tips on what you can do to “get used to them naturally”. Were you learning days of the week but you still mix them up?Change them in your planner to Czech! What about furniture? You can always use sticky notes with words in Czech and place them on the furniture. Did you recently learn food? Write a grocery list! Or maybe things you ate today. Try to think how you can incorporate the new vocabulary in your daily life.

Listening and Speaking

Do you listen to music? Have you tried to find interprets who sing in your target language? Or maybe you fancy podcasts? Or even films, series are YouTube videos? Perfect! Even though it’s not going to be comprehensible enough for now, the goal here is different. It is to listen to a natural way people speak and to “absorb” the pronunciation. Because there might be sounds in Czech that are a bit difficult from the beginning or two really similar ones you have a problem to distinguish. But for example, trying to learn lyrics from your favourite song could be really useful for you listening and speaking at the same time! And you can also learn a word or two which always counts.

Reading

Now, your mother tongue or another language you have mastered might use a different writing system than Czech. It’s not always easy to get used to it and it takes a while and practice. In this case, I recommend reading articles or blog posts about something you like or if you own a textbook, try to read the texts written there (these might help you because they are adjusted to your current level) – maybe also out loud. As children, we had to learn how to read at primary school, letter by letter. Take time, the articles don’t have to be long, however, if you read one every day or every other day, results are going to appear! Just remember, the aim is not to understand everything and to look up all the new words in a dictionary.

Writing

Even if your mother tongue has the same writing system as Czech, there probably will be differences such as new symbols, extra letters etc. In Czech, writing all the accents and hooks is important because forgetting them might change the meaning of a message. So practice is needed, you can always rewrite a part of an article or text you’ve read or practice writing new vocabulary in your notebook or planner. Again, it doesn’t have to be a length of a school essay. Connect it to something you’ve learned recently and have fun!

Where to Start?

My recommendations aren’t to do everything I said at the same time. It could be overwhelming and make the opposite effect. No, I recommend you to choose one or two that you are fond of the most and try them slowly. Then if you feel like you can handle more, you can always add another one. However, the most important thing is to find sources you enjoy – the topics you are interested in. Do you like fashion, music, architecture, planning, games? Look for sources in your favourite topics. Of course, you can learn something from a text about penguins but your attention will decrease quickly. You can always ask yourself: Would I read it in my mother tongue?

I hope this article inspired you to start one of these activities. If so, let us know in the comments!

Gábi