Five ways to achieve total immersion in a language without leaving your house

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Posted: 
April 29, 2019
Written by: Brandon DeRiggs

We all know that the best way to learn a new language is to immerse ourselves in it. But going back to school or traveling to a foreign country isn’t always possible. Here are five surefire ways to help you learn French or English without having to leave the comfort of your home.

1. Change all your technology settings to French or English

Standard ways of learning a language include going to a classroom, getting a tutor, and doing a bunch of drills and exercises. In other words, it usually requires some form of repetition and practice. In reality, most people tap out after a few hours of study, since studying is not exactly an activity they can do the entire day. You can, however, switch your smartphone, TV or computer settings to French or English and devote an entire day to using these devices in your second language. That means every time you look at your screens and interact with them, you’re building new language muscles with the neurons in your brain in a manner that requires your utmost attention. Now, what was second nature, such as sending an email or text, browsing the web, or watching your favorite TV show, begins to require a concentrated effort to formulate and understand words.

2. Listen to songs in your target language

Most people listen to music, as it is one of the simple pleasures of life. It can change one’s mood and act as a bridge of communication between different cultures. To have a fully immersive experience, only listen to songs in your target language (French or English). You may not understand the words being sung, but you’ll feel the emotion. Later, you can look up the translated lyrics and keep repeating the process.

3. Listen to a radio station in your target language

Is there a radio station you like to listen to? What about a French or English radio station? Try listening in your target language as you go about doing your daily chores and tasks. You may not catch every word, but you’re subconsciously absorbing all the new information. Certain words, certain sounds, certain feelings will pop up, and you’ll be able to make associations. As your knowledge of your target language grows, you’ll make more associations, because you’ve heard a word before but now it has meaning.

4. Read books in French or English

Read books in your target language. Depending on your ability, you can read anything from children’s books to full-length novels. Books tell stories. Stories have emotional, meaningful events that allow them to be memorable to us. When you experience stories in a new language, you’ll have an easier time recollecting your vocabulary because of the events associated with the words.

5. Speak out loud to yourself

Speak out loud to yourself if there’s no one to practise with. When people move to foreign countries, they have to speak in order to accomplish anything. If you’re at home watching a show or movie, reading a book, or listening to music, and you hear or read a phrase that you like, try repeating it and using it in as many contexts as possible. The next time you’re able to speak to a native speaker, try it on them and see what happens!

With these five methods, you’ll be well on your way to speaking French or English with ease and without having to leave your house.

How about you? Are you trying to learn, or have you learned, a new language? If so, do you have any tips or strategies that you’d like to share? I look forward to reading them in the comments section!

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

About the author

Brandon DeRiggs

Brandon DeRiggs is a creative fiction and non-fiction writer, author, blogger, organizational consulting professional and aspiring business owner. He enjoys understanding and helping people, loves wisdom, and is a self-proclaimed value-philanthropist and absolute-potential humanitarian. Follow him on Twitter @GrandBrandon and read his stories on Wattpad.

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