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What is Immersion and Why does it Work? — 4 Comments

  1. I would encourage anyone interested in learning a second language to look into the work of Dr. Stephen Krashen. I’m not saying anyone should unquestioningly accept his theories, he does have his detractors. However I think his work has been sufficiently verified and is a sufficiently useful way of approaching language learning that it’s worth knowing about.

    In particular, the core of the theory is that language is acquired through comprehensible input. This isn’t quite the same thing as immersion as Adam defines it, but it’s clearly closely related. This explains why just living in Japan or watching anime doesn’t accomplish much — the input is not comprehensible. Conversely it explains why something like factor #1 is necessary — it opens the door to comprehensibility. Although it’s worth noting in passing that Krashen himself advocates classes utilizing the TPRS method plus a minimum of formal grammar instruction over textbooks as factor #1, but ultimately those are just different paths to the same goal.

    Anyway, anyone interested in an academic treatment can check out “Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition” which is freely available online. A lot of his talks are also available on youtube, this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shgRN32ubag is pretty good, although the second half, continued in another video, goes off on some tangents and might not be as immediately relevant.

  2. I kind of feel like Jalup NEXT would benefit from having a philosophy of immersion course. Like, before all the tutorials for how to use the decks, there could a video or animation explaining exactly what has been explained in this article. Or at the very least, have them read this article before ever being able to start any of the decks or after they reach a certain level.

    I kind of feel like Jalup NEXT is a little isolated from the concepts explained on this website. Including these concepts in the tutorial could be a welcome addition. Perhaps, when one reaches a certain level, certain articles are unlocked for people to read. Perhaps the Motivational Treasure box could be unlocked one piece at a time. Stuff like that. I look forward to one day maybe being able to help with that because I think it would be a great addition to the site.

  3. Citation: “Ex 1. Go to Japan, live there, and you will learn Japanese without any effort.” I’d say if we modified this sentence a little bit, we’d get an actually working concept: “Go to Japan, commit a crime, spend 2 years in Japanese prison and you will learn Japanese without having to study it.” Well, I wouldn’t say it would be “without any effort,” but still…

    He, he, I don’t recommend that anyone should indeed try to learn Japanese this way, but there’s no doubt that this method works. :)

  4. Citation: “Ex 2. Watch a ton of anime, and just by listening to it enough, you’ll start to understand the language.” I think it might work if you already have a basic knowledge of the language. I have done it myself in the past. Well, I didn’t watch anime (I don’t like anime much), I just watched TV spending my whole free time on it. About 10 years ago I started working in Germany. (My work was in English, I didn’t have to be able to speak German at work.) By the time I got to Germany I was able to read German at approx. intermediate level, but I couldn’t speak the language and wasn’t able to understand anything when I tried listening to German TV. I was too tired after work to be able to continue studying the language actively, so I just watched TV in the evening, spending most of my free time on it. At first I wasn’t able to understand anything, but I just kept on watching. After about 10 months I suddenly realized that I understand almost everything, especially when watching news and TV series dubbed from English to German. (Understanding German movies was still difficult, it took me more time to be able to understand them.) Well, that’s it. I did it myself so I know it is possible. I guess it should also be possible to learn Japanese by watching Japanese animes or doramas if you are already at the beginner’s level of Japanese.

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