Few people achieve language fluency without a concentrated period, or periods, of total immersion. But getting the time to do such a dedicated period of language learning study is not easy. Simulated immersion is a powerful alternative.
If you cannot get into a total language immersion situation, there are a number of things you can do to CREATE such a total immersion learning environment.
This is what I have called a simulated language immersion, and it has never ever been easier to create.
When that is not possible, create your own simulated immersion language learning situations.
This is due to the internet and is multiple forms of free, cheap forms of communication. So right in the comfort of your own environment you can create your own simulated immersion environment or environments.
For instance you might decide to declare your car a 'simulated language immersion zone where you listen to foreign language audio, CDs or your iPod.
You can have certain hours of the day declared as Total Immersion ZONES, in your home. Here you can surround yourself with your target foreign language materials, sounds, DVDs, movies, radio, CD's, books, scripts etc etc.
The longer the periods of this inundation, and the more regular and frequent, the more powerful will it be.
Here are ways of creating your simulated immersion programme.
When you can, do keep a radio station going at all times, tuned to a station speaking your target language. Opt for the talk-show style of station rather than a Top of the Pops music show type radio.
Always keep a pen and paper handy. Jot down words, and phrases, and notes. Keep your dictionary handy, and your Verb conjugation book. Also very useful is a handheld dictaphone.
There are also thousands of radio stations broadcasting live, free, over the internet.
A television should also be used in the same manner. TV is better than the radio, because one can see the facial expressions, non-verbal actions and lip movements.
Avoid movies dubbed from some other language into the target language, because the lip synchronization is out of time and unhelpful.
Foreign language film, videos and DVDs can be used in the same way.
Watching foreign language TV, films,videos and DVDs are an excellent way to tune your ear into the speed, sound, tempo, intonations and accent of the target language.
The benefit of such media is that you can repeat them again and again, and have them playing in the background while you do household chores like ironing, washing up, cleaning the house etc.
Your home becomes your classroom.
Soon the foreign language quips, phrases, expressions and sayings will become firmly embedded in your subconscious, as will the contexts in which they were uttered.
Also many are dubbed - so if you are struggling with what they are saying you can check the dubbed translation.
The more you watch the same movie, or documentary, the more those phrases will become embedded in the auditory cortex of your brain, and become planted in your subconscious.
Listening to songs and recordings is another powerful weapon in your simulated immersion arsenal. If you can find the lyrics to foreign language songs, and learn these, then all the better.
There are many daily podcast lessons available online also. A podcast is simply a recorded sound file that one can download and listen to on one's iPod, taking the lesson with you.
Reading will improve your language skills.
Practising your language learning using the messaging facilities of MSN Messenger, skype, Google Talk and other such things is a powerful tool to speeding up your language acquisition. The great thing about these media is that you have the time to consult your dictionary, before replying, and when receiving a texted message. As opposed to conversation where it is all occurring instantaneously.
There are many teachers offering their services online, whereby you can pre-arrange a time to speak, and you pay the teacher for their time. Now with web-video this is even more effective, because with webcam you can even see the person with whom you are talking, and watch their facial expressions....
I am sure you can think of many more simulated language immersion situations, but of course, better than any simulated immersion is a solid period of genuine Total Language Immersion
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Creating Simulated Immersion Language Learning situations