on 2015-06-12 07:16 (UTC)
piranha: the word 'language' in a text highlighted in hot pink (language)
Posted by [personal profile] piranha
the "immersion only" school isn't new to me per se, but it seems new out there on the hip online language learning circuit (and i missed some steps there in writing about my thinking, sorry -- duolingo doesn't do immersion only since it still provides translation, and i've since seen that it also delivers grammar in the L1 language. so, never mind ;).

what you did still had an english component, and while i think it is better than what i went through in high school (everything about L2 was taught in L1 language), it still provides translations. did you also learn grammar in spanish and use monolingual dictionaries?

"immersion only" does allow for any translation. you have to "talk around" any word you don't know and describe it sufficiently for the other person to tell you the native word. so you'd have to say something like "como se dice en español para ... uh ... fruta ... para ... uh ... el vino". great if you know "fruta" and "vino", but if you don't this can become an exercise in frustration. i think you're allowed to point at the item or picture if you simply can't find any way to describe it. i can't say that i consider this a giant leap forward for language acquisition. because frankly, you're still translating in your head anyway. i did this when i was in sweden, and it was excruciating at the start, and i couldn't bear it. i do think it weans you faster, and that's a good thing.

i presume "immersion only" is new as regards actually pushing this as a hip way to learn languages because i just saw a TEDX talk on it, and the guys presenting it were talking as if this was an amazing discovery. they set themselves the task of not speaking a single word of english when travelling for 3 months through a foreign country where they knew nothing of the language to start with. at the end of that time they could hold a reasonable conversation with a native speaker. thing is, i could do that too in sweden, and i didn't deny myself other languages to get a start in swedish.
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