I’ve been writing about my language learning journey with French (click on the Search box above and type in ‘French’ to see the list of blog posts) over the last 18 or so months and one of the things that I’ve been deliberating is whether “language immersion” works and whether we need to be IN the country to learn it quickly.
Part of me wishes that of course, I would like nothing more than to pack up my bongos and go and live in France (anywhere in France really) for at least 3-6 months fully taking in the sights and being surrounded where French is only spoken. At times I feel it would be the only way to get me out of my comfort zone hence in the headspace of having to learn the language quickly in order to survive.
However, as a child of immigrants to Australia – and where I know of peers of my parents who have lived in Australia for many years and still can’t speak English (this defies belief for me), I wonder whether it’s less about immersion and more about fear, lack of motivation or just pure stubbornness on their part. I think you need to have a strategy to be proactive enough to put yourself out there and get into situations where you’re speaking in French, listening to French and reading in French.
So yes, be stubborn but be stubborn to not let this new language beat you but you beat it and become the best speaker you can be.
After all, with abundant resources online, is it possible to have the immersion experience FROM HOME?
Steve Kaufmann, a polyglot explains it well in his short video.
My goal in French was to always to get to a conversational level where I can have a conversation with someone on the street but more so now, the more I talk and the more I learn, I’m beginning to think that I’d like it to be more now. It’s quite addictive in all honesty. I’d also like to read literature in its original language and I want to be able to feel at least a bit more comfortable not to think twice about switching my brain and babbling French without thinking of it.
Right now, I still have that level of awkwardness and I want that awkwardness to be gone.
I’ve been thinking about the Immersive Language Experience at Home and thought I can make this into my own little Personal Challenge that can last one or more days especially on days when my husband isn’t at home so I don’t have to revert to speaking English.
For example, in ONE day, my aim is to do the following:
- Only read French texts
- Only read French magazines or newspapers
- Only write in French
- Only watch French shows
- Only watch the French news
- ONLY eat French food
- Only listen to French music
- Only listen to French podcasts
- Only eat at French cafes or restaurants
- At said cafes or restaurants, ONLY order menu items in French to the French servers.
- Only hang out with French people or people learning the language
So basically, I’m going to use the example of the family friends I know who have not learned a word of English while they’ve been in Australia for many years because they created their own “cocoon” of people who only speak Greek, and then use THIS as my tactic for Immersive Language Learning at Home.
After all, if it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re in Australia or anywhere, you’ll still get the immersive experience!
Over the coming months, I’m going to sit down and write up my own Immersive Language Learning Day and I’m going to make it as interesting as possible.
It’ll be MY DAY where it’ll be more like an adventure to pretend that I’m in France (but I’m in Melbourne).
Who knows, I might wangle in a trip to the Monet Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria too and incorporate some French cultural experiences as well.
Mmm….now to start to make my “menu” of French Learning…..