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Learning a New Language: Immersion by Caroline McCaul

01 Sep

Immersing yourself in a country that speaks another language can be the quickest way to acclimate yourself to that language, that is, as long as you already possess a strong understanding of the basics. For the quickest way to learn any language, you should practice vocabulary and sentence structure to get the basics of the language down early on. After you understand the basic structure of the language as well as how it works on a sentence level, you can begin to work on better acclimating yourself to that particular culture, and to see the language in action. Watching others interact, and listening to how they speak the language, are a couple of the quickest ways to learn and begin speaking that language fluently.

Most people who learn languages, those they are unfamiliar with, will many times work to interact on a one-on-one basis with people who speak that language regularly. An individual can’t expect to pick up another way of communicating without spending a significant amount of time both learning and preacticing. However, you can’t simply move to another country and expect to pick up the language by walking around outside. Gaining a basic understanding of how the language works on a phonetic level is a great way to use immersion as a way to bolster your knowledge of a language, rather than have immersion be the only way you learn a new language.

Learning Spanish, for example, is much easier if you have a basic working knowledge of how the language works before you move to Mexico. Living with Spanish-speakers for six months or a year is a great way to immerse yourself in the Mexican culture and learn more about the people that speak Spanish in Mexico, but if you don’t know a word of Spanish before you go there, it could be difficult to start from scratch. Give yourself time to understand not only vocabulary, but also sentence structure and the subtle differences between dialects.

Caroline McCaul studied Spanish extensively in high school before she spent a summer in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to learn to speak Spanish fluently.

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