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Immersion doesn’t seem to work. Why?

  Tags: Immersion | Korean
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
36 messages over 5 pages: 13 4 5  Next >>
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 Message 9 of 36
16 January 2011 at 8:49pm | IP Logged 
You need some activities to make it more comprehensible. Try and find some audio that has a transcript, and work through it beforehand. Making a parallel text is one of the best ways.

One of the main things you need is vocabulary. When you know more words, you'll be able to understand more of the things you read and hear. Imagine for a minute that you knew the meaning of every word, but none of the grammar. You'd still understand a lot. On the other hand, if you knew every grammar rule perfectly, but very little vocabulary, you'd still be stuck.

Try working through a text sentence by sentence, just trying to figure out the meanings of some of the words. This is easier with a parallel text, due to the decreased dictionary time. Try to figure out what every sentence means in one page. This detail oriented way of investigating the text is called "Intensive reading". I personally think it's good to balance it with lots of "Extensive reading" where you try to read as much as you can, but in those cases where I have low comprehension / low vocabulary, then I increase the amount of Intensive work that I do until things balance out a bit.

I suspect that with Korean, since it is so far from English, you'll need a lot more Intensive work, but don't give up on your Extensive exposure either. Keep watching TV shows and whatever else. I suspect you've learned a lot already from it, even if you don't realize it.
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 Message 10 of 36
17 January 2011 at 6:19am | IP Logged 
korman wrote:
I want to learn Korean, and I'm trying the "immersion" method... I try to have something in Korean in front of me at least 8 hours a day. I've been doing this for 6 months, and I still have no idea what is being said, or what I'm reading.


My first post on here (3.5 years ago) was on this exact subject:

Total Immersion is a Crock!

There is some very good back-and-forth discussion from some very accomplished language learners in that thread in response to my somewhat irreverent post.
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Bilingual Diglot
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 Message 11 of 36
17 January 2011 at 7:57am | IP Logged 
What you are saying is that Keith's TV method is extremely useless: -thousand-hours.html#more

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 Message 12 of 36
17 January 2011 at 10:42am | IP Logged 
If you were able to put up with Korean dramas and K-pop for 6 months at 8 hours a day, I applaud you. I would
probably go clinically insane if I were to do a similar thing, and I have a serious affection for Korean culture.

Anyways, the fact that you have spent so much time subconsciously engaged with the language probably means
that you are attracted to the culture, which is good, because Korean takes a real commitment and love for most
things Korean to find success in its language. With smart learning techniques and sustained study, any language can
be learned, but to feel Korean in the marrow of your bones... you essentially need to 'become' part Korean (may be
true for many languages/cultures).

I suggest you begin your real study here: - I've studied for 2 and a half years and I find
this site has something to offer for learners of all levels.
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 Message 13 of 36
17 January 2011 at 11:59am | IP Logged 
But, can you red Korean?
If you say you have something to read in Korean, then definitely you must have learned Hangul.
Do you look at subtitles?

Actually, I have seen some people claiming they understand 60 per cent of what is being said in Japanese anime, just by immersion.

Me, I try to watch Korean dramas too, and I think I understand more and more.
However I have spent long hours learning it before.
Immersion is important, but if you don't know the words, you will have to guess them one by one from the context, usually you do it up to 12 years old.

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 Message 14 of 36
17 January 2011 at 2:07pm | IP Logged 
bushwick wrote:
immersion doesn't work magically, and I have trouble comprehending how you didn't realise that after 6 months.

I wonder how much of that belief comes from people constantly bombarded with Rosetta Stone commercials claiming that you don't "learn" a language, but you "absorb" it effortlessly.
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 Message 15 of 36
17 January 2011 at 8:23pm | IP Logged 
For me, at least, when I watch Japanese or Finnish TV programs I have to be careful to keep my brain from wandering off into English thoughts. I can sit for hours, watch the characters and sort of construct a plot based just on the visuals. The thing is when my mind is buzzing along in English, I don't hear a word of the target language. I think Iverson had a good idea when he said to watch, but to pay attention to every single sound.   I do hear more this way, but I also go through long periods of understanding absolutely nothing, and this can be exhausting.

For the most part, what i do know comes from flash cards and grammar books. I haven't learned much myself from watching TV. I don't believe this is true for everyone, and some people do pick up quite a bit from TV.
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 Message 16 of 36
19 January 2011 at 11:11am | IP Logged 
Go learn several hundred to 1000 words in Korean. Get some basic language tapes, I think
Linguaphone is the best, and listen to them until your roommates want to kick you out
and you're hearing the words when the radio's off. Translate the text of Linguaphone so
you know what they are saying as you do the above and you'll be starting to learn. Do
only 1-5 lessons at a time. I did 5 lessons at a time because there were 5 lessons on
one side of a tape, but this was with French and Spanish. I suspect 1 lesson at a time
in Korean will be enough.

Start out in a linguistically small Korean world and slowly expand that world or you'll
be overwhelmed.

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