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Total Immersion is a Crock!

  Tags: Immersion
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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TerryW
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4596 days ago

370 posts - 783 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 9 of 40
30 June 2007 at 8:45pm | IP Logged 
FSI: (( If someone gave me food, lodging, and some spending money, I would gladly take this offer up ))

And why would you need the spending money, to buy some English transcripts? (grin)

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zenmonkey: (( So Terry, nice first post - a rant. how many languages have you learned? How did you learn? ))

I should have softened that post up a bit by mentioning that I've been reading the incredible wealth of info here for a couple months and really do appreciate it. Wow, I come back here a few hours after posting, and there are 138 views and 8 replies. I've dabbled with a bunch of languages off and on (mostly off), using an even bigger bunch of different resources. I'll detail that in a later reply.

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tmesis: (( I actually contacted Monsieur Capretz and was surprised to find that he is indeed a sadist of the highest order, that he beats puppies for leisure, runs over elderly pedestrians when he can,. . . ))

Well thank you for confirming that! Obviously he's hiding under that silly nom de plume instead of using his REAL name - - - Marquis de Sade. (g)

(( He's not a very successful sadist either, from what I can tell, because I'm having a lot of fun with the material. ))

I did enjoy the 15 or so chapters of the Destinos series that I've watched, but probably because I understood most of it at this point in my Spanish learning. But I wouldn't mind an English transcript of that either. What level French had you attained when you started FIA?

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reineke: (( I believe "llame" "ahora" and "mismo" would sink in very fast. It's actually a very good example AGAINST your argument. ))

Sorry, but I really can't see it. If I heard "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" a million times, I would not know what it meant without some accompanying English.

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Volte: (( This follows by definition. If you start mixing in a second language, it's not total immersion. ))

I agree, but funny that you mention that. Yesterday I was looking at the booklet for an old cassette course "Fast Track Spanish For Business" (1991). It says "On the tape you will hear the English first. Then you will hear the Spanish...Then listen to the tape over and over again...You will find that this process of total immersion will make mastering the vocabulary effortless and pleasureable."

(( from listening to Japanese -radio- (aka, with no visual clues) I managed to learn more Japanese than you postulate for three months in Spanish, in the course of a few hours. ))

Be serious! If you're super-human, then it doesn't count!

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236factorial: (( Is immersion better than learning based on native language? Hard to tell, because they both will work, given the time invested. ))

Thanks. I may eventually go back to FIA, but not without getting some basics down first.

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Silvestris: (( I can't see total immersion making language learning any easier than throwing someone who can't swim straight into a river. ))

Yes, exactly what I was trying to say, only you said it in one sentence compared to my 150.

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Volte: (( It looks like he/she is trying to find -how- he/she can learn effectively, ))

Correct, and again, I really appreciate this forum. (Me be a he)

Edited by TerryW on 30 June 2007 at 8:56pm

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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
Joined 4686 days ago

851 posts - 1008 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 10 of 40
30 June 2007 at 9:34pm | IP Logged 
TerryW wrote:

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reineke: (( I believe "llame" "ahora" and "mismo" would sink in very fast. It's actually a very good example AGAINST your argument. ))

Sorry, but I really can't see it. If I heard "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" a million times, I would not know what it meant without some accompanying English.



If it actually was a language (no offense to Trekkies) and a common expression, you'd figure it out through context. In addition, even if I considered your latest example seriously, you're comparing an alien tongue (lol) with a level I difficulty human tongue.

I'm sorry dude, no issues with your need for English reinforcement but both are very good examples to the contrary of what you were saying.

"llameme ahora mismo" llame ahora, ahora mismo etc are very common expressions. Llame etc is often accompanied with phone numbers and pictures of dancing telephones will abound on the TV screen. Now, you can argue that the show was about dancing telephones, but then I'd have to call you names :) All three are very, very common words and so are their combinations and you'll find countless examples giving you clues what a particular expression means.
It does not take great talent to figure it out. You'll hear, see or read:
lllame ahora mismo al 901 89899-90978
llameme o manadame sms
necesita ayuda en su oficina llameme!
llame llame llame pls llameme! Ahora mismo!
Llame al 901-440-33550
LLAMEME A MI CELULAR
llameme o envieme un e-mail
!B├ęsame, ahora mismo!
Mmm... smooch, smooch!

Come on, it's hardly Klingon :)

(edit) lol, I remembered the alien quote after I posted.

Edited by reineke on 30 June 2007 at 9:57pm

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leosmith
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4789 days ago

2365 posts - 3803 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Tagalog

 
 Message 11 of 40
30 June 2007 at 10:23pm | IP Logged 
I agree with the OP and some of the other posters - total immersion in the very beginning is just masochism. It's all about comprehensible input, baby.

Nice first post Terry. Keep em coming!
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reineke
Senior Member
United States
https://learnalangua
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851 posts - 1008 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 12 of 40
30 June 2007 at 10:38pm | IP Logged 
What makes you think that the two are mutually exclusive, baby? Silvestris, I believe the throwing in the river part is called "submersion" or "sink or swim" :)
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MeshGearFox
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4934 days ago

316 posts - 344 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 14 of 40
01 July 2007 at 2:15am | IP Logged 
I've always had a lot of trouble picking up words from context. The only example I can think of off hand is the word 'bald' in German meaning 'soon' in English, and that's entirely because the sentence (which was from Die Aerzte song) was "Bald bist du in Paeradis," mirrors almost exactly the English wording, and "soon" is the only possible word I could imagine making sense there.

Stuff like "llameme ahora mismo" which would have really obvious contexts I'd probably learn, but I doubt to the extent I'd readily be able to internalize it. I think I'm just bad at picking up on real-world context.
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Silvestris
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4803 days ago

131 posts - 136 votes 
Speaks: English*, Polish*, German

 
 Message 15 of 40
01 July 2007 at 3:31am | IP Logged 
reineke wrote:
What makes you think that the two are mutually exclusive, baby? Silvestris, I believe the throwing in the river part is called "submersion" or "sink or swim" :)


Or baptism by fire. The point being, they both hurt like a- :)

Oh and good point Terry! I hope no one scared you with this dogpile that formed. Welcome to the forums!

(Am I the only one who wants to see someone come in an say "Monolingualism rules!" just for the reactions?)

Edited by Silvestris on 01 July 2007 at 3:32am

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Magnum
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 Message 16 of 40
01 July 2007 at 5:34am | IP Logged 
TerryW wrote:
If total immersion is so good, then I challenge somebody who knows no Spanish to watch a Spanish cable channel for 10 hours a day for a few months. He would watch all of the conversations and interaction of the soap opera (telenovela) characters, etc.


A good immersion program is not made that way. It takes the same words and uses them over and over in a lesson; unlike watching TV where you might hear a word once. The key to immersion is hearing the same word in different contexts. On a TV show or in a movie, you might hear the word "run" now and then 3 hours later. In an immersion program, you will hear the word "run" over a dozen times in half an hour, and each time it will be something different. She is running to class. She is running to the library. She is running to the market. You might not know the words class, library, or market; but you should understand the word "run". The next episode might have her running the car, or running the office. It builds. That is the difference. The brain needs repetition to remember.

I will concede one point- the start of an immersion program is much more difficult than the study six months later. At some point in a immersion program it becomes very easy to learn new material in context, but it takes effort and work at the start to get there.

There are many ways to learn and immersion is one tool. I like French In Action. I cursed at it the first couple months. I missed many words and had a frustrating time. But after learning 250+ words it becomes much easier. Vocabulary is like a snowball, once you get it rolling it starts to pick up and get large. You will have more trouble learning the first 100 words in French then you will have going from 1000 words to 1500. I tell people who want to learn French but have not studied it to first look at Standard Deviants French, then try FIA. Standard Deviants French is a very basic two disc DVD that can be completed in less than a week.

One more point- Immersion programs are designed to be viewed multiple times. And it is not cheating to look at the transcripts. I would suggest you watch the episode once without looking at the transcripts just to get a feel for the episode. Look up the words on the screen if you can not figure them out based on the video. I'd watch the episode second time, only looking up those words on the screen. Focus on those words because they will be used again. After the second viewing, that is when I would read the entire transcript from start to finish, and then watch the episode a third time. After that, I move on to the next episode. While the progress is difficult to measure in a day or a week- by the time you finish a block of 10 lessons this way the old material will be very easy. It will be so easy you will wonder how you learned it.

Edited by Magnum on 01 July 2007 at 5:41am



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