Immersion: The Way to Gain Fluency


Reading a text book will not make you fluent in a secondary language. Memorizing words and phrases are good for school, but practical use is the key to fluency. Immersion into a country's culture and the practical use of the language is the key to gaining proficiency and then fluency.

 One of the quickest and lease expensive way to immerse oneself into another culture is through television. Watching television in the native tongue of the language you wish to learn has three benefits:

  • It allows you to hear the common and proper way of pronouncing words in the native tongue. Hearing how words and phrases are properly pronounced is very helpful especially when learning Asian languages such as Chinese where you will find the meaning of words and phrases differ with the way in which it is pronounced. Hearing the proper pronunciation helps one to pronounce words appropriately.

  • It allows you to see when to say things. Many times there is a formal and informal way of saying things properly. As an example, the word “orabeoni” means elder brother and is used by a female when speaking to an elder male that is truly a member of the family,her older brother, or a close connection to the female speaking or her family. You would find this word used often when watching Korean historical dramas, but seldom will you hear it today. “Orabeoni” is a formal word that is seldom used in common conversation today. The informal word “oppa” is used instead.

  • You will improve your vocabulary of words and phrases from watching television. I, who does not speak Korean, have learned some Korean words and phrases just by watching Korean television and movies, which are subtitled of course.

 Another way off immersing oneself into a culture of those whose language one is wishing to learn, is by befriending one whose primary language is the language is the language you are wishing to learn. These people will include people who have immigrated here and their children if there children speak the language of the parents fluently. This being the next step better than television because you become an active learner as opposed to a passive learner. An active learner is one who participates in the learning process and this is opposed to just listening and reading.

Visiting the country whose primary language is the language which you want to become fluent is the best way to become proficient. One gets to communicate with those who native language is in use daily and not just in the home as with immigrants.

These are the best way to immerse oneself in a foreign country's culture in order to fluency in that language.