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Steven
Learning a foreign language is good for cognitive skills. Is immersion best?
Learning a foreign language is healthy for you in that it is good for your cognitive abilities, memory and thinking skills. But, is total immersion or are traditional grammar -focused methods best, or some combination of the two? I say the combination is best for adults. Thoughts?

Apr 26, 2020 12:54 AM
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Hello Steven, I agree with you. I think a combination of immersion and grammar is good. You may have heard of the linguist Stephen Kaufmann? He has a number of videos on youtube that might be of interest to you. He argues that, in the initial stage of language learning, listening and reading to material that interest you are the most important skills to work on. He argues that we can acquire grammar through recognising patterns through repeat exposure. Of course he doesn't dismiss grammar completely (there may be specific things we need to check out). But rather, states that the emphasis should be on comprehensible input with stimulating material. It's an interesting topic.
April 26, 2020
Yes Steven. I have studied Russian for 3 years in classes and with Italki and with online friends through Italki. In Oct/November I had 3 weeks language class in Belarus and their style is immersion, but I didn't realise that until I was there. It was good for me, to expand my listening and processing skills and to explain my answers/responses. However for a beginner it was a case of being lost with a long lead time to find her feet.
We, ourselves, we choose our learning style and material. If a certain class doesn't work out, we change it, and over the years I notice I am happier to read more now, reading more Wikipedia in Russian and speaking more R with friends.
Beginners need a structure to build the language in their minds. Immersion takes too long for beginners and is frustrating. Just like some Spanish speaker I answered just now, but lives in the US.
April 26, 2020
Phillip, yes I totally agree. There’s an individualism about language learning you have to recognize. It’s not a „one size fits all“ method. Find what works most efficiently for you and go with it. That’s how I see it. After the first two years of university study, I was ready for total immersion in my target language and it worked well for me.
April 26, 2020
Phillip, I agree with you. Total immersion doesn’t work for learners. I think the first two years or so should be a mix of the target language with the native speaker‘s language . However, after that it should be total immersion.
April 26, 2020
Not for beginners. I have seen the stress and frustration of it, and was glad that I could understand half of what was being taught, but my fellow student, had arguments with the teacher every 2 days "Can you please explain it in English..."
See others' experiences here: https://www.italki.com/discussion/235508

So, according to the article if I study a language my brain will grow. If my brain is twice the size of a chimp's then I am twice as intelligent, but if it is the same size as a gorilla's.?? Darwin's rubbish, measuring skulls of native peoples and assuming that equates to intelligence.
April 26, 2020
Steven
Language Skills
Dutch, English, German
Learning Language
Dutch