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How immersion planning will help to acquire a language.
After readying a hub denying the value of immersion it provoked me to consider the value of immersion in language learning. The truth of the matter is that language learning in and of itself is only partially done through actually studying of grammar and phonetics. All of the classroom work in the world will only make you a linguistic scholar. Which in and of itself is not really very effective unless you simply plan on being a language teacher.
The majority of language learning is found in the culture. When I say the culture, I am referring to the history of the people, their stories, their lifestyle and their euphemisms. Immersion will get you in the midst of a people where you can learn about them, about what is important to them and about what they are truly interested in. The average American probably only has a regular use vocabulary of about 1,500 words. Sure there are others words occasionally used, but they will get along quite well with those 1,500. I would think most languages of the world work along the same lines with a restricted vocabulary usage. So reading and studying all of the language books and courses may help to build up your vocabulary but you may never actually have the opportunity to use those words. With immersion you will quickly identify the most common phrases that are used and the context will be quickly perceived as well.
There is another concept that must be considered prior to an immersion experience. Namely, what is your purpose in learning the language? If you are attempting to land a job in the business sector, dealing primarily with business professionals of the nation, immersion in a small village may not be very productive at all. Likewise, if you are planning on working in a mission or clinic among the poorer folks or village inhabitants, much of the language learning would need to be in that environment. Considering ahead of time what your motivation and goals are will help you to plan accordingly.
Remember we are not talking about total language acquisition. We are talking about the initial immersion to assist you in getting a start on your language learning process. The greatest challenge to overcome is to make sense out of what the people are trying to communicate to you. Beginning with the most familiar and common will help to develop your ear to pick up much more. In no time at all you will find you are picking up more than is getting away. Start small, but find new environments to find more vocabulary.