Since I wrote my post about the importance of immersion 6 months ago, I have learned nearly 4 thousand words, that’s 2 thousand words every three months (double what I was learning when I wrote that post in the first place) – however if numbers alone don’t convince you of the effectiveness of immersion, then perhaps its other benefits will.
Motivation is massively important when learning a language, but I think there’s more to it than that. You need to use motivation to make language learning a habit, so that when you don’t have motivation, you still do it.
But once you have the habit, there is a further stage where you can go, and that is at the stage where I’m at now, and recommend everyone to try to reach.
At some point you become good enough to immerse really effectively, where you can still learn a lot of words, but genuinely enjoy the content that you are watching/reading as well.
Essentially, it transitions learning a language from study, to simply watching films, reading books and listening to stories. Once you are at this stage, there is no reason to stop as you enjoy spending time with the language so much, that it really becomes effortless to continue.
If I was to decide to give up learning Chinese tomorrow, I simply couldn’t. I’m halfway through reading a huge, very interesting book called 鬼吹灯, and I still have about 1/3 left. I’m also watching 流星花园 which is a drama I’m very invested in, and that has 40 episodes left as well. When you study for so long and immerse, it really stops being about whether or not you have motivation to study, but about whether or not you can find compelling things to interest you, and keep you studying.
To put it another way, in the upcoming months I only have two times where it is possible for me to give up, and that’s when I finish both of these materials mentioned above. But that book has taken me two months to read 2/3, and the drama will take me at least a month, and that is a very long time compared to how often other people might contemplate quitting.
But to add on to this, even when I reach that point, quitting is very unlikely. When you’re able to immerse effectively, motivation is massively high. Also, as I’ve been talking to friends about my experience with these books, they have recommended me new ones to read afterwards, same for TV shows. So when you enjoy spending time with the language, there is no reason to quit.
I hope this can be encouragement to people who are learning, that even if you are not perfect you can still enjoy spending time with your target language immensely. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that is using the language that you have learned to continue learning even more.
If you are learning a language and this sounds strange to you, I would like to ask why? There is little point learning a language if you don’t want to use it.
So I recommend as soon as possible, simply finding things that you enjoy, so that next time you want to quit, you can think of that book or TV show you really want to finish, and decide against it.
Please let me know your thoughts on motivation and language learning, as well as your journey so far!