How to use Free Software to learn Japanese, and more.

How much of my immersion should I understand?

April 14, 2023 — Tatsumoto

The answer is simple: you should aim to understand 100% of your immersion. Everything. One hundred percent. Every time you come across an unfamiliar word or phrase, it is a problem, and it has to be fixed. Don't hesitate to take action, you've got thousands of words to acquire. The ultimate goal is to reach a point where each unknown word is so rare that it stands out, and you just can't ignore it.

When starting to learn a new language, it's normal to understand nothing at first. The first step is to train your ears to hear the sounds of the language, which can take time. The next step is to immerse for thousands of hours and learn lots of grammar and vocabulary, required to reach fluency. The more time you invest, the more your language skills will improve.

To tackle the initial challenge of not understanding, it's advisable to prioritize basic vocabulary in the beginning. By spending your first month or two on learning the most common words of the language you can quickly improve your comprehension and start to understand everyday conversations quite well. You can then continue learning by mining example sentences from your input, starting with slice of life shows and eventually moving towards more sophisticated media.

Frontloading the most frequently used words is perhaps one of the most significant techniques in mastering the target language, which I personally found very helpful in the beginning.

Tags: faq