0B: Enjoy the Language
Popular language learning apps like Duolingo and Babbel focus on making the language learning process fun through gamification and cute graphics. What they fail to do is make the language itself fun.
Having fun in your target language is the only way to acquire the language. If you hate the content you are immersing with, it doesn’t matter how hard you try, your brain won’t absorb the language.
Enjoying your immersion content is THE MOST important part of language acquisition.
Enjoyment helps in two ways.
Many language learners give up because the process takes a lot of work over a long time. However, if you can find content you enjoy and that you want to consume, then it stops feeling like work.
When you enjoy your immersion, it will keep you coming back for more. Enjoyment reinforces your desire to spend time with the language.
Boredom, on the other hand, detracts from your desire to spend time with the language. If you get bored with a TV show or book, then move on to the next one. There is nothing more detrimental to motivation than forcing yourself to consume content you hate.
Do not force yourself to immerse with content you aren’t interested in.
When you find your immersion content compelling you will lose yourself in the story.1 The language fades into the background and you engage fully with the content.
This flow state is the optimal acquisition experience for your brain to soak up the language. The more interested you are, the more engaged you’ll be, and the faster you will learn.
If you aren’t engaged, your mind will wander and you won’t acquire anything. The boredom you feel will cause your brain to filter out the language entirely.
In Stages 1 & 2, you won’t yet have the language ability necessary to lose yourself in the content, so it can be hard to stay engaged. Don’t worry: there are other ways to enjoy content even if you don’t understand it. We provide tips and exercises at each stage that will help you stay engaged.
A word of advice: The Refold method is just a guide. It is far more important to follow your interests than to adhere to our plan. If you are compelled to read a book before you’ve reached "Stage 2C: Reading", then, by all means, go for it. No need to wait. Your intrinsic motivation to consume that content will drive your language acquisition more than any learning method, including this one.