2C: Immersion Guide
In Stage 2B, you increased the difficulty of your immersion content until you could comprehend native media aimed at adults. You should now be at a level 4 comprehension with native media while continuing to use most of the supports described in 2A: Comprehensibility Index.
Stage 2C explains how to gradually remove those supports until you can fully understand native media in preparation for writing and speaking in Stage 3.
In Stage 2B, you probably jumped around between domains to follow your interest. If so, you have a decent understanding of many different domains, but you haven’t mastered any of them yet. As mentioned in 2A: Domains, the fastest way to learn a language is to master a single domain first before expanding to others. The fastest way to master a single domain is to narrow it down as much as possible.
We recommend choosing slice-of-life as your first domain to master because it will be the most relevant to your output in Stage 3. Slice-of-life content follows the lives of regular (though very beautiful) people.
You could start with a different domain, but keep in mind that you probably won’t need vocabulary related to law enforcement, surgery, court proceedings, starships, and 14th-century swordsmanship to have everyday conversations.
For the rest of this article, we will assume that slice-of-life is the domain you choose to focus on.
Recall that 3-channel hybrid media means audio, visual, and subtitles. By this point, you should be pretty comfortable reading a native TV show in your TL. As you get more and more comfortable, you’ll pause less and less often because you need fewer lookups. Eventually, you’ll stop pausing entirely and just read in real time. At this point, intensive immersion of 3-channel media converges with free-flow immersion of 3-channel media.
The first step of Stage 2C is to build up to this convergence so that you can read the subtitles of your TV show in real time.
Your reading comprehension has likely outpaced your listening comprehension. Outside of 3-channel reading, you should use the rest of your immersion time for free-flow watching without subtitles so that you can build up your listening abilities.
Listening to native slice-of-life is the most optimal because it matches your first domain, but if you get bored and need variety then you can use dubbed content or content outside the domain. It’s very important for your intensive immersion to be native slice-of-life; what you choose for your free-flow immersion doesn't matter as much.
Once your intensive reading has converged with free-flow watching with subtitles, you are ready to start removing the supports that are helping artificially increase your comprehension.
You should no longer read show summaries ahead of time, or watch dubs or adaptations of stories that you already know. Similarly, focus more on new shows than on rewatching previously watched shows.
Only use subtitles to occasionally double-check your understanding or to ensure that you get the correct spelling while sentence mining.
Stop rewinding sections to give yourself a second chance at parsing audio and catching details.
Now that your comprehension has grown, you will be able to enjoy movies, which removes the support of having long-running storylines with familiar characters.
Your dictionary lookups should become rarer until you can comfortably watch without a dictionary. There will still be unknown words, but they won’t get in the way of your comprehension.
As your comprehension increases, you’ll be ready to stop relying on the visual context for comprehension. To practice your listening comprehension you can use pure audio (i.e. podcasts, audiobooks, etc.) or talking-head video.
Pure listening is considered optional because understanding TV is good enough to move on to Stage 3. However, pure listening will help accelerate your listening comprehension of TV shows and also help you further down the line.
Not all audio is the same level of difficulty so we’ve provided a guide on how you can level up. It’s easiest to start with audio content with a strong narrative structure such as scripted radio dramas and simple podcasts that tell short stories.
Over time, your comprehension of pure audio will increase to the point where you can do mindless tasks while listening to and understanding new content. At this point, active listening converges with passive listening.
If you want to explicitly practice reading outside of TV shows then go for it! Increasing your general reading comprehension will help you read faster while immersing in 3-channel media.
As mentioned in Stage 2B, comics are a great pairing with reading TV because they are dialogue-heavy and provide a visual component. When choosing comics, try to find ones in the slice-of-life domain so that it will align with your goal of level 5 comprehension.
You can also start reading blogs. These aren’t necessary for casual conversation but if you read blogs about topics that interest you, then it will give you the vocabulary to talk about your interests in casual conversation.
In Stage 2, reading novels is completely optional. While TV and comics use visual context, novels use literary and descriptive language. This literary language will massively expand your first domain so reading novels can slow down your progress from level 4 to level 5. If your goal is to speak as fast as possible, then skip novels for now.
However, if you are interested in reading a novel then go for it! Always follow your interests. We’ve provided a guide for how to choose your first novel and different approaches to tackling that challenge.
If your TL is very different from your native language (NL), you should be ready to tackle the monolingual transition once your reading comprehension is at a high level 4. With a difficult language, it can be useful to take a more structured approach than the casual monolingual transition process described in Stage 2B. We’ve provided a guide for how to deliberately tackle the monolingual transition.
You’re ready to move to Stage 3 when you have level 5 comprehension of slice-of-life TV shows intended for adults, without using any significant supports.
To evaluate your comprehension, pick an episode of a native show that you’ve never seen before. Watch the episode without subtitles and without pausing. You should have near-perfect comprehension of everything said.
As you progress to Stage 3, continue immersing in this first domain until you reach level 6: effortless comprehension. Having a level 6 domain enables you to relax with your TL for those times when you’re too tired to focus.