- Watching TV in Spanish gives you a chance to practice listening to native speakers, but it’s not the right kind of language input to learn from
- To truly learn a language, you need an environment that lets you use the language at your level to interact in authentic ways
- Live VR lessons let you experience immersion language learning right in your own home
As a child, you learned your first language from hearing it used by everyone around you. Does this mean you can learn a new language by watching TV programs or listening to music? The answer is: Not really, but it can still be a fun way to get in some extra listening practice. But if you really want to become fluent in a language, you’ll need practice communicating in it, too.
How can watching TV in Spanish help me learn it?
Using TV for listening practice lets you:
1. Hear the language at native-speaker speeds.
Native speakers speak fast - really fast. Challenging yourself to catch all the words, even if you don’t know what they mean, can improve your listening skills and your confidence. And afterwards, speech from your teacher or language app will seem slower and easier to catch.
2. Observe how language is used in social contexts.
Apologies, formal introductions, even body language and gestures - TV shows and movies give you a window into culture and social situations. They also let you see how to use language features that don’t exist in your own language.
For instance, you may be aware that Spanish has formal and informal ways of saying you, but you might not really understand when to use them. Watching fluent speakers interact can help.
3. Learn slang and idioms.
Idioms and slang are a fun and important part of learning a new language, but they’re a challenge to master. Popular media give you a chance to notice which expressions are used the most and who uses them. This lets you pick up slang that reflects your age group and personality.
What kind of input do I need to learn another language?
In spite of the benefits, there are several reasons you can’t learn a language from TV alone.
Lack of interaction
You can’t learn a language entirely from passive input.
Research has shown that interaction with people and objects is an essential component of language learning.
Only authentic interaction activates the full neural network your brain needs to learn a language.
Lack of comprehensible input
According to Krashen’s popular Input Hypothesis, language learners need exposure to language that is just slightly beyond their current level of comprehension in order to make progress. Unless you are already an advanced speaker, a lot of the dialogue in TV shows is likely to be too far beyond your comprehension to figure out.
Lack of help
To really learn, you need to ask questions and get hints from a more competent speaker while you’re practicing. Immersion language lessons that use the Emergent Language Approach are an ideal way to get guided learning practice.
What makes Immerse such a great way to learn Spanish?
At Immerse, we lean into active learning.
Our immersive VR language learning platform provides everything you need to truly learn a new language: live interaction with people and objects, comprehensible input in authentic social contexts and environments, and fluent Guides trained in the Emergent Language Approach. We make it possible for you to experience immersion language learning at home!
Our Members love Immerse, and we’re confident you will too.