Jayeless.net

Mass Immersion Approach

The Mass Immersion Approach posits that, once you’ve reached a certain basic level of language knowledge, you should continue your self-education by “immersing” yourself in material aimed at natives. Newspapers, books, film, TV shows, etc.. By doing this, you’ll obviously be inundated with vocabulary you don’t know, so the key is to mine this material for “one-target sentences” — i.e. sentences you would fully understand if not for one unknown word (or short phrase). So then you look up that one word, and make a flashcard out of the sentence, with one side having the sentence (missing the word) and a description of that word’s meaning (in your target language if possible), and then the second side obviously having the target word.

This approach itself is probably not something I would pursue. I can see the logic in the method, but it seems like it would make the card generation process take gargantuan effort, and probably also limit your enjoyment of the actual material because you’d keep having to pause it to go look up words and make cards. Considering the major reason I’ve stuck with Read­lang is how it doesn’t require me to go to huge effort to make cards, or disrupt me significantly from my reading as I look up words, I just don’t think I could do this.

At some point, the guy who popularised this Mass Immersion Approach decided to rebrand it Refold(external link) and make it a bit more extreme (i.e. he now thinks you should not practise any output – no writing or speaking! – until you can already understand your target language basically perfectly). Judging by this Reddit thread(external link), the approach’s creator is now more interested in selling “EXCLUSIVE access to the ONE BIG SECRET that’ll REV­O­L­U­TION­ISE your language learning – ACT FAST because we’re only offering our tip to a LIMITED number of people, DON’T MISS OUT!"-type bullshit. People are speculating that the reason he’s pivoted to “NEVER practise speaking until you’re already perfect!” (and ruthlessly mocking anyone who makes the slightest mistake) is because if you never practise speaking, you’ll never even get remotely passable at it, and so you’ll remain a prime target to have more language-learning resources sold to you. Unsurprisingly it’s also reported he was a bit of an asshat right from the beginning, anyway.

Nonetheless, the original MIA principle of “watch/read/listen to lots and lots of target-language content, and try to find bits that you’re right on the cusp of understanding 100%, and make flashcards to practise that last little bit”, seems like a no-brainer. The same guy also came up with this Low-Key Anki guide, which is basically a bunch of suggestions as to Anki settings to tweak to make its SRS work better and be less frustrating, which I thought also made a lot of sense and took on board personally.