How Guided Immersion Saved My Dying Language

By OptiLingo • 7 minute read

Discovering a New Way to Learn Languages

My parents came to America as refugees. I grew up in a home where they only spoke Circassian, but I never learned it myself. With English as my only language, I wasn’t exposed to foreign language learning methods. As time went on, the yearning to speak my family’s native tongue grew stronger. However, I was already an adult with a good job and a family of my own when I decided I needed to learn my ethnic language.

Unfortunately, I faced many obstacles. Circassian is an intensely complex language with multiple dialects. And there were almost no learning materials available. I was on my own. Then I realized that I had to create my own materials to succeed.

I studied the most effective language learning theories. As a busy man with a job and a family, I couldn’t spend too much time studying. So, I devised a plan that combined all the theories, and fit into my schedule. My quest ended with a strong command of the Circassian language. Nowadays, I am often mistaken for a native, fluent speaker.

I’ve traveled the world teaching Circassian. My journey also led to me produce books, videos, tutorials, and guides about the language for the Circassian diaspora. And the teaching materials I created were translated into numerous languages. But at one point in my journey, I realized that my method wasn’t just for learning Circassian. It was the most effective way to learn any foreign language.

no language learning methods worked until guided immersion

How Outdated Language Learning Methods Failed Us

For decades, we’ve heard that the best way to learn a language is by memorizing boring vocabulary lists and endless grammatical rules. But these techniques don’t show you how to truly speak a language. When you learn a language, You’re learning it to communicate with people. But you can’t achieve that by cramming dry material. Yet, language teachers in school still believe these language learning methods work.

What I discovered was the complete opposite of that. The ideal way to learn a language is similar to how babies learn. Their language acquisition technique is the most powerful and efficient. So, I took the studies on this and turned it into an approachable method for adults. And this lead me to personal success with my ethnic language.

I immediately realized this secret knowledge I had acquired was not something to tuck away in a corner. It was something that I had to share to help anyone interested in learning another language.

I call my method Guided Immersion. Based on cutting-edge language learning research, this technique helped me and thousands of others learn Circassian. But it can also help you learn any language.

What Is Guided Immersion?

Guided Immersion isn’t just effective. It’s also practical and fun. It uses a combination of high-frequency phrases, comprehensible input, and spaced repetition systems. This increases your chance of acquiring a foreign language successfully. While other language learning methods utilize some of these, none of them combine all three into one effective method. This is why Guided Immersion is more powerful than other language learning methods.

We start by focusing on common phrases and words. We put these into the context of everyday situations with native speakers. That means you hear how people speak the language in the real world, rather than a classroom setting.

During lessons, you’ll also learn how and why you use a certain word or phrase. You don’t need to memorize countless grammatical rules and figure out when to apply them. Instead, you’ll learn them through use instantly.

You may not know this, but translation uses different parts of your brain depending on the direction. Translating into English is not the same process as translating from English. With Guided Immersion, you can exercise both. By presenting the content in English and your target language, you’ll empower your brain in both directions.

Additionally, Guided Immersion uses a Spaced Repetition System (SRS). This method helps you commit the material to your long term memory effectively. We present and re-present content at graduated intervals. This approach delivers faster results in less time, with greater active recall.

With Guided Immersion, you can avoid mindless repetition and rote memorization. By focusing on high-frequency phrases, you’ll discover how the natives speak. You can understand the structure of the language effortlessly.

good language learning methods can help you speak to locals

Guided Immersion in Practice

As someone with a full-time job, a wife and 4 kids, I definitely couldn’t spend a lot of time learning languages. So, I had to come up with a strategy that was efficient, and it could fit around my busy schedule. With Guided Immersion, I could spend only 30 minutes a day with learning a language and still achieve fluency in a short amount of time.

The following plan was my daily routine for learning Russian. In just 5 weeks, this strategy helped me travel through Abkhazia without a need for a translator. Although my accent was lousy, and I made a ton of grammatical mistakes, I was still proud. I acquired a relatively difficult language in 5 short weeks. And I’m not a talented polyglot. I just had a great strategy.

This approach was superior to language learning methods:

  • Each day, I would read 25 common phrases in Russian, out loud, slowly.
  • I then looked at the English translation and internalized the meaning.
  • On some days, as an option, I would practice writing out key vocabulary.
  • I did this for all 25 phrases, then do a quick review from the top of the list.

Each following day, I would review what I learned during the previous days. I spent just 30 minutes every day Monday through Friday. I decided to take weekends off, in part to avoid burn-out, and because weekends are for family time.

This approach is an example of Guided Immersion and Spaced Repetition System (SRS) in action. It’s a focus on high-frequency words and ultra-useful phrases, but it’s fun and engaging.

After 5 weeks I felt confident speaking in Russian. Although I had to continue to develop my language skills, I understood and spoke the language comfortably.

Is Guided Immersion the Language Learning Method for You?

There are plenty of options out there for you if you want to learn a new language. But OptiLingo’s Guided Immersion method is the only one that combines three highly effective language learning methods. Once you get started with the OptiLingo system, I guarantee you will succeed in reaching your goal. In fact, you’ll wish you had started sooner.

Outdated language learning methods have discouraged countless people. Vocabulary drills and dry grammar lessons are the reason many don’t even attempt to try. Guided Immersion disproves all of those theories. Built from proven language learning methods, this program is fun, engaging, and effective.

Others say they don’t have enough time. Learning a language can be a long process. Trust me, I’ve struggled with fitting language learning into my schedule too. But luckily, 30 minutes a day is all you need to successfully acquire a language if you use Spaced Repetition. Guided Immersion utilizes this technique to give you the greatest advantage of learning a language. Included in the OptiLingo mobile app, it’s also travel-friendly, so you can take it with you on your commute, so you never waste precious time again.

Guided Immersion doesn’t discipline. It’s as stress-free as a language learning app can get. There’s no need to cram for tests or worry about grades. You get to learn your target language at the pace you want.

The simple truth is that learning a language is not hard. With the right system, you can do it. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s just what happens when you use a system focusing on quality rather than quantity. Fortunately, OptiLingo’s Guided Immersion is exactly that system.