“Language Immersion for Chrome is an experimental extension that aims to simulate the experience of being immersed in a foreign language. By switching certain words and phrases from English into a language of your choice, the websites you already visit can provide a way to experience the world from a different perspective.”
This is the pitch for the newest language device by Google. I am not a total fan of machine translators as I know the human element is still far from perfected, yet I do know that they are getting better I must confess. What I am a fan of is trying to immerse oneself in a language just about any way possible.
I tell my Spanish students to visit the local tiendita, read signs everywhere, listen to families at Walmart, turn on the Spanish news, novela, fútbol game or radio station, grab a newspaper at the local panadería, listen to pop music and learn the lyrics, get invited to a quinceañera or just a latino friend’s house for a gathering. I know many people who have never left the US and are able to immerse themselves right at home. It is possible and this Chrome extension is one more piece of that important torta.
Just as when teachers are learning language teacher methodology they are taught that no one method is the way to go and so it is with immersion. A student serious about learning a language has to look for every opportunity. She may not be able to live abroad for an extended length of time. And even if a person does, one has to be careful not to fall into ex-patriot traps and see little of the locals. The student must immerse herself everyday at every opportunity. A language immersion camp like Immersion Island is just the ticket for a week of local, intense and fun immersion. But this must be in addition to the likes of Chrome’s new immersion extension and all the other opportunities mentioned above!
Pues, ¿Qué estás esperando?