Before we talk about how your furniture can make you speak Japanese or any other language, we need to look into the relationship between culture and languages. In any language learning journey, culture is a necessity for complete comprehension of the language, without culture, a language becomes sounds and gestures devoid of meaning. In this article, we’ll be discussing how remodeling your home environment can help you gain a more in-depth look into the culture of your target language.
The Relationship Between Language Learning And Culture
Language doesn’t stand alone, it is backed up by culture and as for culture, the same applies. The two cannot be separate since they are both dependent on one another. In language learning, it can be hard to implement both into the fold of things but today, we’ll be discussing just how to do that to get the best out of your language learning experience.
Many learners forget that there is an entire culture behind the language they are studying, and as a result, their motivation waivers and they start doubting themselves.
Why am I learning this language?
What interests me about it?
The culture that speaks this language won’t accept me.
These are common questions that flash through the minds of language learners. We often struggle to identify the linguistic and cultural value behind our language learning journey.
But what if we fused the cultural and linguistic portions of the language into one single entity? Is that even possible? The answer is yes, with the right tools and preparations of course. The goal of this lesson in the series is to recreate your target language’s country and culture by shaping it into the environment around you. The environment doesn’t always have to be physical either, it can be your room, mind, lifestyle etc.
Mixing Culture and Language: The Outcome Of An Immersed Language Learning Environment
Okay, I’m studying Japanese at the moment. And so far my room is about 50% Japanese and 50% western. So naturally, I feel balanced knowing that one side isn’t particularly overwhelming me at any point. But in this method, we want to push our target language’s environment to the max – total immersion.
Immersion has long been debated in the realm of language learning as to whether or not it plays a role in achieving fluency. The short answer to this debate is yes it does, but it isn’t necessary. Although one of the greatest benefits of immersion is its ability to balance the scales between culture and language. Remember what I said earlier, the two cannot exist separately, one will eventually falter without the other.
If you’re starting out a learning a language you may want to familiarize yourself with the culture as you begin to become adjusted to the language. The simultaneous exposure to both of these aspects of learning will build a solid foundation for what’s to come later on.
Eventually, as you become more accustomed to either the language or culture you can comfortably ease your way further into your language learning journey.
Tips For Integrating Culture Into Your Language Learning
Here are some ways you can acquire an immersive environment with an even mix of culture and language.
- Eat more of that country’s food on a daily basis.
- Set the homepage of your browser to your target language. As you progress in your language learning skills you can experiment setting other website pages to your target language.
- If the country has a unique writing tool you can try using it while studying new vocabulary words or grammar. For example, in Japan, they have fude pens and sharp pens. What writing tools does your target language’s country have?
- Have some traditional music playing from the country in the background while idle. Music is a great way to set the mood of an environment.
- Stockpile on souvenirs and figurines from your target language’s country. Nothing says “I love a country” better than a collection of memoirs from that country.
- Try to think in your target language as often as possible, even for the simplest of thoughts.
- Decorate your room with items specific to that country/culture. Try wall posters of cultural paintings and traditions. Or if you want something modern you can even find some local art to get the job done. And if you’re really feeling optimistic you can re-furnish your entire home to mimic those of in the country of your target language.
The Greatest Takeaway Of Cultural Immersion
Remodelling your environment is a great way to travel without actually moving. I know it sounds simple enough to hop on a plane and go to your chosen destination, but a lot of people just don’t have that luxury.
This method is a perfect solution to this because it draws from the individuals personal interest of things from their target language’s country. For instance, if somebody prefers the geek-life culture of Japan compared to the traditional arts (me), they can opt for funky pop culture posters and anime figurines instead of katanas, kimonos and tea kettles. That’s the great thing about immersion, it’s flexible.
So the next time you feel like you’re too far away from the country for immersion, remember that creativity and innovation goes a long way. As language learners, it’s important that we always keep discovering new ways to help us through every step of our journey! Find the worksheet for this week’s release below. You’ll learn how to better incorporate culture into your language learning routine!