As young children, we acquired our native language(s) because of relevant, personalized, compelling comprehensible input. Unfortunately, this is what is lacking with most foreign language programs. Fortunately, in today’s digital age, finding solutions is easier than ever, once we know what to look for.
Appropriate input can include videos, music, television, news articles, podcasts, books, conversations, sports narrations, and more. You’ll be glad to know that it’s possible to find TONS of it for FREE! Explore these ways to access, adapt, and/or create comprehensible input… all excellent ways to accelerate your way to the proficiency you want!
Since comprehensible input is so crucial to developing fluency, you may want to seek out additional resources, too. As you evaluate their usefulness, just make sure that the “level” is not too difficult for you (not frustrating) and the content appeals to you personally. Also, extended contexts are highly preferable to disjointed, rapidly changing contexts— in other words, stories and other connected discourse are best. Plus, they’re just more fun. Win-win!
To find comprehensible input for the foreign language of your choice, simply google the words “comprehensible input” along with the name of the target language (e.g., “comprehensible input mandarin chinese”). Then evaluate the search results according to the criteria above. Try to spend a little time each day with a good comprehensible input resource.
Things NOT to worry about just yet: Perfection. Grammar (conjugating verbs, learning structures). Translation. Making the sounds correctly yourself. These things have more to do with output than input…and that’s putting the cart before the horse. You can’t give what you haven’t received, so don’t fret over spending the time you need soaking up input. Relax and enjoy the input.
If you decide that you want to go with a curriculum, I hope you’ll consider Excelerate SPANISH. It was created to provide relevant, personalized, compelling comprehensible input—via scenarios that resemble real-life situations, imbued with humor, and rich in content.
I hope this post helps with your personal quest. If you find some really great free resources and think we should all know about them, please pass on the good news!