Those interested in learning a new language know how much of a struggle it can be. Perhaps you’re not cut out for traditional learning. Maybe learning your target language is turning out to be a chore that even if you do learn it, you still can’t speak or comprehend it. What if the learning process was fun? I present to you the Refold method.
How the Refold method works
Refold is a language acquisition method based on the research of linguist Steven Krashen, among others. It utilizes media and various apps to immerse you in the target language as much as possible.
The bulk of the Refold method consists of watching untranslated movies and TV shows, with subtitles in the target language, or closed captions, at first. You are free to choose whatever you want, too, putting a big emphasis on having fun. In fact, they recommend dropping shows that aren’t fun to you, and not watching things you’re not interested in. You may then branch out into other media types, too.
Another interesting thing about the Refold method is that it recommends focusing on understanding the language first. Once you can do that fairly well, you should start practicing production, or speaking and writing. Proponents of the method argue that production comes somewhat naturally once you learn to understand.
You’re also not left alone in the learning process with the Refold method. They make use of Discord for you to connect with other learners. This way, you can get content as you learn a language and ask questions on any difficulties you may encounter, all the while meeting others who are in the same boat as you are.
With Refold, you'll be able to reach fluency in a foreign language through immersion.
Here's how it works: https://t.co/ackB5FyEG8
— Refold Languages (@RefoldLa) April 11, 2021
Immersing in the method
While the Refold method does seem like a more amicable way to learn a language, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll learn the language faster. In fact, it requires perseverance to do this. Practitioners recommend using the method immediately if you want to learn a language. Your understanding of the language at this stage will be very low, which could lead to frustration. Improvements are also slow and subtle, and therefore, difficult to recognize.
This is why they have guides on learning to tolerate ambiguity, or in other words, letting things go even if you don’t understand them perfectly. Understanding, according to this method, will come with time. There are also several tools the method recommends that should help with understanding, such as pop-up dictionaries, to look up words while watching, and SRS apps, to help with learning vocabulary.
Of course, there are certain drawbacks to using any method, including this one. Some people have commented that the approach isn’t helpful. This is largely due to the method’s lack of treatment with grammar in favor of simply immersing in the language even without comprehension. There’s also the fact that there is a delay in speaking the language. Others have also pointed out how the Refold method seems to downplay traditional learning or studying, saying that it isn’t helpful when it shouldn’t be the case.
Personally speaking though, I have been using the Refold method for a few months to improve my Japanese, and I think it has helped me so far. As for my English skills, the way I picked the language up was by watching YouTube videos. From there, I started being able to speak and write in English. After that, the videos became easier to understand. This is why I believe the method can work, even if I wasn’t consciously using it back then.
Perhaps the process could even be sped up by applying Chris Lonsdale’s principles of language acquisition, which are already very similar to this method, anyways. This method is customizable, too, to fit your own needs, so nobody would blame you if you wanted to experiment a little. With that said, I wish you plenty of luck in your language acquisition journey, and I hope the Refold method works for you.
YouTube: Refold in Two Minutes
Photo credit: The feature image has been taken by Olena Hromova.
Sources: Emis Nikki