Without immersion, I would have never been able to acquire the Finnish language so quickly. Immersing myself for 2–3 hours per day in podcasts, TV shows, and audiobooks allowed me to get to A2 Finnish in only 10 months. The best part was I never once studied Finnish grammar. When I advise new learners on the internet how to start from zero, I recommend a mix of immersion and fundamentals. Immersion provides the sounds of normal speed everyday speech, while fundamentals fills in the gaps like introducing yourself, numbers, days of the week, and colors.
Other learners are quick to comment that this is a “terrible strategy” despite the cognitive dissonance that this process worked for me and so many others.
The cold hard truth is process doesn’t really matter that much
Every serious language learner will develop their own processes or derivatives of others’ processes. I’m finding that time and time again, learners with vastly different processes all eventually arrive at the same place. Perseverance is much more important than process. An inefficient process combined with a duty to persevere to the very end will work out much better than an efficient process with lackluster effort. As you level up in a language, you get access to better and better information by connecting with other learners.
To this day, I’m constantly fine tuning my process when I learn new methods from other learners.
Those who are doing well in their language journey will not criticize someone else’s process
Process is just the tip of the iceberg of language learning. Underneath it is your “why” which includes surface level desires and hidden desires. But your “why” and personal interest alone does not ensure perseverance. Motivation and interest fluctuates with the tides and cannot be relied upon long term. You must have an underlying duty to fulfill your language goals irrespective of your interest. This involves the self awareness to take inventory of your weaknesses, which tend to resurface when you’re tired or stressed.