I tend to consume immersion material in one of two modes (to over-simplify a bit):
- Consuming new material. In this mode, I’m typically still looking up words and referencing grammar but not getting too hung up on terms or deep grammatical understanding.
- Reviewing old material. In this mode, I’m typically trying to understand the content and grammar relatively deeply – not necessarily to the point where I’ll definitely be able to understand and apply it first try in a conversation – but as close as I can get without sacrificing too much breadth.
Some emphasize mass consumption of content with little or no emphasis on deep understanding while others recommend focusing on understanding with little or no emphasis on breadth. A typical extreme breadth approach would be to passively listen to raw native content 24/7 and acquire it like it a baby would. A typical extreme depth approach would be to watch the same 1-hour movie 50 times to create a high quality mental reference of native material to pull from. I think that leaning too far toward either extreme is likely sub-optimal for an adult learner and that the optimal range is somewhere in-between.
My current approach is to read 1 chapter of Tobira per week (including Anki cards) for depth and watch at least one episode per day on Animelon for breadth (for each line of dialogue, attempt pure listening first, read Japanese subs upon failure, English subs last resort). When I’m done with Tobira, my plan is to allocate more time to conversation practice and native content consumption. Overall, my approach is fairly breadth-heavy with very little review.
I’m curious to know how you think about managing your immersion time to balance breadth vs depth and new material vs review.