Language Immersion: Changing Your Environment

In which I walk you through changing the language settings on all the things!

In an attempt to improve my German I wanted to switch the default language of websites and software I use. Also a friend had just switched their Facebook over for the same reason and I wanted to give that a whirl. Here's how to do that for some common websites/programs.

There is more info on the effectiveness of language immersion in this reference.[1]


If you want a small amount of immersion Facebook is a good place to start. Your friends' postrs etc. will all still be in your native language so it is mostly the settings and menus that will teach you things. Probably most helpful for dates, times and variations on the words 'comment' and 'like'.

1) Go to your Facebook settings.

2) Go to language settings.

3) Click the "Edit" link next to "Which language do you want to use Facebook in?".

4) Select your preferred language.

5) Enjoy.

Google Chrome

Changing Chrome is probably less useful than changing Facebook but at least you learn the words for 'saving' and all the variations on how to open a tab. Also worth noting many extensions change language based on the Chrome setting so YMMV.

1) Go to Chrome settings.

2) Click on "Show advanced settings."

3) Click on "Language & input settings"

4) Click on "Add".

5) Select the language.

6) Click "Display Google Chrome in this language.

7) Close Chrome and Relaunch it.

8) Enjoy.


Actually a lot more useful than the previous two. Especially useful if you are using the suite of Google apps on a regular basis.

1) Go to your Google account.

2) Select "Language & Input Tools".

3) Click "Add Another Language".

4) Select the language.

5) And the variant.

6) Use the arrows to move the language to the default position.

7) Enjoy.


Changing your OS display language is probably going to give you the most mileage. I have only covered the two versions of Windows I had to hand.

Windows 7

In some versions of Windows 7 you can use Windows update for language packs. In others you will need to download them from Microsoft. Instructions for both methods are in the Windows Help.

1) Go to Control Panel.

2) Select "Clock, Language and Region". Then "Install or uninstall display languages.

3) Go to "Keyboards and Languages" then "Install/uninstall display languages".

4) Click "Install display languages".

5) Using Windows Update select the language packs to install.

6) Wait for it to install.

7) Choose the display language.

8) Enjoy!

windows 10

Language packs are now downloaded directly through Windows.

1) Go to Settings.

2) Go to "Time & Language".

3) Click "Add a language".

4) Select your language.

5) Select the region.

6) Set the desired language as default.

7) Select "Options".

8) Download the language pack (and speech/handwriting if required).

9) Don't forget to add your actual hardware keyboard as it will likely be different.

10) Windows will inform you to log off then sign back in.

11) Enjoy!

Android 7.0 (Nougat)

See above. You probably use your phone OS an awful lot and so maximum immersion.

These instructions should also work in Marshmallow. I don't have a device on 5 or lower to test with.

1. Swipe down to access the gear icon. (You can also head to Settings in the App Drawer).

2. Click the gear icon.

3. Go to 'Languages & input'.

4. Go to 'Languages'.

5. Click 'Add a language'.

6. Search for the language you wish to install. The search accepts the name of the language in your language or in that language of choice.

7. Select the localisation of the language.

8. The language is now installed.

9. Drag the language to the top to make it the default.

10. Enjoy!

And here's a little bonus for getting to the end of the article. Your language choice will affect some apps. Here's what Pokemon Go looks like in German!

Tom aus!


[1] Cummins, J. (1998). Immersion Education for the Millenium: What We Have Learned From 30 Years of Research on Second Language Immersion? In M. R. Childs & R. M. Bostwick (Eds.) Learning through two languages: Research and practice. Second Katoh Gakuen International Symposium on Immersion and Bilingual Education. (pp. 34-47).