immerse + in/into

M56   Sun May 06, 2007 5:48 am GMT
Which preposition would you choose?

"Immersion into/in a language is the only real way to learn to speak that language as only a native can."
Ant_222   Sun May 06, 2007 11:11 am GMT
I'd use "into", because it's rather the target of a movement than just a location.

By the way, the word "only" in your sentence makes it illogical (from a formal viewpoint): a non-native wants to speak a language as only natives can. He can't do that by definition, so I'd omit "only".
Lazar   Sun May 06, 2007 3:21 pm GMT
I don't know; neither choice really seems unnatural to me there, but I think I would prefer "in". I Googled these phrases, and "immersion in a language" gets 12,300 hits, whereas "immersion into a language" only gets 1,260.

But I agree with Ant_222 that the second "only" should be omitted.
Pos   Sun May 06, 2007 7:09 pm GMT
It's from the Latin, in- + mergere = to merge [with a liquid]. I'll vote for "immerse in" since 1) "immerse" implies the object is already in the liquid before it's submerged, and 2) one could claim the "im-" suffix means "in", so saying "immerse into" would be really saying "submerge in into".
furrykef   Sun May 06, 2007 7:48 pm GMT
I'd reword the sentence as: "Immersion is the only real way to speak a language like a native." That avoids the whole problem altogether. :) That said, "immerse" is usually used with "in", even when motion is implied: "Immerse yourself in Spanish!" rather than "Immerse yourself into Spanish!" But "into" doesn't sound bad in that particular sentence. I'm not entirely sure why.

I don't think the word's etymology is relevant. English is not Latin, and current usage of Latin words is often far from etymologically correct (and often "etymologically correct" usages are incorrect English!).

- Kef
Uriel   Sun May 06, 2007 10:03 pm GMT
Generally things are immersed IN, not into. "I was immersed in that book", "Immerse the item in the dyebath for at least 30 minutes", "Immerse yourself in another culture".