It would be awesome to be to be fluent in a new language!
I had some thoughts today that I like to share, because they make me feel very excited and I hope that they do the same for you! The thing is, I remembered that I learned English as a second language (I'm Dutch) - which made me conclude that there was a time that I didn't know English! This is logical, but it's easy to forget because the language comes so natural to me now. I remember that when I was really young I was playing this computer game called "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis". There were these things called "bones" lying around (and since it was a game with big pixels I couldn't judge from the picture what it was, we played the demo version of this game from a floppy disk), which made me wonder - why are there "beans" in this dungeon - bonen is dutch for beans! I also remember learning the words "push" and "pull" from this game, as these were actions (from the menu) that you had to do quite a lot (it was an adventure game). Anyways, these memories prove to me that there was a time that I couldn't speak English, which like I said is really hard to imagine right now.
Well, now I am learning Spanish. I am halfway through my tree and I notice that I can understand more and more. I did a bit of immersion yesterday and I could actually understand quite a lot. I listened to some spanish music from one of my favorite movies (diarios de motocicleta) and I remember not understanding any of those lyrics, I wasn't even able to discern the words - now I understand most of them.
Still, I can't really imagine what it would be like to learn Spanish. I mean, learning English opened up so many new things to me; I have read great english books, I am able to connect with you, I can talk with many different people and have gotten to know their cultures, the list goes on. Charlemagne already said that having another language is like possessing another soul. I can read Spanish books, learn about Spanish cultures, listen to Spanish music and radio shows... these prospects makes me very excited! So, while I may dabble in many other languages (and I may actually become fluent in some of them as well), I have decided that I will dedicate myself to learn Spanish as my third language. So, first step is getting this tree finished!
I am really curious to read your experiences with learning languages. Do you have actual memories from before and after you learned them? Can you imagine what it's like to be fluent in your target language? How would that change your life?
currently I'm only fluent in my native language, English, but I really hope to become fluent in German soon. having a greater knowledge of German is giving me a taste of what it must feel like to have two languages in my brain.
also, do you have any tips on becoming fluent in another language?
Cool, I hope that you will be successful! :)
I think that if you want to become fluent you need to do many different things; study German grammar and vocabulary, learn German idioms, read German magazines, magazines and book, listen to German music, have conversations with German people, write German letters/emails/reports, et cetera. I think if you really immerse yourself in the culture that you get the best results. You need to practice the language in many different ways and contexts, because you also use it in many different ways and contexts.
I think Duolingo is great, but it is not enough to really learn the language that I am learning. It's a good start though. My own plan is to finish the Duolingo tree and thenn work through a course book... after that I have no specific plans (the tree and the book are enough work for now, when those are finished I will then decide what's next), except that I want to visit Spain this year for practicing the language (and for a holiday).
Eigentlich ist es ganz einfach: Du musst die Sprache regelmäßig benutzen. Jasper hat recht, dass es tausend Wege gibt, das zu tun. Aber mir persönlich hilft es am meisten, wenn ich nicht nur lese oder höre, sondern selbst in der Sprache Sätze formuliere.
Wenn du mit jemandem Deutsch sprechen kannst, ist das perfekt. Wenn nicht, dann versuch wenigstens regelmäßig etwas auf Deutsch zu schreiben und es von Muttersprachlern korrigieren zu lassen.
I am a native English speaker and currently don't speak a second language fluently. In high school I took 3 years of French. I wasn't fluent, but I could catch enough words to get the general idea of what was being said. It always took some level of concentration though: it was never natural. I never had any real breakthrough moments and was mostly learning because it was a graduation requirement. When I was finished with my requirements, I let it slip away and never really looked at it again. Almost a year later I went to Paris with my sister who had been studying abroad. When we went anywhere or were expecting to need to converse I would listen carefully and try to make out what I could remember. But at one point, we were on the metro and a women asked me a simple question, "Quelle heur est il?" (What time is it?) I wasn't expecting conversation or listening carefully to try to understand, but somehow, this short little phrase came in all this time later and without effort, pause, or thought I simply looked at my watch. I was suddenly taken aback by how natural my understanding was and I quickly replied with the time. Not a big moment, but it changed the way I thought about learning languages and has helped me lot since I started trying to learn German. I've been wanting to learn German fluently and I practice in my free time, but nothing too structured. I listen to a lot of German music, news, and tv, and I try to read headlines from German newspapers on a regular basis. In the beginning, everything just sounded like nonsense. Over time though I've caught on to the cadence and how individual words are parsed in conversation. I can pick out almost any word I hear and know enough about how it's probably spelled that I can look it up online or in a dictionary. Learning a new language is time consuming, slow, and sometimes just hard. When I get to those moments where I feel stuck and I won't understand or learn anything more, I think about that moment on the Metro and remind myself that even when it doesn't feel like you're learning, It's happening. Even though it doesn't feel natural yet, it will. This has been my experience with learning German. Some things are effortless and I hear them as if they were English, and there are many more that I miss entirely and the majority require a fair amount of focus. But I'm slowly progressing. Hopefully, someday when I least expect it, it will all come together and what was once hard will be second nature. I would also like to pick up where I left off with French and work toward fluency. I think learning a 2nd language fluently will help me learn more languages. I'll have a roadmap at that point: the ability to look back and remember feeling the same plateau or stagnation I felt learning my second language. Hopefully I'll be able to use that as motivation to keep working, give it time, and have faith that it will eventually come together, and probably quicker than I expect.
Thank you for posting this! After reading your post and thinking about my own experiences I feel very encouraged and have a renewed resolve to learn German!
hey guys, as im from luxembourg we have it very easy with multiple languages, we speak luxembourgish as native and learn german and french from the early age, english a little bit later, what helps u very much from the start to get into langs. my family is more from the german side and so i would consider myself native in german 2. The best thing is to travel to a country where the language is spoken and try to get into the culture and feel like an inhabitant. it hlped me 2 get my french on a high level and a good dutch aswell. at the moment im in australia traveling and practising english. i already felt after 3-4 weeks that my english got way better because im in contact with native speakers
Currently I'm only fluent in English, but I know some Spanish after learning it in school. I'm learning Dutch on Duolingo, but I'm not very far in it.
I think my situation is somewhat similar to yours. There is English, and I hardly remember the time when I didn't know any English. But computer games definitely did play a role in learning it. :) I dimly remember "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis", but I actually don't remember learning English from it. There may have been a German translation of that one... Or maybe there wasn't. I guess this answers your question about memories from before learning English.
As for "memories after you learned them", I don't think that you're ever finished with learning a language. Even with English, I'm still learning (and I suppose so are you). And that's it for languages I'm fluent in: My native German and English.
Your Spanish might be my Irish. I'm not there yet (and actually I feel I won't be anytime soon), but I do notice how my skills have improved a lot since I first spent a few hours to translate a few very simple sentences into Irish just to see whether I could do it. (It turned out I could. With almost zero knowledge about the language and just a grammar reference (GnaG) and a dictionary. Seeing a new language as just a logic puzzle was an interesting experience.) Now I can get the gist of children books and don't feel completely lost even without a dictionary.
Then there's Dutch. I really only spent some time learning Dutch because why wouldn't I? It's as easy as it gets for a native German speaker who also speaks English. I'm not too bad at reading Dutch and okay at writing, though the latter with a limited vocabulary. I feel I could become fluent in Dutch in relatively short time, but I don't really have the motivation. I don't have any Dutch people to talk to, and my written language is good enough for what I can make use of it for (which still isn't much). You didn't write anything about your German, maybe this is your German?
And then there are those hundred other languages. I was more interested in learning about them than learning to speak them, so there's little hope I'll ever be fluent in them.
What would being fluent in Irish or Dutch be like? Honestly, I don't think it would change much. It's unlikely I would get the chance to actually speak Irish unless I went to Ireland specifically for that purpose. It's much easier to meet people whose native language is Dutch (even more so online), but, alas, one common property among you guys seems to be that you prefer English to your own language... As for media, even without being fluent it's certainly nice that I can read the odd Dutch and Belgian news article whenever I stumble across an interesting link. But then, that doesn't happen that often.
Hey! I am fluent in Greek English and German. I would really recommend Greek because then one understands new words which have a Greek root and one understands what their meaning is. Greek is also a very beautiful language.
I actually did some Ancient Greek at school. It was fun and I was pretty good at it, but I haven't been using it since then, so I forgot a lot of it. Though I'd like to get back to it sooner or later. Maybe when there's a Duolingo course for it. :)