https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

"Accidentally" understanding a language

Today, I went with my mom to the local pharmacy to pick up some medicine. So, living in the United States, usually the most experience I have with Spanish is usually occasional small text written under the English version of whatever is being said (Procuct names, ads for hospitals, ect). And my community don't have many people who even speak Spanish.

But today, this was a little different. We were going into the line and there was an older couple waiting for whatever they were there for. The woman seemed to be from a typical suburban background, and the man was of darker complexion with clothing a general contractor or odd job person would wear. Both seemed to be between mid-forties, late fifties. I think they were a couple because when I noticed them the woman walked up to the man, and they spoke really quickly as she sat next to him. I suspected they spoke in Spanish but they were speaking so quickly and quietly that I didn't catch a word. It just sounded very "Spanish-y", I guess you could say. But then the woman got on her phone, and then presumably tried to pull something up (I did not see the screen because she was behind me) and said "No empeiza, ¿eh?" to the man, who chuckled at her comment. I didn't even think about the words being in Spanish, I thought immediately, "Teléfonos son muy lentos cuando no son en las áreas con el red." Both in English and Spanish, I thought that, and didn't think about it being in Spanish until after my mom and I left!

And then I thought, "Oh my gosh, I just completely understood that and thought about it in my mind in Spanish! I understood her saying "it doesn't start"!" I was kinda proud that, even though my sentence might not be 100% correct, I thought in Spanish about a comment someone else said in Spanish.

Anyone else ever had that happen to them? I'd like to read whatever comments you leave about this happening, it's very rare in my area to hear someone actually speak Spanish in public so it surprised me that I understood the Spanish that I heard clearly. And I usually struggle to remember that verb, so Duolingo actually helped me! :D

February 28, 2016

14 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

It's super exciting when our brains start processing in the language we're learning :D Congrats!

February 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

Thank you, ¡gracias! It is very exciting when that happens, I'm starting to feel like I can understand more Spanish than I ever thought I could before. ^_^ it's a very nice feeling.

February 28, 2016

[deactivated user]

    AGREED!!

    February 28, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CindyFahrb

    That's terrific! Congratulations.

    February 28, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aller2026

    It happened to me at the door of a house where the people living there weren't home, but someone from another country spoke French! It was great until I tried to say "Je parle français un peu!" She couldn't understand a thing I was saying due to my poor pronunciation. :-o So. I've been working hard on my pronunciation as well as reading/writing and grammar. It was very, very exciting to suddenly understand someone unexpectedly like that! A real spark of hope!

    February 29, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xefjord

    There was a time my dad was listening to some new age music in the living room as he did some work. He always bashes me for learning other languages because its a "useless" hobby. But a lot of the new age music has Hindi or Celtic singing in it. I was surprised when I entered the room to hear some new age music in Japanese! And even more surprised to realize I understood every word that was being sung. My father had no idea the song was in Japanese and I felt pretty proud of my Japanese progress at that moment. I also felt a little sorry for my father, because I feel like there is so many worlds of opportunity that he is missing out on by refusing to learn or have interest in other cultures/languages. To him it was just another song, but to me, it was a beautiful poem about dreams and rain.

    February 29, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

    New Age music really is one of the best way to get exposed to new languages. I have a few songs in my own music collection that have French, Latin, Welsh and Sanskrit lyrics, even though the majority of the songs I have is Korean pop, Japanese rock and Vocaloid music (I have a broad taste in music). It's awesome that you can recognize so many of the words in Japanese, I can only pick out several words and three complete sentences for every Japanese song I listen to. XD I'll get there at some point, though. ありがとう for sharing your experience. :3

    February 29, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Xefjord

    Japanese has a lot of resources in regards to listening practice thankfully. Yeah your Japanese will get better. I listen to a lot of Japanese and Korean pop. Chinese pop is nothing like Jpop and Kpop but it you want to try other languages I found that Vietnamese Pop follows the same style as Jpop/Kpop. Just go on youtube and find a playlist full of Vpop and you will see what I mean.

    March 1, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

    Cool, I'll add Vietnamese to my ever expanding list of music to add! I've been interested in Vietnamese for a while, I even plan to do the course here when it comes out, so it's awesome to know that they have pretty good pop music too. I just looked it up and it does sound a lot like K-pop and J-pop!

    March 1, 2016

    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/-Katrina.-

    Wow, that's great! It's fantastic when actually start thinking in the language we're learning instead of just translating it. Congrats! :)

    February 28, 2016

    [deactivated user]

      It's really awesome to know that you are actually picking up on Spanish!!! Congrats!!!

      February 28, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CosmoKaiza

      Sometimes I watch Spanish videos and translate them in French, (my mother tongue), by accident and I start to think that I actually watched the video in French. When I watch tv shows in german, I discuss about them, alone in my head in German. I totally understand what you mean

      February 29, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jackm1123

      You're on the way to being able to think in Spanish! The biggest obstacle on the way to fluency is almost out of the way. It seems that you're getting to the point where conjugation no longer requires thinking because you've become comfortable enough with common patterns of speech and can string actions together. Good luck with Spanish in the future! Quick bit of advice: "red" is feminine :)

      February 29, 2016

      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DragonPolyglot

      Thank you for the correction! I'll remember that. :)

      February 29, 2016
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