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How long did it take for the French language to click

I'm not talking about fluency. It's hard to explain what I'm on about lol. I can give some examples though:

1) You can read words on a page, and you just "get" what it's about. Even though you don't know many of the words on the page.

2) You can listen to stuff and hear each word clearly. For example, the French u and the French e, or une and un sound different to you now. Even though you don't know all the words said in a movie, you get what they're talking about and feel comfortable watching it without subtitles.

The best way to describe the moment it clicks is when you have that "oh wow moment". You're not exactly fluent.

When it clicks is when you cannot say you are fluent, but at the same time, you cannot say that you don't speak/read/write/understand the language. I put slashes, because some people may have only focused on some language skills and not others.

I hope my explanation of the language clicking makes sense.

August 21, 2017



I've been playing around with French for a couple of years now. My schedule (job) doesn't allow me to devote time to language learning consistently, so progress has been slow. I've been on the edge of that "clicking" for 6 to 9 months now. :-/ Sometimes a phrase just is and I don't have to think about it. That's a nice feeling! I also frequently want to use French "avec" instead of Spanish "con" when speaking Spanish. That's kind of weird and amusingly irritating. But LOTS of times French is still just a big slur of what the heck are they saying?! I love it though. It just sounds so unbelievably beautiful. :-)


Yeah, I understand what you mean. I think anyone who is fluent in two or more languages knows exactly what you meant. For me, Slovak was my first language, and I was fluent when I was about 5-6 years old. English was my second language (surprisingly), and it was kinda hard since my family only spoke Slovak at home. To add to that, I was homeschooled, which meant no friends who spoke English. I think English for me "clicked" when I was around 8, when I started listening to English songs and online books, and I could just barely understand them. Sorry 'bout the monologue, especially cause I didn't learn French till I was older. It never "quite" clicked, so I'm still at the stage where I have to individually translate words or phrases.


It took me a year, I'm not fluent or anything, but I can read entire articles now, and even if there are still many unknown words and idioms, somehow I can manage. I can also understand a bit of spoken French but that's a lot harder, maybe because I didn't pay enough attention to pronunciation.


I studied French in middle and high school and it took me about 2 years to really be able to hear each word clearly and pronounce new words I read without having a recording tell me how. It truly felt like it "clicked" one day in 7th grade and I remember it very clearly. Keep in mind I was doing a lot of outside "study" in the form of watching Disney movies and listening to songs in French so I was learning new vocabulary and exposing myself to the listening aspect of the language a lot more than my classmates. It was probably another year or two before I could read larger texts and understand them with any accuracy and it was mostly a matter of picking up the vocabulary. It all depends on the work you put in though. I got the highest score in my class when we took state exams at the end of 10th grade because I studied and practiced the language outside of the classroom and not because I was any smarter or talented.


I'd say you were smart to have studied and practiced outside the classroom. As a result, you ended up being more talented at it too.


For me, this is a continual process and it happens again and again. Just as often, I think I understand something, then realize later that I don't or at least that the reality of what something means is far more complex and varies depending on context. There's also a big difference between getting the gist of a topic and truly understanding it.


French is my first language so I'm not sure, actually. Maybe it clicked at about 3,4, 5 years old??


that's actually a useful answer because a lot of people seem to give 5 years for the magical number of when they became fluent, and 2-3 years as the magical number for when the language clicked and didn't sound like "blah blah blah" to them. When they could actually start enjoying music, movies, tv shows and books in the language. The language clicking means you can enjoy that stuff, but you just don't understand every word your hearing or know every word you're reading, but you know enough that the dictionary doesn't need to be checked every 5 seconds. Then the next stage after the language clicks is fluency.

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