Mastering a language
Mastering a language is more about sense than words, culture than diction, I wonder! Do you agree or dsagree? (Words are important, I know!) :)
The process of mastering a language cannot be meassured by how many words you know or how well you know the culture (even though both help). Mastering a language is when you first read an article or switch on the TV and watch it for a while and only then you realize that it was all in your new language. When you first talk to someone without problems to understand them and (especially) without problems to express yourself and be understood. When you first make a phone call in your new language without having to repeat anything or ask the other person to repeat anything. Mastering a language is when you can discuss the language grammar with native speakers and sometimes know more than they do or when you can help kids and teenagers with their own language. In my opinion and my own experience this is more amazing than earning a master degree at university or learning other skills that people are impressed about. Mastering a language is when you impress yourself. :-)
Good luck and happy learning.
I agree. I think that while words are obviously an essential part of learning any language, one must really integrate oneself into the culture and lifestyle of the language you want to learn. Otherwise it would seem a bit to artificial when the opportunity comes to use it. It has helped me very much in learning Spanish (don´t want to cross the streams here, I know this is German). =) Good point though!