Remembering the happy times of language-learning: What are yours?
What were the moments of your language-learning journey that made you feel proud, or when you had that "a-ha moment"? Did you encounter someone and have an impromptu exchange in that language? Did you finish you Duolingo tree? Did you achieve a goal with a streak? Did you travel and find that you got by with what you've learned?
Please share your happiest times of language learning to-date, as I think we need some of that right now.
For me, it is usually the small things. When I start learning a language, I'm happy whenever I understand even a word or two of the language outside of my regular lessons, often in a song or a movie.
As I progress, I'll get enthusiastic if I manage to catch a whole sentence. I love it when British crime series add in a few sentences of Polish from time to time because those are often fairly simple stuff and I'm often surprised at how much I can understand. The other day, I listened to Polish radio and was thrilled that I could understand a lot more than I would have expected, including 25 - 50% of the text of a very simple song.
I recently discovered that some news sites in Spanish (that aren't even specifically aimed at learners) are within my range!
Other things are more gradual. I'm quite happy that I can now catch more than single words when watching "Gran Hotel" in Spanish (though I do watch each episode in German first, which definitely helps XD). I still wonder how anyone can possibly speak that fast, but I'm now catching enough keywords to understand the gist of what is being said (at least in some dialogs). I'll bake myself a big cake if I ever manage to understand an entire episode! XD
Oh, and one of my classmates in my Polish course (and the one that can already speak quite a bit of Polish at that!) recently complimented me that my Polish pronunciation is good. Yay! XD
A few weeks ago I had to give a presentation in German and my teacher said that I could live in Germany and live up to the German's standards. That was definitely a big compliment!
I'm also happy that I can write little paragraphs in Swahili and (for the most part) understand small children stories.
For German, when I was in Germany and was asked where I lived. Told them I live in the States and was told "Nobody speaks that well without living in Germany". That was several years and now I'm reviewing and relearning everything.
In American Sign Language there were a couple of moments. Here's two of the big ones. (These happened before I lost my hearing.) An ASL instructor asked everyone in class to interpret the sentence "Be careful the road is icy." People responded with stuff like "Be careful. Danger! Streets road frozen." After we were all finished, the instructor showed us a correct interpretation which consisted of the sign for "careful" and used a classifier showing a car sliding on the road.
The second American Sign Language moment was when an elderly Deaf woman asked me when had I graduated from the state's residential Deaf school. When I told her I went to my local high school, she asked if I were mainstreamed. I explained I grew up hearing. She was flabbergasted - during our conversation I was using our local regionalisms, old ASL signs, ASL grammar and not pidgin signed English.