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What "clicks" when learning a new language?

I often hear people say that when they are learning a new language, they have some trouble and then one day something "clicks" and all of a sudden it gets easier. I have heard a few people say this, so I am sure people here must have experienced it. WHat is it? Is it word order? cases? I am curious and I really hope it happens to me soon. Thanks!

May 29, 2013



I think that you are referring more to learning style. Some individuals are incremental learners. They just keep building on what they know, and they wouldn't have "clicks" or "Aha" moments

I'm pretty much a concept learner, so I will spend time just absorbing and then, suddenly, it "clicks." This happens for me for everything I learn. It can be frustrating. For example, back in the day, I recall "clicking" during a calculus test. It was awesome at the time because essentially I went from a C on the test to an A on test in an instant. But, it can cause some anxiety.

So, if you don't "click", be grateful, just keep learning the material.

The other thing that you may be describing is those moments when you recognize that your functional use of a language has improved. For example, when it dawned on me that I could pick up most simple Spanish picture books and read without difficulty or realizing that I wasn't as dependent on the English captions when watching Spanish television. These moments occur because you've built up a certain amount of foreign language knowledge, not specifically because you've learned a specific grammar concept.

The other thing I'm wondering about is whether the "click" moment is when someone finally realizes that a foreign language isn't a simple replace an English word with the appropriate foreign language word "code". But, rather that a foreign language is a different way of thinking and therefore there is not a direct word for word correspondence.


For me, it does not usually happen because I know most of the grammar before doing exercises. I had listened to the entire Michel Thomas's course before I got to any grammar connected with verbs, so I only had to reinforce it here. As for cases, first thing I did was finding a table with articles with their cases, so I never had that "click" of "aha, 'den' is for accusative case!!". I just knew it before.

"Clicks" work for those who prefer to figure out the grammar by reading examples. At first, the sentences and endings are very confusing, but at some point it becomes clear. Personally, I don't think this "try and fail, then click!" method is the most effective.


I see what you mean. I was very confused with all of the ways to say "the" in german. Seems like there are 20 different versions, some for masculine nouns, pronouns, feminine etc, dative. I am also reading a German grammar book and they now make more sense, even though I am still getting them wrong, but not as frequently. My problem now is I dont even know what dative case, accusitive case, indefinite articles, and all the otehr jargon even mean in English, let alone german. I forgot all those terms and rules 20+ years ago.


Don't hesitate to make a search when you don't remember some term. Google and Wikipedia are your best friends ;-)


I have a small German dictionary. My mum told me to look into that.


The problem I have is when I search I find TOO MUCH information. Then I am inundated with choices and suffer from information overload. I think like you mentioned, I would prefer to have just a printed out table of articles and cases to refer to. Thanks again!


Ancient Chinese proverb: A Journey of 10,000 miles begins with just one step. Seems to work. My wife said it took about 7 months for her to start talking meaningfully in English. It seems liek a lot of her words are centered on household chores I have not completed.

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