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Does fluency involve an "epiphany moment"

  Tags: Epiphany | Fluency
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
47 messages over 6 pages: 1 2 3 46  Next >>
owshawng
Senior Member
United States
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 Message 33 of 47
21 November 2007 at 5:10am | IP Logged 
I had an epiphany moment last week. At the end of my first immersion day I realized I wasn't translating from Mandarin to English, I was understanding and thinking in Mandarin. I retook a listening comprehension test at Chinesepod and in one week I had jumped from Elementary-low to Intermediate.
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Iversen
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 Message 34 of 47
24 September 2008 at 4:05am | IP Logged 
My Latin is a strange creature: I have more or less ignored it for at least half a year, but last weekend I spent some time reading a modern latin newspaper on the internet, and I also found a reference to a program in Latin from the German TV station 3Sat. And lo and behold, I could understand not only the written text, but also the spoken clips. More than that: I could to some extent think in Latin, which is the first stage before speaking it - the present chaotic babble just needs some (= a lot of) streamlining, pruning and error checking, then I'm ready to try it out on the pope in case he comes by.

Sometimes it helps to work hard for a time and then leave a certain language alone for some months - just as you do with wine in a cellar. Right now I try to use the positive momentum of my 3SAT experience to convert a hitherto purely passive language into an active one, and the goal of course must be to move Latin into the sphere of at least basic fluency.

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rolf
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United Kingdom
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 Message 35 of 47
08 October 2008 at 6:01pm | IP Logged 
I would like to know - is it possible to have the epiphany moment without immersion in the country?

I am one of these people who has a great fear of speaking a foreign language in the country.

I'm not afraid to use it on vacation. But making a commitment to live there for at least one month and arriving and not being almost fluent - this is something that scares me.

How about the famous polyglot Giuseppe Mezzofanti? From what I understand, he never left Italy.

Becoming fluent before immersion - that is something I would like to do.

Is it possible?

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Iversen
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 Message 36 of 47
08 October 2008 at 7:27pm | IP Logged 
An epiphany moment can be defined as finding yourself in a situation where you suddenly can do something which you couldn't do before (and becoming very happy as a result of this), usually after you have been trying hard for a long time to get there, seemingly without progress. The cases I have described in this thread always concerned passive skills, but in principle it could just as well be active skills that suddenly 'clicked in place'. I have certainly experienced rapid progress during trips abroad, but the kind of sudden and unexpected ability to do something that we are talking about here isn't a gradual but fast progress, - it is more like a sudden change in the way you perceive a language. And you are really more likely to be surprised in this way if you're NOT in an immersion situation, where you have the expectation to progress.

And I don't see why you should be afraid of traveling to a foreign country without being totally fluent beforehand, - you'll learn it fast, provided that you have at least enough fluency to enter into simple conversations with the local people. On the other hand it is perfectly possible to learn to think and speak and write fairly fluently in a language without being there, but it is difficult to know about all the facets of daily life in a country without actually living there. And both cultural awareness and skills in performing informal smalltalk about nothing belongs to the definition of truly advanced fluency.


Edited by Iversen on 08 October 2008 at 7:33pm

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William Camden
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 Message 37 of 47
12 October 2008 at 5:49am | IP Logged 
It has sometimes dawned on me that I can suddenly do things in an L2 I couldn't six months ago, but language learning is more like building a structure from the foundation upwards than like having a sudden flash of inspiration or "epiphany moment".
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fsc
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United States
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 Message 38 of 47
23 November 2008 at 6:38am | IP Logged 
I think this was a great topic idea.

I can't speak for fluency as I have only been studying French for 16 months. I do find there are times when things click for me. However, these times are soon followed by months of what sometimes feels like moving backwards. I will have a day when I find I am understanding a lot of a French podcast, but then go for months afterwords where it seems I can't understand anything. Progress is slow and gradual and doesn't always seem to be forward. Sometimes I will spend weeks studying advanced things and be doing well, only to go back and review an older basic lesson and find I am having trouble with it. It is nice to have one of those moments when things click but for me they don't last and they don't seem to take me to a new level. It seems like I just go back down to where I was.

Edited by fsc on 23 November 2008 at 6:40am

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ymapazagain
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 Message 39 of 47
23 November 2008 at 8:19am | IP Logged 
As I woke up this morning I realised my first few thoughts were in Spanish. I can't remember what they were but I remember clocking it and thinking it was pretty cool!

I think any moment like that, when your target language makes its self present without you actually intending it to feels like a little epiphany moment.
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wharrgarbl
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United States
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Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 40 of 47
25 November 2008 at 5:44pm | IP Logged 
In Mexico I met a guy who spoke three or four languages, and he told me that you know you're fluent in another language when you start having dreams in that language.

So that's probably sort of an "epiphany moment".


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