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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 24 5 6  Next >>
SamD
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4848 days ago

823 posts - 987 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French
Studies: Portuguese, Norwegian

 
 Message 17 of 47
17 April 2007 at 7:52am | IP Logged 
Silvestris wrote:
I'm not fluent in German by any means, but I knew I came to a turning point when I started to forget what things were called in English and could only remember the German name!

Not even hard, specific words. Things like 'electric current' or 'influence' would always come out as 'Strom' or 'Einfluss' in English scentences. That, and I had a phase where I capitalized all my English nouns. That confused the hell out of a lot of people :)


This reminds me of an experience I had in a high school French class. We had one-on-one oral tests in which we would go up to the teacher's desk and answer questions in French, mostly about pictures. The most frequent question would be "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" (What is this?) She would also ask what the word was in English fromt time to time. The teacher pointed to a scaffold and asked the usual question. I could remember what it was in French, but I was totally stumped about the English word.

Since then, I've blurted out "champignon" for "mushroom" and "bordeaux" for the color "maroon."
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furrykef
Senior Member
United States
furrykef.com/
Joined 4661 days ago

681 posts - 862 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish, Japanese, Latin, Italian

 
 Message 18 of 47
18 April 2007 at 4:45pm | IP Logged 
A couple of weeks ago I had what must have been the opposite of an epiphany. It was like I forgot how to read and write Spanish. (Forget speaking it; I never learned how to do that in the first place. ;)) Writing e-mails to my pen-pal in Mexico was difficult, and I wrote to him in English much more than usual. I didn't want to read anything else in Spanish, either. I was doing lousy.

Then suddenly I was flipping through my Spanish grammar book (Butt & Benjamin's "A New Reference Grammar of Modern Spanish" -- highly recommended for serious learners) and I fell in love with the Spanish language again. What's more is I think I actually have a better grasp of Spanish now than before I fell into that rut. I think if I really pushed myself, I could make it to the "advanced" level in the written language in a short amount of time, though I'm not in a rush. I don't want to get burned out on the way. :) So I guess I had a little epiphany there. Perhaps all I needed was a break.

As I remarked in another thread, the key to really mastering a language is passion! You still have to use your brain a little, but if you're passionate enough, you'll get there. :)

- Kef

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Silvestris
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4753 days ago

131 posts - 136 votes 
Speaks: English*, Polish*, German

 
 Message 19 of 47
20 April 2007 at 2:17am | IP Logged 
SamD wrote:


This reminds me of an experience I had in a high school French class. We had one-on-one oral tests in which we would go up to the teacher's desk and answer questions in French, mostly about pictures. The most frequent question would be "Qu'est-ce que c'est?" (What is this?) She would also ask what the word was in English fromt time to time. The teacher pointed to a scaffold and asked the usual question. I could remember what it was in French, but I was totally stumped about the English word.

Since then, I've blurted out "champignon" for "mushroom" and "bordeaux" for the color "maroon."


Haha! I sympathize, but it's a great feeling to actually be that into a language that you start forgetting stuff in English. Or at least that's how I view it :)
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Le_Champion
Diglot
Newbie
Canada
Joined 4610 days ago

7 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: French*, English
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 20 of 47
27 April 2007 at 12:38am | IP Logged 
In my opinion the epiphany has 2 steps.

The first step is when you realize that you can understand the language without having to think about translating and it just flows naturally.

The second step will only come if you immerse yourself in the language and are advanced in my opinion.

The next level of epiphany for me was dreaming in the language and thinking in the language.
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Le_Champion
Diglot
Newbie
Canada
Joined 4610 days ago

7 posts - 7 votes
Speaks: French*, English
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 21 of 47
27 April 2007 at 9:11pm | IP Logged 
Is anyone with me on that?
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Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 4628 days ago

4474 posts - 6724 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 22 of 47
28 April 2007 at 4:29am | IP Logged 
Le_Champion wrote:
In my opinion the epiphany has 2 steps.

The first step is when you realize that you can understand the language without having to think about translating and it just flows naturally.

The second step will only come if you immerse yourself in the language and are advanced in my opinion.

The next level of epiphany for me was dreaming in the language and thinking in the language.


For me, it's definitely not like that. I've started dreaming in languages the week I start studying them for the first time. I've dreamed in English, Italian, French, German, Japanese, and Esperanto; I don't think I've dreamed in Persian yet, but I may have and forgotten it. I also tend to start thinking in the language I'm studying fairly soon - as early as the first week or so if I'm taking an immersive intensive course of 6 hours/day with most of the teaching in the target language, as I did for elementary German.

This is actually frustrating in a way, because I find myself extremely constrained in what I can convey, and even think easily about, when I'm thinking in a language where I know at most a few hundred words and extremely basic grammar.

At this point, several languages 'just flow' when I listen to them, but different percentages of the time; my native English generally does, as does Italian, though I can also easily find myself translating along to English at full speed. It happens occasionally for French and German, but I have too many holes in my knowledge of these languages for it to happen consistently.

As for total immersion, I've never experienced it (other than with English in my childhood, I suppose), so, I don't know what the second epiphany level you mentioned is.

Basically, though, I seem to have the opposite order of experience as you do.

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Kathryn
Newbie
United States
Joined 4607 days ago

1 posts - 1 votes
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 23 of 47
30 April 2007 at 12:34pm | IP Logged 
I have absolutely had an epiphany moment in every language I have learned. My favorite was when I met, by chance, my son's French kindergarten teacher on the street in Paris. I fumbled through conversational courtesies, stumbled over answering a simple question, barely got through the closing of the conversation. As I walked on I suddenly realized, "You idiot! You knew everything she said and could have replied perfectly!" I replayed the conversation in my head, with myself responding as I knew intellectually I could, and the next day I was ready. There was nothing anyone could say that I wasn't ready for; no comment I couldn't respond to; no phone call I couldn't handle fluently. It only took that one slap on the forehead.
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MarkTime
Newbie
United States
Joined 4608 days ago

30 posts - 29 votes
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 24 of 47
30 April 2007 at 4:49pm | IP Logged 
It's great to hear about those moments. I have not had one in Russian yet. I do have a series of positive and negative moments though. Watching Его звали Роберт at a party and realizing only the Russians and me were laughing...the other Russian leaners didn't laugh at any joke...because they weren't getting it. That made me feel good, even though I know I was at an advantage for I can read cyrillic, and the other self studiers think they will learn without it (and the subtitles were rolling)..... but then a week goes by and you are watching the news, and suddenly you realize that 10 minutes have gone by and you haven't understood a single story, and you get depressed again.


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