IRL

People Reveal The Moment They Knew They'd Become Fluent In Another Language

In today's interconnected world, learning foreign languages is an invaluable skill. The younger you start, the more success you will have - and that eureka moment when you realize you're fluent can blow your mind.

Stallin_Grad asked polyglots of Reddit: What was your "Holy cow I'm fluent now!" moment?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.


10. Goals.

When I forgot to read subtitles.

Get_on_my_Nick

That must have been a crazy moment when you realized.

Marshallton

I was at a movie theater and some dude in front of me was blocking the subtitles so I was struggling to read them. After like 10 minutes I just realized I could just listen to the movie, I'm not sure why I'm even trying to read the subtitles.

AxeLond

9. Jumped to the right conclusion.

When a 4-year-old girl said to me "hay una rana en el cuarto de baño de chicas." I was like "there's a frog in the girl's bathroom? No, I probably just heard that wrong" and sort of brushed it off.

It turned out there was, in fact, a frog in the girl's bathroom.

DuquesaDeLaAlmeda

It seems you translated the sentence incorrectly (EN->SP), it sounds too robotic; a better translation would be: "Hay una rana en el baño de chicas". You over-translated.

7/10 - See me after class.

Cred0free

8. Kids can learn unlimited languages.

I didn't really have that moment. I learned English mainly through watching videos on the internet. Whenever I didn't understand a word I'd just ask someone.

I don't remember a specific moment or anything. I just remember one time I couldn't pronounce the difference between 'dog' and 'duck', and when I got more contact with the internet about two years later, I was watching twenty-minute Minecraft videos on YouTube with no difficulty understanding them whatsoever.

It might have been because I was quite young.

DiamondEscaper

You even learned the grammar from videos, too? That's cool!

falconfetus8

This is how I learned English too, I distinctly remember not getting the difference between 'my' and 'mine' and then figuring it out. Same with the past participle of verbs.

And now I'm an English teacher and though I understand if students are struggling with the grammar or something, I just can't relate to it.

cettemademoiselle

7. Machen your skills known.

I argued with some random dude in German.

Carlos-Us

6. The drama.

I speak only very loose Spanish, but one time in Walmart a guy was yammering in Spanish to a poor clerk who clearly couldn't keep up with what he was saying. I asked, in Spanish, if he had a problem—among the mile a minute Spanish I picked out enough to realize he was going to his niece's birthday—and we were in the card isle. I asked him how old she was and gave him a Dora the Explorer card for that age. He tried to give me a twenty but I wouldn't take it.

Ticklish_Kink_Wife

My Spanish is very loose. When I was in college I worked the dorm offices. My boyfriend/co-worker at the time was Mexican and spoke Spanish. He had a friend who was a foreign exchange student from Spain. The foreign exchange student, had an issue getting his mail. The mail clerk that day was a fat, lazy, slob of a human being who continually asked people to switch shifts to get out of work.

Anyway the foreign exchange student came to the office and started complaining to my boyfriend in Spanish about not getting his package that he needed ASAP. This was right before spring break and he was going skiing the package was his ski goggles. The packed showed it was delivered, but they hadn't sorted it into his box yet. It was not a big deal to search for a package for a student, it was a small campus. We did it a lot.

I pick up enough of the conversation to look at him and go "Did that b!tch not give you your package?? Did she look for it?" He gives me a slightly terrified look and shakes his head no. I take him back down to the mailroom and search for his package which was right on top. He signs for the package, as we're walking back he asked where I learned Spanish. I explained I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous. He responds, you know just enough Spanish for me to know never to talk about you in Spanish.

vengefulmuffins

5. We love accents.

I had two Americans complimenting my English and saying that they couldn't hear any accent at all (I am from Denmark).

_respelier_

Same thing, but I'm always like "WTF" when americans say someone has no accent when I can clearly hear one.

Foxi_Rainbowdude

I hear quite a lot of this kind of thing and it seems an American thing in particular. Maybe to Americans nobody has an accent unless they speak like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

C477um04

4. Did you do your daily lesson?

When the Duolingo bird gave my family back.

Sushisickle

He still has my family.

AMillionLilSepLosses

あなたのかぞくはほしいですか? あなたはそれを請います。

TurtleMaster06

Sorry but your first sentence should say kazoku wo or kazoku ga hoshii. Your family isn't the subject of the sentence rendering the participle ha (wa) appropriate since you are the subject (implied the question is asking you) and your family is the object. Really should be participle wo but in my head it sounds better with ga.

Also in your second sentence it's unnecessary to say anata wa because you already established in your first sentence who the subject is. Not wrong, but redundant.

Not trying to be a butt, just helpful. Japanese is a difficult language.

coldcurru

This man Duolingos.

Figrossmann1

3. Generally a good sign.

When I started to actually understand what they were saying, instead of guessing based on the words I knew and what happened.

ItsAPandaGirl

I guess you could say,

no really you could say or speak in a different language.

Actic_Reddit

2. Bon!

When a train announcement was made in French, then English. I realized when the English announcement was made that I didn't even notice that the first one was in French. I understood it without having to think about it.

haawc13

Sometimes people would ask, "when you had that conversation, which language were you speaking?" and I honestly couldn't remember if I had it in French or English.

chevymonza

I had a friend who once switched from English to Norwegian in the middle of an angry rant (Norwegian was her first language). We all just stared at her blankly until she stopped and asked what was wrong. She had no idea she'd changed languages. It took her a minute to even process that she'd done it!

cnfmom

1. Mission accompished.

When I started thinking and dreaming in that language. And when I started forgetting how to phrase some things in my maternal language.

female1234

Same here. I was like "wtf" when i knew what the word meant (for example, chimney) but couldn't rephrase it in my own language lol.

OutrunYourReflection

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