Small Personal Victories in Language Acquisition
01 Aug 2009
Tae Kim recently had a great blog post titled Memorable Moments in Language Acquisition. It’s a great idea, both examining the various emotional victories that are part of the language acquisition process, and also celebrating them for their great personal worth to the individual learner.
I’ve taken the idea and added to it. It’s similar in some ways to the The 5 Stages to Learning Chinese I wrote here on Sinosplice years ago, but it’s the personal nature of each “memorable moment” that really resonates.
Tae’s original list had 8 items; I’ve removed 3 and added 13 of my own. I’ve tried to present them in the order they would be most likely to occur for an individual learner. Here they are:
18 Small Personal Victories
1. You dream in the target language. [Tae]
2. You send an email, SMS, or IM in your target language for the first time, and are understood.
3. You make a joke in the target language, and it gets a laugh.
4. You befriend someone entirely in the target language.
5. You start using the body language of the target language culture unconsciously. [Tae]
6. You learn something new in your target language.
7. You understand why certain words just don’t translate from the target language into English.
8. You hear someone talking about you in the target language and understand it. (Chances are, it wasn’t malicious, either.)
9. You make a phone call in your target language for a specific purpose and accomplish it.
10. You use a web service in your target language.
11. You no longer remember what the target language sounded like to you when you couldn’t understand it. [Tae]
12. You read a book in your target language.
13. You talk to yourself in the target language (and it doesn’t feel weird).
14. You feel that onomatopoeia in the target language start to sound like the sounds they’re supposed to represent. [Tae]
15. You watch a movie in your target language and realize you didn’t really need the English subtitles.
16. You watch a movie in your target language without subtitles and you have no real problems.
17. You make a phone call in your target language and the person on the other end doesn’t realize you’re not a native speaker.
18. You can’t remember what language a conversation was in. [Tae]
Do you have any to add?