Published On: Wed, Oct 25th, 2017

3 Telltale Signs You’re Speaking a Language Fluently

So you’ve been hard at work learning a new language, and you’re feeling pretty good about it. But how do you know when you officially cross over into fluency? There’s no metric by which to measure whether or not you’re fluent. Language learning happens in stages. So grouping language skills into a binary “fluent-nonfluent” dichotomy is pretty unrealistic. The nature of fluency is that it’s fluid!

photo/ pixabay

But there is a range between scrambling to find an over the phone interpreter and interacting confidently with native speakers. Where do you fall on that spectrum? Are you ready to start calling yourself fluent? Here are three telltale signs that you’re approaching fluency in your new language.

3. Creativity

We usually start language learning with rote memorization. When you begin to speak, you’ll probably find yourself using prepackaged responses in conversation. When someone says ‘thank you,’ you say ‘you’re welcome,’ and so on. But eventually you begin to use language creatively.

Using language creatively means you can come up with phrases that you’ve never heard or read before. If someone says ‘thank you,’ you can say ‘no problem,’ ‘don’t mention it,’ or ‘anytime, neighbor! If you need anything else, just ask!’

You’re looking for the best words to express your thought, not just the usual words. You have options. When you can use language creatively, you can express opinions more easily and debate with more clarity. You can even start to use poetic metaphors and expressions.

2. Dreams

A classic sign that you’re becoming fluent is that you start to dream in your target language. You wake up in the morning and realize that your whole dream went on without a word of English! Characters spoke in your target language, and you may even be thinking in your target language.

This happens when you have automatic associations between objects or ideas and their target language descriptions. So when you see an apple, you don’t have to think of the word for ‘apple.’ You automatically identify it without relying on your cognitive mind to translate.

When you dream, you’re not using your cognitive mind. So if you’re dreaming in your target language, it means that your subconscious mind is absorbing it as well. This is a very good sign, and a threshold on your path to fluency.

1. Humor

You know how they say that humor is the first thing lost in translation? Well, it’s also one of the last things you gain in language learning. Humor in another language is so difficult to understand that even advanced learners can’t always joke in their target language.

Most jokes rely on small tricks of language like double entendre, puns, or cultural references that are elusive to the non-native speaker. If someone’s telling a funny story and you’re able to keep up, or if you are landing jokes successfully with native speakers, then you have something to be proud of!

Using humor is one of the final milestones in language learning, and one of the most rewarding to practice.

Language Learning Never Stops

Of course, there is no final destination with your new language. You’ll be learning new words and phrases for the rest of your life, just like you’re still learning new words in English. And you may never speak quite like a native. But you can still use language creatively, dream in your target language, and use humor effectively. If you’ve noticed these three mile markers, you have entered a new stage: language fluency!

Author: Rilind Elezaj

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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