When you’re stuck at that ‘not quite’ phase with your language

I simply had to share this video–‘Skwerl’.  The Youtube title is “How English sounds to non-English speakers”. For me, the experience of trying to follow the dialogue perfectly captured the deliciously frustrating feeling that all language learners get when we feel like we should have the skillz to be able to understand native speakers speaking everyday language, but it’s just not happening.  During these moments, the goal of understanding spontaneous conversation seems so very…… far…… away…….. yet…… somehow… tantalizingly within reach?   You find yourself wanting to laugh along with jokes, even though you don’t really understand what’s happening……. suddenly, the mood of the room changes and you’re wondering why everyone is upset, and you’re still clueless…. wait….pineapple sparklers?…. what just happened?

“What to do?” to progress from this point is where many language learners get stuck.  More grammar? More vocabulary? More listening?   Ask ten people how to get through this stage and you’ll get ten answers, but I think we can all relate to this feeling.

Having said that, I should note the fact that there is nothing quite like the euphoria that comes when this phase begins to fade, and you finally get to ‘surface’ into feeling like an ‘intermediate’ speaker of the language; things start to come together, and you feel like you can begin to connect with people and expand the topics you can talk about…. you still end up experiencing moments that feel like this video, but the scope starts to narrow, and then you’re able to focus your study of specific vocabulary, cultural reference points, etc.

Brilliant idea for a video!

video source:  http://www.brianandkarl.com/

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