Eureka! I understand! - Success stories

I just effortlessly understood a real dialogue between two people in Chinese! How far I’ve come in two months!

At the ChinesePOD Intermediate level they speak half in Chinese and half in English, at the end of one of the podcasts they just kind of freely spoke and I understood…

What an amazing feeling!

Has anyone else had this recently?

I’ve had a similar experience with Spanish, but certainly not after only one month. Maybe 2 or 3. Congratulations mate!

Usually I mark this kind of “breakthrough” on my personal progress chart (I’ve been doing this for about two years) and I describe what the Eureka moment was. It’s a great feeling and I think it comes with having regular contact with the language. I know you have to be happy about this.

Yesterday I was studying a Spanish lesson with LingQ. It was a podcast by a Spanish lady. The audio contained a long preamble by the lady before the lesson actually began and there was no text for it. I found that I could actually understood what she was saying! Of course the fact that she wasn’t talking very fast helped a lot.

Still, I must say David I am impressed by the fact that you can understand a Chinese conversation after studying for only two months.

That’s excellent!

I can’t wait to have one in Dutch! :slight_smile:

I suppose these are like language learning-satoris? Those little glimpses…the more often they happen, the closer you are to understanding the language fluently. It must be a wonderful feeling.

Ah, I misread. I thought you said one month. So what’s been the secret David? Listening, using Google translate and Anki? You mentioned using Google translate to get the gist of a Chinese conversation or content item. I never would have thought of doing that. It makes sense though, using rough translations rather than pinning down exactly what’s being said. It makes you wonder about all those hours people (including ourselves) have spent in classrooms being taught that we need to know the exact meaning of a given text.

First of all let me say thank you to all of you who’ve responded here, you’re a great support and I appreciate this solidarity. I’m proud to be a part of this community:)

@ peter

Actually I only ‘re-discovered’ Anki today when I started reading the All Japanese All The Time (AJATT) blog


which, by the way, is the most hilarious book I’ve read in a long time - I’m sure I was annoying my family with my uproarious laughing - and also very insightful, not to mention priceless for learning American slang.

They secret has been to work primarily with dialogues, as I think the brain responds best to conversations (given that they’re the basis for all communication) starting out at about 1 minute, and getting progressively longer. I describe starting from scratch here

This INTENSIVE and REPETITIVE listening (and re-reading if I had forgotten something) in combination with the EXTENSIVE and REGULAR listening to larger dialogues (I love the LingQ Chinese Podcast, there’s so many cool topics) while reading along in English helped me to accustomize myself to the language very quickly.

I also experimented with transliterating the larger dialogues into pinyin and printing them out so that I coudl read along and create my own vocab lists in the margins/above the words to improve my extensive reading and listening without having to learn the characters, which I think helped me a lot to understand longer passages.