Let's celebrate our victories!

I’d love to hear of your “victories,” your aha moments, your thrills as you progress in your language learning.

I’ll start. Here’s one of mine from today: It was very satisfying today (after over 2 years of Russian) to hear my wife’s daughter say how happy she was that I understood her Russian while my wife and I chatted on the phone with her. Could not be happier.


Great topic and great victory! I took Russian 101 in college and have some idea of that win.

I quite agree that we must celebrate our victories along the way. If we wait to celebrate until we are as solid as a native speaker … well, it’s gonna be a long, long time.

We need to recognize those victories and celebrate them. I love this old song:

I have to celebrate you, baby.
I have to praise you like I should.

Fatboy Slim - Praise You [Official Video]

Lately I notice I’m hearing French a lot better.



Great job Vern, you’re now living the fruits of your labor.

I think its easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. The starting point might have been, I want to learn x because … yolo… which turns into i need to complete the first mini story… which may eventually lead to you in a drunken debate with some hometown hero on the other side of the world. We all have our whys but for some (at least for me) the end point is not very clear. The hunger from the beginning has turned into a necessity to follow through. It’s no longer a matter of understanding, its a matter of precision.

I honestly believe the hardest part and biggest accomplishment was surviving the first couple months. Looped beginner audio, annoying, incomprehensible and irrelevant content paired with thoughts of not logging on tomorrow and what a waste of time this is.

The second time I felt real accomplishment was after my first iTalki lesson. Actually putting the skills to the test was incredibly daunting but was a major confidence boost in the end.


If not six months…

I was carried away by my enthusiasm for French and the sweet promises of Comprehensible Input (CI). But had I known the fine print at the beginning, I wonder if I would have proceeded.

I do have days when I wake up to work my Streak and wonder “How did I get here? Why am I doing this?”

I don’t regret my choice at all and I am satisfied with my results from CI. But looking back to the early days, I see the Fool from the Tarot stepping blithely off a cliff. :slight_smile:

Happily, I feel like I am past the worst part, which is not to say there aren’t some hard bits ahead

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Yes. My endpoint was foggy for over two years. An online tutor asked me what my goal was. I was stumped. When it finally hit me, it was very helpful to both keep going with enthusiasm and notice progress.

My immediate goal is now clearly “conversational” fluency - a much more modest subset of the “fluency” goal, and much more interesting to me.

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I have often observed for very large and challenging goals that the beginning and end or easy. It’s the middle where the rubber meets the road. It’s the middle where our will is tested. And with languages, the only “secret” is to keep going.

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I’m learning English. My mother tongue is Chinese. I think English is so difficult.



Yes, English is very difficult.

Don’t look at how long the road is; after each step, take one more step.

加油! (You’ve got this!)


Another fun experience with Russian today. We were touring Mackinac Island. My wife (native Russian) and I speak Russian from time to time while we’re in public. Sometimes I say a word or two in Russian to random folks or they just hear us talking and then start conversing with us. We met three twenty-something girls and apparently I said something in Russian as they started to leave. One responded in perfect Russian. I asked: “Почему вы знаете русский?” (Why do you know Russian?) Turns out she studies it at a state university from our home state. Working on her MA there. More Russian conversation ensued as it often does and new friends were made. So fun!


It is the most beautiful feeling for me . Around almost 9 million words read and near 5000 hours of listening native like listening starts happening. I have encountered 20 different situations over 2 weeks where I had to hear the german language and understood all of it without straining my mind. It was really a great feeling that even at 4 years of learning German my subconscious mind is still working behind the scenes and there is still improvement going on. One of the encounters included a medical examination by a doctor who went through a questionnaire about having or not having different illnesses. he spoke non stop German for 20 minutes . It was purely based on medical terminology.

From his body language I noticed that he felt so proud of me understanding his questions and instructions fully in German.

The natives speak more sloppily in day to day interactions than on youtube infront of a camera. It is indeed a great feeling that I am starting to understand them and my social life is becoming better and better.


Before my latest Spanish encounter, I spent an hour reviewing the vocabulary that I figured would likely come up. Afterwards, one of the Spanish-speaking people said, “You’ve improved a lot!” I could tell too, actually, because I was stumbling less for words. It helps if, before meeting people who speak a certain language, you’re practicing that language and not some other language!

In a recent session, my Italki teacher (Korean) also said, “I can tell you’ve been studying.” Again, I was studying Korean right before the session (and not some other language). I still fumbled a LOT… so it’s not a huge win, but a little encouragement is great and fuels us to work harder and keep going.


Edited to add: No spectacular wins to report in Chinese. Practicing 30 to 60 minutes every day, probably (?) progressing, just not evident. Not giving up, though.


Inspiring :heart: thank you