If you’ve spent any amount of time learning languages, you’ve probably had people tell you that one day everything you’ve been learning and studying will all “click” together. I’ve found that these moments do happen occasionally, and they’re incredibly motivating, but it’s a long process, and doesn’t always happen at one particular moment.
I can definitely remember my first “click” moment with German. It was after I had been listening to German from my teacher for about 3 months, was barely understanding anything, and then watched the movie “The Producers.” There’s one line in the movie where somebody starts singing German lyrics, and at that moment, I knew exactly what he was saying. I thought, FINALLY, I’m staring to “get” it. After a semester of sitting in class and not understanding what was being said because no English was used, being able to understand even one line was a great way to motivate me to continue studying. It took about 90 hours to get to that point (I think…I wasn’t very good about going to class that semester because it was so difficult for me. So it probably wasn’t really 90 hours). I wish I could say I’ve had many moments like these. Unfortunately, I didn’t have one with German again until recently when I overheard two people talking about a colonoscopy. Now that was quite a realization–first, that I knew and had read/listened to enough vocabulary that I was even able to recognize what they were discussing, and second, that I no longer had the luxury of being able to not understand a conversation I would have rather not heard!
With Polish it’s been a little different. I can’t say I noticed a particular moment where I suddenly realized I understood more, but looking back I can guess where the comprehension started to improve. For this one it wasn’t until around 280 hours. Yes, that long. I’m not really sure why I had such a sudden moment with German but not with Polish. Maybe because German was my first language and I was so anxious about passing the class that I immediately noticed when I understood more. Or maybe some languages just don’t give you those moments. Whatever the reason, I’m no longer looking for specific points of comprehension. Language learning isn’t a quick and easy process, and even when you have a time where you understand everything, there are many more hours of listening and reading ahead.
But I’m still hoping for a few more motivation moments!