How Long Till You Were Comfortable With Your Second Language?
So I have a question for all of you. If you have learned a language (living or dead) and gotten to the point were you feel comfortable with it (yes, that is very vague), how long did that take you? Can you think of something that would have sped that up (other than just studying more)? Can you think of anything that you think slowed you down?
I’ll start. The only language other than English that I feel comfortable with is Greek. Of course this does somewhat depend on what I read. Anyway, to get to where I felt beyond intermediate took about six or seven years. And in the last year or so I have felt a personal leap.
What would have sped me up? Well, a few things. 1) If I would have focused on building a large vocabulary early, that would have helped a great deal. 2) If I would have started out very early on reading non-biblical Greek. 3) I spent some time memorizing some Greek text. There are a number of forms and words that this absolutely cemented in my mind. 4) Teaching. I bet this one won’t come as a surprise to much of any who have taught. I have taught two first year Greek classes at local churches and while I was a student I filled in for a couple profs a few times. Great learning experience for me.
What has held me back? 1) In my history I have tended to study in spurts. Consistency is definitely more valuable in language study. 2) I am a slow learner. I only know Greek as well as I do because I work really hard at it. Oh how I wish that wasn’t true! 3) I focused on syntax heavily early on and not reading. I think I spent as much time in Wallace’s grammar while in my undergraduate than I did reading Greek text. I still love the grammar, but more reading and less syntax would have been good. 4) More memorization of medium to large portions of text. 5) Not listening to any or composing much in Greek.
I guess that’s all. Anybody else? I know my comment form doesn’t lend itself to formatting and line-breaks. Sorry! I am planning on fixing it. If you want you can email it to me and I’ll post your responses. You can get my email address on my about page.