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Common Signs You Speak a Foreign Language Fluently

Have you ever experienced a moment in your language learning where something just clicks and your understanding of the language reaches a whole new level? That’s a breakthrough moment and a milestone to remember! For those of you who haven’t got there yet, here’s how to recognize when you’ve hit that all-time high in your language learning journey…

Speaking is the fastest way to fluency. But getting the chance to speak a language is a challenge when you’re not living in the country. What if there was a way to befriend a native speaker and practice any time, any place, totally for free? Enter the Tandem app, where you can speak any language, anywhere.

1. Dreaming in your target language

If you’re a language learner, you’ve probably heard this one before. It’s often believed that when you start dreaming in the language, you’ve reached fluency! The trouble is, most dreams are quickly forgotten, so it could be that some of us reach this point earlier than we realize. Regardless, it’s a great sign of progress!

dream in another language

2. Correcting your own mistakes

Getting to the point where you not only recognize but actually correct your own mistakes is a definite linguistic milestone. It shows you really understand the ins and outs of the language. In general, once you correct a particular mistake yourself, you’re less likely to make the same mistake again!

3. Making and understanding jokes in a foreign language

Humor really does differ between cultures, especially if irony or sarcasm is involved. That’s why understanding why something is funny in a different language definitely counts as a breakthrough moment! The next step is actually making jokes in your target language. If you’ve already mastered this, we reckon you’re totally nailing it!

make jokes foreign language

4. Understanding native speakers on public transport

We’re not encouraging you to eavesdrop on random conversations, but it is a great achievement when you can understand a conversation between two people on the train. Without any context, it’s not easy to figure out what is being discussed. Managing to make sense of the conversation shows you’re fully tuned in to the language.

5. Packing your grammar books away

When you’re ready to put your language learning books to the back of the bookshelf, it is time take the world by storm with your awesome language skills. Breakthrough moment alert! It is a sign you’re ready to practice what you have learned and you don’t need to rely on a book anymore. That being said, it’s always good to have a handy dictionary nearby for your ever-growing list of vocabulary.

6. Quitting direct translation from your native language

All language learners tend to translate directly from their mother tongue into the language they’re learning when they first start out. It’s all part of the journey, so don’t worry if you do this at the beginning too. Once you start actually thinking in the language you’ll find it easier to formulate a sentence without having to translate it first. If you haven’t reached this breakthrough moment yet, try using Tandem’s video-chat feature to have conversations in real-time with native speakers. In these situations, you don’t generally have time to hesitate and think about what you want to say.

watch foreign language movie

7. Watching a foreign film without subtitles

Improving your skills by watching a film in the language you’re learning is one of our favorite top tips. It helps you get accustomed to dialects, accents and general pronunciation rules. Most likely you started off with subtitles in your native language or in the film’s original language, which is a great way to get going. When you no longer need subtitles to understand the film, you’ve absolutely made it!

8. Using idioms in everyday conversations

There are few better feelings than surprising someone with your knowledge of a language. One way to do this is by throwing in some idiomatic phrases whenever you get the chance - it’s bound to impress! The Tandem app is a great way to get to grips with local slang as you can simply ask your Tandem partner to teach you some idioms. Using idiomatic phrases regularly in everyday conversations will make you feel like a local and give you a big confidence boost!

Reach your language-learning breakthrough moment in no time with the Tandem app! Download on iOS or Android now!

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