Learning Language – How Can You Tell You’ve Mastered a Language

I think I get my knack for languages from both my parents. My mom came to the US and really mastered the English Language. It’s not perfect (but frankly I know native English speakers who are worse), but she has come a long way. She sends me her work on occasion to edit but there are hardly any mistakes now. That’s how good she is.

My dad has never taken a Spanish lesson in his life and only been to Peru a handful of times and yet when he speaks: he is understood. His grammar isn’t perfect he has mastered enough that he is able to communicate. It’s very cool.

Dad said once that the moment you know you have mastered a language is when you can listen to a song and understand it.

I agree with this assessment. When I listen to people speak in a language that I have only begun to learn (whether it was Spanish, German, Russian, or French), I found it easy to pick out every four or fifth word that I understood. Speaking has a certain cadence to it but singing is a whole different beast.

For those of you who speak at least a second language: I challenge you to go and listen to a song in that language and see how much you can actually understand. It’s hard no? I still have trouble with German but not Spanish (for obvious reasons).

So to start working on your German, I will leave you with one of my favorite German songs:

Einmal um die Welt (Once around the World)

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