Often when you hear people talking about learning a language, they describe a moment when they “just suddenly understood what people were saying”. Realistically this is not usually a permanent switch from not understanding to understanding, but rather something that happens multiple times in multiple occasions, as the ability comes and goes.
I have not had this experience.
I have not had really anything like this experience, and I regularly seem to understand very little of what people are saying in my target language, te reo Māori. Even when I understand a whole paragraph or conversation, it’s actually just that I picked up a bunch of verbs and nouns and extrapolated really well from the context of the discussion. Sometimes I can translate whole sentences. Sometimes I can “understand” an isolated word or word-phrase without translation.
I wonder what it will be like to understand another language. What will it sound like, when I understand it? Will it just “sound” like English does, in that it doesn’t exactly sound like words but “sounds” like meaning? If I simply “understand”, how do I know which language it is I’m listening to? I would really like to have this experience, and sometimes when I’m not sure why I’m even doing this anymore, that’s my driving motivation – I just want to know what it’s like to understand this language!