A Sign of Fluency?

I’ve yet to reach the point where I can seamlessly switch from speaking English to speaking Norwegian. Where I can confidently answer and chat in the language of the country I now call home. Speaking Norwegian, for me, still takes effort, thought and time. In one language I can express my thoughts and feelings fully and in a myriad of ways, injecting humour and a sense of myself in every sentence. In the other I feel constricted, fumbling around trying to pick out the appropriate word and trying not to sound like a toddler. Feeling incredibly self conscious when I do put in the effort doesn’t help one bit.

"That moment when you start to think in two languages at the same time"

“That moment when you start to think in two languages at the same time”

I do find moments where the words come to me, when I know exactly what to say and how to say it. When I know my thoughts are fully formed with words that occasionally include the letter Æ, Ø or Å. And it’s a fantastic feeling but those moments still don’t occur often enough.

Other than in some of my dreams.

I’ve woken up several times in the past year from a dream where the words flowing out of my mouth were not English. And not just in dribs and drabs, a short phrase here and there. Oh no. It was a full on torrent of ideas, thoughts and feelings. A roaring waterfall of words flooding out of me. Though I never remember what I had been saying, there is no doubt I had been speaking fluently in Norwegian. Or at least what my dreaming mind considers to be Norwegian.

One of my Norwegian language teachers had said that when you start to dream in a foreign language that’s when you really begin to integrate the language into your everyday life.  A sure sign of fluency. Not sure what it means if in my dreams I’m speaking some kind of dreamland, made up Norwegian which may or may not actually make any kind of sense or bear any kind of resemblance to the actual language.

Has anybody else experienced this? Have you started to dream in the language you’re learning? And did it make sense in your dream?

8 thoughts on “A Sign of Fluency?

  1. TexasTrailerParkTrash says:

    My great-grandparents on my mother’s side came from Norway to the U.S. in the 1870’s. From what I understand they only spoke Norwegian in their home when they didn’t want the kids to know what they were saying. I consider that a real missed opportunity to pass along the language to future generations like mine. I found a great free website, DuoLingo, for learning languages and have gone through the entire Spanish section (brushing up on my junior high Spanish) and am now going through Italian and Dutch. Just recently they’ve added Norwegian, so yay!

    I bought several books from Amazon.com that are Spanish translations of children’s books and really enjoyed reading them—Charlotte’s Web, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and The Witches (the last four by Roald Dahl, whose parents were Norwegian, by the way.) I really admire you for actually living in a country where you need to learn the language in order to get by. Probably the only way that one would ever really become fluent. I’m jealous. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life n' Whatnot says:

      It really is a shame the language didn’t get passed on, missed opportunity indeed.
      And I came across the DuoLingo site a couple of weeks ago and have been doing the Norwegian lessons now and then. I quite like how they have it set up. Here in Norway it’s really easy to get by with little to no English as most Norwegians speak with at least a basic level of proficiency. On the one hand it’s great that you don’t have to struggle constantly but on the other hand there’s sometimes little incentive to learn and become fluent. I may get there eventually. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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