Have you ever had a sudden boost of confidence after realizing progress? In my case, I work hard every day and that usually results in a general feeling of progress. This also means that suddenly realizing progress and therefore getting a boost of confidence, is a rare feeling to me.
About a week ago, I was talking to my awesome LP/Friend and he mentioned that my Korean seems to improve a lot faster lately, and that he could feel my progress even though it hadn’t been long since we talked the last time. I was happy as always, but I didn’t really think more about it until this weekend. Last Friday I had my usual italki session, and my teacher told me that my Korean indeed improved noticeably every week, which caused me to think about how that could possibly be? Where does all this progress come from?
The friend I talked about in the beginning of this blog post, is definitely one of the best language partners you could wish for, so shouldn’t I be making less progress when we don’t talk for a little while, rather than making a bigger progress?
I have been thinking about this all day yesterday – I mean let’s be honest here! We all want to know where our progress comes from, so that we can improve even more, right?
Anyway, today it finally hit me. I was looking through my conversation with another LP, and I realized that I hadn’t written anything in English for almost 2 months. After going through a few other conversations I could see that I was generally not using English anymore, with several LP’s. This answered my ‘Where does all this progress come from?’ question, but it also gave me another one. ‘How did this happen?’. I most certainly haven’t done it deliberately and if you asked me to stop using English, then I would probably have told you that it wouldn’t last for long. I didn’t decide to stop using English.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized what these specific LP’s had in common. None of them are confident in English and these specific LP’s aren’t really interested in learning it either. They just like to help people who are learning their language. This is when I realized that my still-quite-lacking Korean, has become better than their English. This obviously means that when I feel lost or have a question, I always ask in Korean, since I at this point feel like I understand their explanation in Korean better, than when they try to help me in English.
I speak a lot of English with my good LP/Friend, since he’s fluent in English and therefore I understand his English explanations a lot better than if he explains it in Korean. Also, when I’m in a hurry or if I’m doing something else while talking to him, I usually use English until I’m finished with whatever I’m doing, as it is a lot easier when I don’t have to look up words or focus too hard on writing.
This however, simply isn’t a possibility with the other LP’s anymore. I’m forced to look up grammar and vocabulary all the time, and I’m forced to create complex sentences that I would never have tried to make, with some of the other LP’s. Either that, or I simply have to only have super simple conversations and since I’m able to do this in Korean already, I wouldn’t be using English anyway. Now matter how I twist and turn it, I’ll only be using Korean. This of course also means that I make a lot more mistakes, but my LP’s always understand what I mean and I always understand their corrections, so I suppose those mistakes are pretty useful anyway.
This sudden (and honestly quite shocking) realization, has caused a big and sudden boost to my confidence. We can all probably do a lot more than we think. It also made me think that I should put more effort in my other conversations as well, and more importantly I should stop choosing the easy way as often as I seem to do.
I think I’ll start making dinner now, and then return to my Korean books and maybe even my drama. Remember to celebrate your progress! 🙂