On a language high

My name is Sandy and I’m a linguist.

I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t take drugs.

But I do learn languages.

For me, one of the best feelings in the world is walking into a shop and having a 1-minute conversation entirely in a foreign language. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering:

“A bottle of water, please”

“Still or sparkling”

“Still, please”

“That’ll be 25 crowns”

“Here you go. Thank you.”



My first complete Czech conversation, three weeks after I arrived in the Czech Republic, was enough to give me a high for at least a couple of hours.

After a while though, the highs become less and less frequent. After a few years, I stop feeling it, and knowing that I can communicate is automatic.

Not for me the desire to be perfect, to reach native-speaker like pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary.

I still love the languages; I still want to use them; I still feel frustrated when I can’t quite express myself.

But I crave the highs.

So I learn a new language…

12 thoughts on “On a language high

  1. Hi Sandy,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your post. For me, the feeling of learning a new language (even if I learn just a few words) is exactly as you have depicted it.

    Always keep learning. That’s part of what makes you a great teacher.


  2. Totally understand this post. My Spanish is incredibly basic and I haven’t done any since GCSE a fairly long time ago.

    However, this holiday I was able to walk into a shop and say:

    A Have you any milk?

    B To buy or to drink in the shop?

    A To buy. Do you have semi skimmed?

    B No only full fat.

    A Ok no problem. How much?

    B 1.30
    (I understood and gave her the exact change!)

    A Thanks Bye

    B Bye

    So basic but a total high!! ;-p

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


  3. I studied French and German at school. I always fancied myself as a bit of a linguist but I didn’t get further than GCSE French and German. I tried French at A-level but I dropped it like a hot potato due to the world’s meanest French teacher in the world! (She seemed like it when I was 17).

    Now, as an adult I “love” the fact that I can communicate in both Spanish and German. I can’t describe the feeling of satisfaction I got after reading my first book in Spanish.

    I’m highly innacurate in both languages but I LOVE speaking them and the buzz it involves…. I have to start French again next year!

    Thanks Sandy,



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