Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

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…

Comments on: "On a language high" (12)

  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. So great that you can do it!
    And every time you begin with another language you place yourself in “learners shoes”!


  3. 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 🙂


  4. […] was inspired to write this post after reading Sandy Millin’s  On a language high blog post. Sandy is one of the teachers I follow and from whom I learn on a daily basis. In her […]


  5. 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,



  6. […] already posted about the ‘high’ I get when I can successfully communicate in a foreign language. I created my other favourite […]


  7. […] a bit of a language addict. When I’m not trying to learn a new language I always feel a bit like there’s something […]


  8. […] language learning. I even got one or two of the language-dependent jokes, giving me a high each […]


  9. […] often describe myself as a language addict. These are the languages that I’ve had a go at learning so far and the levels I’ve […]


  10. […] or two, a pronoun (usually ‘I’ or ‘you’), or a form of ‘be’. I grab onto these and am super happy whenever I can pick them out. To feel positive about this, I’ve had to learn to not put pressure […]


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