Since that moment, I have known many times what I first experienced then. Until then, my forays into written French had been purely utilitarian, the completion of almost mathematical exercises. When I comprehended a new phrase it was merely a bridge to the next exercise. Never before had I known the sudden quiver of understanding that travels from word to brain to heart, the way a new language can move, coil, swim into life under the eyes, the almost savage leap of comprehension, the instantaneous, joyful release of meaning, the way the words shed their printed bodies in a flash of heat and light. Since then I have known this moment of truth with other companions: German, Russian, Latin, Greek, and – for a brief hour – Sanskrit.
Taken page 188 of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, the very well-written (in every sense of the phrase) book I am currently reading and which I would highly recommend [affiliate link!]
I’m sharing this quote here because it made me smile – a beautiful description of a feeling I’ve had many times, even if sometimes only for those brief hours.