Anyone here fluent in a non-native language (not Japanese or Chinese) as an adult?

I have to tell you that I would have no idea you weren’t a native English speaker if you hadn’t mentioned it. There were no errors or weird phrasings in your post at all.

Yeah, I am interested in the Quebec French, in fact more than in the French French :smiley: Thanks, will check.

I’m an English native and have become fluent in French. As many have already mentioned, exposure is what took me from “highly motivated and top of my classes French student” to “happy, fluent speaker”, but boy was it slow due to my anxiety. I often “ripped of the bandaid” and took high-level subject matter courses in French. I took linguistics in French, social justice in education in French, History of the French language, which was a history course and had no margin for language development, Phonology and Phonetics, literature study… basically everything to supplement and force myself to practise what I was learning in my language-acquisition focussed classes.

I also found something I love in my target language to consume voraciously–Let’s Plays. pls dun judge me ;n; i am small and love Bob Lennon and Squeezie… I played through skyrim in French the first time I played it and just… coped? Thankfully, the characters have some gestures and stuff. Then I played every game in French! :smiley: I’m looking forward to playing The Witcher 3 in French after watching Bob play it… I kinda can’t stand English Geralt so I can’t physically force myself to play it in my native language lmao.

Some more beginner friendly strategies that I am employing in German and Japanese are:

  • listening to Disney songs and movies
  • talking to myself in the target language to build confidence for when I find people to speak to
  • not putting too much pressure on yourself and doing fun things! (like watching target-language let’s plays of slower speakers haha)
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Really? Maybe I’m a little strict with myself. I’ve always been prone to underestimating my own abilities. Well, even if I can write pretty well, speaking is a whole different story. I become so nervous that I mess up everything, which is ironic considering that I always tell people that it’s no big deal if their language isn’t perfect. I logically know it doesn’t matter, but my subconsciousness always finds a way to tell me that I need to have an absolutely flawless pronunciation. It’s really stupid.

Does anyone know about Language Difficulty Ranking? How reliable is it (in the term of classroom hours)? Also, my native language isn’t European. It’s Thai.

I have just found this article about language learning strategies. There must be more.

Afaik it was made by a serious body, so they ought to know what they do.

But it works for English only - even for speakers of other European languages of the Indo-European family this ranking would make not that much sense. The further from English, the less.

Although, I am not sure why Japanese is THE MOST difficult in this list tbh.

I’m a native French speaker from Montreal, Quebec.
I became fluent in English by total immersion I suppose, although not a physical one. We do get English classes, but they’re really nothing special. I wouldn’t say it’s totally because of Montreal either. It’s a “bilingual” city, but it’s not a mixed kind of bilingual: English on one side, French on the other. And I live in a neighborhood that is so French, there’s almost more Frenchman than us!

The kind of immersion I went through really was mostly virtual.
When I was still a kid, video games weren’t being translated into French yet, so I had no choice but to get the dictionary out and go word by word. The irony is that when french games became available, I hated them! They’re all dubbed in France French, which to us sounds really cheesy.
Imagine you’re a American from the deep south, you’re playing a serious horror game, and everyone speaks in the corniest of posh British accents. That’s the kind of difference we get, so I just kept everything in English regardless.

So that means that everything I use is in English: my computer, phone, movies, games, bank account, everything. When I play online games, it’s again always on English servers (Even though plenty of French ones with better ping exists).
Talking in games where you talk a lot, like Garry’s Mod or Minecraft definitely helped me perfect talking fast, acquiring slang, and getting rid of old bad habits.
That’s also how I perfected my spoken English. When I talk to myself, it’s always in English. If I notice that what I’m saying sounds wrong, I go listen to people on YouTube and actively correct it (I stick to a English Canadian/West Coast American English).
I think in French very rarely. I do rage in French though :P
I relearned a lot of stuff in English, like math, science, geography and politics.

I’m actually living in English so much that I’m noticeably losing my French, even though I live and work in a French environment.

So I guess my takeaway advice is to not just study a language, but live it, as if it was your own, and you just had some sort of speech impediment to fix.

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Eastern part of the Plateau, by any chance? :smile:

Right on the money!

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By this definition, even native speakers aren’t fluent. I personally like the idea that you’re fluent when you are able to finish someone else’s sentences at any point without pause.


I learned ESL with a classroom method that was very similar to what Duolingo does: wearingly translating sentences to and from the target language. I remember there were lots of homework. In 5 years or so I was able to switch movie subtitles to English and understand 60-70% of what was being said and infer the rest. I also tried reading IGN from time to time. That was in the early 2000s, before YouTube and social media which made things a lot easier.

Playing videogames also helped, especially 90’s point and click adventures and RPGs.

I think learning a language takes a lot of discipline, persistence and exposure, and it helps a great deal if you have fun while doing it.

I also took Japanese classes for many years, but at some point I felt like I wasn’t making much progress anymore (not to mention that presential classes are expensive), and decided to study by myself with internet resources.

Sorry, my wording was inaccurate. I meant that you know every aspect, in other words speaking, listening, reading and writing, without any problems. I know that it’s impossible to know everything of one single language, of course. I also believe that you can be fluent in several of these different aspects without having to master them all.

I was thinking more that nobody really speaks or writes their own language without fault (and if they do, they probably aren’t much fun at parties). Native speakers misspell and mispronounce things all the time and keep using words that don’t mean what they think it means.


I feel that certain people are better at immersion, if they have some traits…

  • are willing guessers
  • are accurate guessers
  • have a strong drive to communicate
  • look for patterns in the language
  • try to classify language
  • analyze language
  • take advantage of all practice opportunities
  • monitor their own speech
  • pay attention to meaning

Also, classroom/textbooks might help teach “patterns in the language”; therefore, a minimal hours of effective classroom time might be needed. Some people might need more dedicated grammar learning time than others.

Also, a word from another blog,… lots of vocab are needed.

Jumping into immersion and communication alone might be enough, but is a must if you have enough basics.

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I think it’s a reliable indication: if a speaker/writter/reader is at ease with misspelt and mispronounced words, then he/she has a strong grasp of the language, maybe fluency.
Tried and approved for French :wink:


Native English, fluent French and varying degrees of fluency in several others. Use or lose it is a real thing; I retained the highest level in French through a combination of years of formal study and regular use once done studying. The others have all atrophied due to lack of use in my daily life.

How about giving an impromptu speech in non-native language. The harder version of Responses-to-Say-Something-In-Japanese.

I can do this in English as well, but definitely not in Japanese…

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