Ever felt stuck while learning a new language? You put in a lot of effort, but it just feels impossible to move off the plateau? You have a extensive vocabulary, and you understand a lot but when it comes to speaking, you just can’t sound like a native speaker no matter how hard you try? We’ve all been there.
But polyglot Balázs Csigi, a Hungarian-born CEO, shares on Fluent in 3 months some insight on how we can master a new language we’re learning. He says he too experienced the same plateau phase when trying to learn English.
“It’s a language radically different from my mother tongue, Hungarian, and after reaching an upper-intermediate level, I was wondering if I would ever speak like a native. I spent long, endless hours memorizing flashcards and going through grammar books. I diligently immersed myself by reading tons of articles. But somehow I felt very far from true mastery of the language. I could manage everyday situations in English but I was hopelessly far from being mistaken for a native speaker even for a fleeting moment”, he confesses.
Everything changed when he discovered cultural semantics (the study of the meaning of words and phrases and their connection to culture). He then understood that the secret recipe for mastering a language is the following:
“Master every bit of the culture and you can achieve native-like mastery of the language itself”
As for the present day, he says: “I can already write articles in English for native speakers, talk at a conference without grasping for the right word and easily discuss all sorts of ideas (Okay, maybe not particle physics or rocket science but that’s another matter). Mastering English has been an incredible gift in my life. I received a new mindset, a new set of emotions, and a new way of thinking”.