When do you stop being a learner?

lplateWhen learning a language you may wonder when you’ll stop being a learner and become a speaker. This depends a lot on your own attitudes and ambitions, as well as those of native speakers of the language you’re learning.

If you’re aiming for a high level of proficiency in the language then you could claim to be a speaker rather than a learner when native speakers no longer comment on your linguistic abilities and treat you as if you were a native as well. Although this won’t happen if you’re learning a language such as Chinese and don’t look Chinese, except on the phone.

If you just want to use it to get by when visiting other countries or talking to foreigners, you could think of yourself as a speaker even with a basic knowledge of the language.

There are some learners, however, who aim to improve their knowledge of languages constantly, and may always describe themselves as students of particular languages rather than speakers. There’s always more vocabulary and different styles of language to learn, as well as more to learn about the culture, history, music and other things associated with their languages.

For some people, the idea that you may never finish learning a language is not a welcome one. Others see language learning as an endlessly fascinating adventure.