I am having bucketfuls of trouble understanding spoken Spanish at regular conversation speed.
I know the grammar, the tenses, all that fun stuff. My vocabulary is still lacking, but I know the important stuff. Via text chat, I can carry full conversations for hours.
But as soon as someone opens their mouths and starts talking, I turn into an instant moron.
It's not that I can't HEAR them... see, I recognize most of the words. But my brain can't keep up. I'm like a child who has just learnt how to read, needing to look at each word and process it in their head. As an adult and "fluent reader," you see groups of words and instantly understand the meaning of whole sentences at a glance.
Same with spoken languages. When someone talks, you don't really "process" it word by word. You just understand.
Since I still need to translate most spanish in my head before I can understand anything, I hardly understand anything. I'm too slow.
So I'm sitting here, wondering how long it's going to take me to get fast enough.
And I recall that winter a few years ago when I learnt how to ride a unicycle. If you read my book you've heard the full story. Basically, I was out practicing every day for a month. I got on, fell. Over and over again. I was lucky to execute 3 pedal revolutions before falling off. Every day it was like this. Until one day, suddenly -- and completely unexpectedly -- I watched myself, shocked, as I rode down the full length of our street.
It was not gradual improvement. I went from being able to ride 5 meters to 50 meters, instantly.
I hope it will be, and I suspect it will be the same with languages.
I could be wrong. If anyone else has been through this process of language learning, and you recognize this, I would appreciate ANY help.