I spoke quite a lot of Manx yesterday and heard even more at a regular get-together of Manx speakers which happens on Tuesday afternoons in Douglas. About nine or ten people turned up and we spoke in Manx for an hour or so. I occasionally lapsed into English, Welsh or Irish when I couldn’t think of how to say things in Manx, but the others all stuck to Manx and were speaking it fluently. This was the first time I’d heard so many people speaking Manx so well, and I understood a lot of what they said, and managed to work out the meanings of some unfamiliar words from the context.
When I chat with people who are fluent in a language I’m learning my level of language tends to improve. This is partly because I can adapt the things they say for my own purposes, and also because I feel the need to speak the language as well as possible. When I speak to non-fluent learners in languages I know well I try to adjust and simplify what I say so they can understand me. This is a useful exercise because it forces you to explain things simply and clearly and to practise alternative ways of saying things.
Have you had similar experiences?