Chatting on Twitter, my friend @BarefootAndrew about the blog I wrote on French idioms, Andrew came up with the following stages he believed you pass through when learning a new language:
Spoken language is indecipherable gibberish, and the written word is Double Dutch. Words and phrases you know leap out at you when you hear them, but the gist of the sentence remains elusive. You can hold your own in basic conversation, but idioms and colloquialisms leave you blank of face. More or less fluent. You speak your adopted language so much, you're forgetting words from your native tongue.