Thursday, January 28, 2016

Slovak with a Southern Accent

The English language is both beautiful and extremely complex at the same time.  I have had the privilege of teaching English as a foreign language to some great students (both adults and children) this year. It is great to see them excited about learning English and challenging to make learning fun and interesting.

I am reminded how confusing the English language can be when preparing their lessons.  For example, we say "I ride in a car" but "I ride on a bus."  We work "in a factory" but "on a farm."  We live "on a mountain" but "in the mountains."

There are logical reasons for why we say these things and the challenge is to recognize the confusing parts of the language and be able to explain them to the students.

I know first-hand how frustrating and hard it is to study a foreign language as I try to learn Slovak.  I can feel very good about myself while I am studying my textbook, but when I go to try to speak to someone, I don't understand half of what is said.  That can be discouraging, but it is part of the learning process with any new language.

You can take for granted being able to communicate with those around you when you speak the same language.  I miss being able to talk and getting to know people more closely because of the language barrier and this is motivation for me to continue studying.

A good friend of mine, that has since passed away, was a missionary in Brazil for 30 years. He slowly learned Portuguese and spoke it fluently after not too long of a time.  He said that sometimes he would even forget some English words when he came back to the States to visit. He told a story about trying to talk to a man in America on one return trip that did not understand him.  My friend got more and more frustrated at the man until he realized that he was speaking Portuguese and not English.

So for my US friends, if you don't understand me the next time I speak with you.  Either it is just my normal Southern accent.  Or maybe I will be speaking Slovak to you.

Cau and dovidenia!

No comments:

Post a Comment