Sunday, November 21, 2010

Language learning

Learning a new language is not the easiest thing in the world.

Especially when you are raising a toddler.

On top of a team-effort job.

I gotta admit though, I love the challenge. I've always been intrigued by languages, how they work, how to master them. In high school I took Spanish for two years and breezed through it. I lived in Costa Rica for two months after graduating high school and that certainly cemented espanol into my brain. Then I left for college and decided to hop on a jet plane to Cambodia, where I spent nine months cramming the Khmer language into my head. And now, here we are, learning Azeri, and I have another language to conquer, yet again.

On one hand I feel proud and confident, excited and able. And yet on the other hand, I feel scared and humiliated, overwhelmed and discouraged. Some days I feel on top of the world, and other days I feel like a failure in the language department.

But the important thing is that I'm learning. I'm getting somewhere.

I can't tell you how amazing it feels to be able to express yourself in another language to a friend you've been longing to communicate with on a deeper level. I remember about 7 months ago when I learned how to say, "I think _____". Oh how glorious that was to finally say what was on my mind! Even simple words like "because, why, about" can really jumpstart the conversations further.

Think of it this way. Say you made a friend who had moved to your country from a different country. One week they say, "You know where red book is?" Of course you know the gist of what they are saying, but it's obvious they are at a beginner level. Now image the next week they say, "Do you know where the red book is?" You'd be impressed, right? Just simple words like "do" and "the" can really make the speaker sound more intelligent. This is what I'm talking about here. I can do the bare minimum and give my friends the nouns and verbs in our conversations, but I want to go beyond that and say everything with excellence and clarity.

My friends, this is no small task.

Alas, I must be off to rest my weary brain for yet another grueling day of language study in the morning. Any parts of my brain left over will be used to manage my life in general.


  1. You go! I love learning languages and being immersed really must help a lot. I miss not studying languages. It helps to have people to talk to!

  2. I hear you! Language learning is difficult(but rewarding). But I can't even imagine trying to study language AND being a mom at the same time. Hats off to you Casey!