Thursday, December 31, 2009

Language Learning

We will begin language lessons in earnest soon. As soon as we arrived both Steve and I were chomping at the bit to get started but others who have gone before us here urged us to wait until after Christmas. They were right! It's taken a lot of mental energy just to learn how to live and get around. But as we've done that we have also internalized quite a few words and useful phrases that we learned previously.

We've been amused at how many people go out of their way to walk near us just to try out a bit of English. Their attempts are often quite cute! Yesterday a young man tried to carry on a meaningful conversation in English with me. I THINK we were discussing the difference in value between the rupee and the dollar, but I'm still not quite sure.

Our attempts at the local language are just as amusing to others. It's a good experience to learn to laugh at ourselves as others laugh at us. And while people are quite pleased that we're making an effort in their language, they're also often quite amused!

It's very satisfying to buy something at the market or tell an auto rickshaw driver where to go and where to stop without any English involved. Every once in a while there's actually just comprehension at what we're saying and no laughing occurs! And sometimes the words are coming without too many pauses to think first.

Steve seems to be absorbing words quite easily and has no qualms about trying them out on the street. I'm coming along as well, but am suffering an unexpected side effect. Several times a day lately I've had to stop and think for the English word for something! Not that I know the local word for it yet, but there's obviously a traffic jam happening in my brain and thoughts are experiencing difficulty coming through. Guess it will sort itself out eventually!

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