I took French in high school and German in College. I learned enough to understand the ‘courtesy’ phrase and pass the course, then quickly forgot everything. I always wanted to learn a different language. And have always felt ‘less than’ (even stupid or uncultured) for not being at least bi-lingual.
For some reason I have had a romantic idea that if I hear the language long and consistently enough, it will just magically ‘click’ one day, and I’ll be fluent. Kind of like in the movies.
Learning a Language is no joke. As a matter of fact, it’s downright hard.
There are so many facets to it. You have to make some sort of connection with your native language. You have to understand the sentence structure. You have to learn and understand verb conjugation. You have to learn the Alphabet. You have to learn and remember the words and what they mean. You have to understand and remember how those words sound. And with Georgian, there is an added bonus of ‘breaking’ your tongue to say the letters phonetically correct. They make sounds with their tongues and throats that are supernatural. Then you have to hear (or see) the word, flip it in your head to figure out what word it means, then flip it again to translate into a word you understand in your native language.
But all that has to not only happen everyday with new words, it has to happen everyday with the old words, too, or you might forget them.
Learning a language is an intense demonstration of memory, dedication and organization of the mind.
One of my co-teachers is frustrated because she is teaching a first grade class. And in the first grade the majority of them don’t yet know their Georgian alphabet or how to write. So she feels the connection to English is nearly impossible. I can’t do anything, because I’m still trying to figure out how to navigate my own limitations out. I’m treading water myself. It hurts to see a colleague in distress and not be able to assist.
The discrepancy from student to student even in the same class is disarming. Some 2nd grade students have writing skills that rival calligraphy. And pronunciation that is impeccable. And then others can’t copy the words off the board, much less read the words in the book for the lesson.
We have our work cut out for us!
“Power and the money, money and the power
Minute after minute, hour after hour
Everybody’s running, but half of them ain’t looking
What’s going on in the kitchen, but I don’t know what’s cookin’
They say I gotta learn, but nobody’s here to teach me
If they can’t understand it, how can they reach me
I guess they can’t, I guess they won’t
I guess they front, that’s why I know my life is out of luck, fool!
Been spending most their lives, living in the gangsta’s paradise”
Gangster’s Paradise, Coolio