Today was the first day in a week long series of discussions about learning a new language. It has been a fascinating discussion so far, led by a couple in their 70’s who has lived in remote parts of a southeast Asian country and has helped to translate the Bible into a remote tribal language.
Since Josh is pretty fluent already in Spanish, I have been apprehensive about learning, and a little self-concious about trying to speak. What we just finished talking about was that it’s ok to focus on listening and comprehension at first without the pressure to speak, much like a baby does before it begins to speak. We focused on the “doing and listening and then listening and doing” method. For example, I can point to or do certain things, while a native speaker tells you what it is that you are doing or pointing to. Once you think you have that down, you can use the same commands or vocab words to follow their spoken directions and repeat the activities based on their words. Using this technique this afternoon, we can already understand some basic commands and words in their tribal language.
I am getting very excited about learning Spanish, and I have decided that I’d also like to try to learn other languages as well in my lifetime. Being able to communicate to someone in their own language is invaluable. Yeah, I’ll probably still sound like an American… but hopefully I won’t sound like an annoying American! 🙂