“Chupababa… Chukapapa… Chuuuupabaka!”
Elias laughs and giggles and he’s attempting to pronounce the name of one of the boys’ favorite characters from the movie “Planes:” El Chupacabra, the Mexican airplane with the 5-syllable name.
As we are into our second week of learning Cherokee and collecting language data, I often feel like a little child learning how to speak.
“Are you trying to say bird? Sounds like rabbit.”
Such and similar phrases are commonly heard out of the mouth of our Cherokee language helper. Oh, the humbling experience of learning another language. I had forgotten how difficult it can be to make sounds your mouth just isn’t used to making. To hear ridiculously long words and think you’ll never learn that. To pronounce a word, thinking it sounds exactly how the native speaker said it, just to be told, “No, that’s not right.”
My language partner Kaylee and I often remind ourselves of the BIG PICTURE to encourage one another to work hard and stay committed to the task before us. We’re not spending 8 hours a day doing language sessions and filing data for “fun.” We’re certainly not doing this for the grades. We are doing it so that one day, Lord willing, we can learn the heart language of a people group that has no written word, analyze it, and develop a writing system that is makes the language of the people come alive on paper. With the ultimate goal of translating the very Word of God so that HE can speak to them Himself.
Day by day, we are learning tools to help in that very long and complex process…take a look!
And because a blog post just isn’t complete without a pic of the boys: