So language learning is not without its moments. Moments of pleasure when you’re able to communicate your heart. Moments of frustration when you just don’t have the words. Moments of confusion when you really can’t hear the difference between what you’re saying and what your language helper is saying. And moments of laughter when you really mess it up!
The official classroom portion of my CLA (Culture and language acquisition) wrapped up the first week of December and we began to prepare for our first language check. I had mine just this past week. It was my first time having a language check and my language helper’s first time assisting as well. She has been my good friend since I was here before, working together in the medical clinic, sharing lunch together weekly to talk about life, and her correcting my Tok Pisin. So knowing each other pretty well we had fun with it!
At one point, I was shown a short sentence in English and asked to translate it into Tok Pisin. I was talking about cutting down a tree with an axe but forgot the word for axe. All that came to mind was “Troxel” (a brand name of something, I think!). My language helper just looked confused. The man checking my progress heard, “Trosel” (“turtle”)! He thought I had said that I was cutting the tree with a turtle! (The correct word is “tamiok”, if you’re wondering!)
At another point, I was telling my life story, my testimony, to my language helper. I accidentally said, “I eat children” instead of “I eat WITH children.” Important difference!!!!
Needless to say the language learning is ongoing!