A Language Klutz

Learning a new language makes you wonder if you are allowed to keep a cat as a pet when it starts raining cats and dogs. 

It requires you to break apart the good old Subject-Verb-Object and put that Verb at the very end of the now Latin sentence.

And sometimes drop the Object before the Subject… and other times to misplace the Subject altogether because, after all, it’s understood, understood?

Learning a new language requires you to learn a new title for each of your uncles to distinguish them as matrimonial or patrimonial and then by age relation to your father. Or sometimes it makes you wonder why everyone calls every uncle just “uncle”.

It requires you to learn that the proper way is not “She do” but “She does”. Not “They does” but “They do”. Even though the “they” is the plural and you thought it is the plurals that go with the s’s.

And after you finally memorize that “I” goes with “do”, you are told that you must say “did” if you have already done it.

Oh and just because you done it, does not make “I done it” proper.

More importantly, it does not matter if after all your hard work, your grammar is flawless if you think “The dishes are bad” is a proper way to talk about the food that you serve on those dishes. Even if you have grown up saying “Mom I love the dish you made tonight” your entire life.

Even if you have grown up saying “Mom I love the dish you made tonight” your entire life.

Learning a new language requires you to learn the difference between think and think. Think. Is not think. Still don’t get it? Well… I guess we understand you when you say “think” instead of “think” so its okay.

Learning a new language requires you to be a certain kind of clumsy. It requires you to fall, to blush, to get back up and keep walking. Or sometimes just… sit down.

You see, learning a language does not just require you to be clumsy. It requires you to embrace that clumsiness. It requires you to talk to people even when you can see the confusion on their faces. It requires you to translate things literally and be embarrassed… or to have an accent and worry about not being understood.

Learning a new language requires you to know it’s not always easy because learning a language does not just equate to having to learn the vocabulary or the grammar but also a culture, a way of thinking, a way of life.  

Learning a new language requires patience. Because it’s okay to be clumsy.