Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jo Parla Catala!

Well, not really, but I’ve started to learn, and that is important too.

In my class there are people from Somalia, Bolivia, Czech Republic, Afghanistan, Ecuador, Argentina, Columbia, Morocco, Philippines and Spain. Yes. There’s a young girl in our class from Spain and she’s learning Catalan too.

I asked the Spanish speakers why they were learning Catalan, when everyone could understand them anyway. They said, ‘Because we live here.’ Its not a matter of being understood or understanding. By learning Catalan we make a commitment to belonging to our new home.
I have been an English teacher for ten years. I know people complain that English is difficult. Some problems with the English language include pronunciation. Like ‘they were too close to the door to close it.’ The pronunciation of ‘close’ changes depending on its meaning.  The meanings of words may not mean what you think. For example ‘quicksand’ is not quick at all and boxing rings are square.

Catalan is both familiar and very complex for an English speaker. There are some words that are similar to both languages, like  patate/potato, llac/lake, oli/oil. However, the question I ask you is, why do that to your verbs? Why make it so difficult?

And why does a plant have to be a male or female? It doesn’t make any sense to me and just makes it harder to learn. It’s a new word and a gender. La mare is the mother. El pare is the father. We know, without doubt, that she’s a she and he’s a he. And then, the mothers turns into les mares. !!!???


I know what you are going to say – ‘because that’s the way it is.’ I understand.
I have a confession to make. When my best English student says ‘but it doesn’t make any sense.’ I say ‘look, it doesn’t have to make sense. You just have to learn it. Monkey see, monkey do.’  Looks like I’m the new monkey in town.

 Originally posted in Revista del valles.


Ladrona de Besos said...

i feel like a monkey too !!!

Tiffany said...

:) The worst thing is I think I'm not going to evolve any time soon...

Anonymous said...

I think you are amazing Tiff. Hang in there! I taught English for a while in Japan many, many years ago and I totally get the, monkey see, monkey do ;)

Tiffany Jones said...

Is that you Nicki? :D
Two/Three years later I still relate to this post! :o