On being a language learner

I’ve been back for about a week now and have re-adjusted.  I am refreshed and am ready to resume my role as a language learner.  As I have re-tuned my ear to the accents of the Almeriense this week, some truths about language learning have come into focus.  (You can thank my Second Language Acquisition course and SIOP training for this VERY interesting post 🙂

1) Give me a second, would ya? Or how about 20?  It is incredibly frustrating when I am expected to answer questions in a snap.   Not only do I need a context for the questions, but I need to ‘hear’ it, comprehend it, and formulate my answer.  If I don’t answer right away, it doesn’t mean I don’t understand.  For the interrogator to switch immediately to English doesn’t help.  The best thing to do?  Give me some time, and if I still don’t understand, rephrase the question in a different way (in Spanish, please!).

2) Idiotssaywhat? Please slow down.  Not to an abnormal, painful rate, but just enough for me to hear distinct words and sounds. The Andalusian accent is hard enough with their missing “s” and mashed-up sounds (halueeeee-o = hasta luego)!  It’s like putting on a pair of glasses (and no I don’t wear glasses, I am only SPECulating)…things are blurry without them…you can only make out the main things.  But once you take the time to put them on, all of the details come into focus.

3) Do ya know what I mean? Please take meaning over content.  If you understand what I’m tying to say, please leave it at that.  Unless there is some huge error in communication, let my mistakes be.  Believe it or not, there is a sequence to second language learning and some things just need time.  Correcting my every mistake DOES NOT help me learn, it only raises my affective filter and decreases my willingness to take risks.

4) Well that came out of left field! If you come to me with something completely out of context, you will get the deer-in-the-headlights stare.  The little people in my brain will jump up and scramble to get into their positions.  In the meantime, you will probably think there’s something wrong with me, that I’m stupid, that I don’t understand, that I’m not interested, or that I don’t like you (In reality, one or more of these things may be true).   You will probably abort mission before my troops have fully assembled.  Please just give me a heads up or ease me into the topic!

5) Estoy agotada! There comes a point in most days (sometimes it’s all day), when the Spanish-speaking part of my brain simply shuts down.  Words don’t come out right, my head starts to hurt, and everyone sounds like an adult from Charlie Brown.  At this point I draw my head back into my turtle shell.  Feel free to move me out of the road, but otherwise just let me be.

It’s been difficult, but I am proud of the progress I’ve made (I just typed maid instead of made…haha)…Al fin, merece la pena!!!

This entry was posted in Living Abroad, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On being a language learner

  1. LiZ says:

    I totally agree with everything, but mostly with number 3!!! Good luck girl.

  2. Justy says:

    Yawwwnnnnn. Needs more pictures of fine European booze.

  3. mommy says:

    Indeed, repetition, increased volume, incessant error correction and condescending have not been proven to enhance 2nd language acquisition. Keep drinking plenty of liquor to lower that affective filter!

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