Sunday, February 12, 2006

Champagne and Snow

As I write this, the world outside my window is turning white however I am full of all the good things one finds at a Belgian brunch meeting ... pistolets, bacon, eggs, koffie koeken, champagne and coffee.

But besides the food, I met a freelance writer who had lived in San Francisco and traveled throughout South America. We talked of anthropology, politics and immigrants ...

But the big moment was a language moment. One of the odd things about learning the language of the world you're immersed in is that you are not so conscious of progress. At first all I knew was 'Ik hou van jou'. The translation - I love you - means that this phrase is of no use in my everyday life when I'm dealing with Dutch-speaking tram drivers and bookshop staff (although ... if did use it I'd be expecting free stuff).

Soon I had 'Dag' and 'Hoe gaat het?' in my vocabulary which took care of 'hello' and 'goodbye' and 'how are you?'

Slowly I surged on at the pace of a snail or so it seemed. Soon I could understand maybe 3 words per 100, so speeches and conversations remained fairly mysterious.

Today was a great moment in Di World ... I understood more than half of Gert's public presentation. For me, immersion language learning seems like being left at sea by my dive boat ... I tread water and hope I will float but more often than not there's only been this feeling of deep water and an empty horizon.

Today was a good day ... over 50% understanding.

3 comments:

Mozza said...

As someone who's been studying and working in a foreign language, I can relate to this. The first sentence you understand is only equalled by the first correct sentence you utter.

efifrafel said...

feliz y taciones mujer y se feliz

woman wandering said...

Correct sentences uttered ... I live in hope of this event. At the moment I prefer reading and writing ... sentence construction is a dilemma.