Friday, September 11, 2009
Degg naa Wolof tuuti.
I understand a little Wolof! (Literally it means “To hear/understand - I - Wolof - a little.”) I can formulate complete sentences now and talk in past, present, and future tenses. Now it is more a matter of learning vocab, practicing a ton so I can speak more quickly and fluidly, and working on my listening skills because some people talk really quickly and slur stuff together (just like in the States) so they’re a lot harder to understand than some people (like Bamba, our language and culture facilitator, who talks really slowly and clearly for us). At times, I felt really proud and excited when I could understand parts of a conversation, but at other times I would become frustrated – I just want to know Wolof now. :) Practice, patience, persistence – the three P’s for learning anything new, and especially a new language in a culture where it is quite acceptable to keep saying “Wolof is so easy, but you really don’t understand it – what’s wrong with you?” My reaction has to be to smile and say I’m trying. That’s the best way to stay positive, minimize frustration, and keep the mood light so others are encouraged to help. And I really do need their help – without the help of my family and friends in the village, I would never really learn Wolof, and that is an incredibly important – no, utterly essential – aspect of my pre-service training.