Learning (Another) New Language

As you saw from my class schedule, this year I’m taking Thai. It seems like if I really am going to be a Southeast Asia librarian, I should accumulate rudimentary proficiency in as many languages as possible. So Thai it is, and now I’m back to square one with a new language.

So far, I’m actually really enjoying it. I like learning languages. Plus, so far the teacher hasn’t overemphasized tones or the alphabet, so I don’t feel like I’m in over my head quite yet.

It has been a bit of a transition coming back into a more traditional language classroom. My Indonesian classes at Michigan have been small (like my Thai class) and have also been advanced classes, so we were mainly reading and discussing, not learning new grammar rules.

As for the classes I took in Indonesia, those were one-on-one, which is a completely different set up. The class would progress depending on how fast I learned. Tangents were all chosen by me, usually because of some grammatical or cultural point that I didn’t understand and needed explained in more detail.

I ran into one of those grammar points in Thai just the other day. There are two sorts of question tags that we’ve learned so far. I thought I understood the difference, but when I got my homework back it became clear that I did not. So I asked. And derailed the class for a bit.

But it quickly became clear to me that the difference is not something I’m going to understand without a lot more examples and experience, so I eventually said we should just move on. In a one-on-one class, we’d probably have worked it out for me. Or my teacher would have said not to worry about it for now and moved on. (I’m still waiting for that lesson on all the uses of yang…..)

Expect to hear more from me about Thai in the future, including a post on how I’m using flashcards. I’m really enjoying it so far. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to learn a new language!


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