Thursday, January 27, 2011

Águru (Scorpion)

Happy New Year! I will now be able to blog more often, having gotten married (woohoo!) and had a few weeks to emerge from the massive pile of tasks I put to the side during wedding prep and graduate work.

I'm enjoying the benefits of having my personal language teacher as a roommate! 24/7 free consultation services (well, I do give him a break now and then)! One thing we do together is read Scripture in both Garifuna and either Spanish or English. He's also helped me transcribe songs, record new words and phrases, and clarify some of the grammatical haze in my brain.

Another good language learning adventure this month was attending a Christian Garifuna women's conference in a remote community where Fernando's family is from. I was surrounded by the language for 4 days and was warmly welcomed by many women. Since this was the 4th trip out there, I felt really comfortable, and I could converse much more this time than before. Yay!

Nothing helps a learner retain new words more then a striking experience involving the senses. The most notable new word was 'águru' ('scorpion'). I woke up at 3:00am when I was stung three times. I not only learned how to be treated (eat sugar and heat the affected area), but I got to hear words like 'luti' ('swollen') and 'gariti' ('pain') and repeat them in my head while the symptoms persisted the next day. So, in the end, it was a successful language and culture learning experience!

Soon I will talk about a computer program I use to learn new words, combining sound files and pictures (electronic flashcards), such as this: