Thursday, 28 April 2011

Camilla’s continued attempts at trilingualism

Ok I have to confess that I still haven’t braved the running track yet. One of the new Ugandan tutors has had a great suggestion, he wants to help me set up a running club and invite the students to join us. That way, I won’t be the only one huffing and puffing. We thought we would try to start it on Monday...

However my linguistic struggles go on. I am still trying to come to terms with switching between three languages on a daily basis, two of which I can’t speak with any degree of competence. The harder I try, the more frustrated I seem to get!

Camilla’s attempts to learn French this week:

1) Continued attempts to translate and sing along to the lyrics from French Canadian star academie 2003. Sorry to anyone in Nzige who has the misfortune of hearing.

2) I’ve started to read only in French, borrowing books in French from the TTC library (not hard seeing as most of them are still in French anyway). ‘Le dossier Harding,’ a very odd comic book, is my current livre of choice.

 3) I have made a potentially useful discovery. My neighbour, a nice if somewhat elusive man, speaks French! Yay! So as long as I am ever able to pin him down (he hardly ever seems to be there, I think he is a health worker who has to do shifts) and I get in first before he starts trying to practise his English (sometimes in this world you just have to be a bit selfish) I will be able to practise.

4) I’ve started writing in my ‘journal de classe’ in French. I’ve reasoned that the headings are in French therefore I shall write in French. This is a book where I have to write what I have done with each class on a daily basis.

5) When I was waiting for a meeting to start I played the French opposites game. The staff in the guesthouse looked at me very strangely, sat all alone muttering pairs of French words to myself.
Camilla’s attempts to learn Kinyarwanda this week

1) I have started counting in Kinyarwanda with the local kids on my way to and from school.

2) I have also started to take my Kinyarwanda learning materials into the staffroom at break time to try to break down some barriers. While I have to withstand some ridicule for my hideous accent, a surprising number of people have tried to help me.

 3) I have made a momentous step forward this week. I have found a suitable teacher and started lessons. Whats even more exciting is that my teacher is a woman. At last! I have regular contact with a local woman. I was so relieved when she came to my house for the first time, I think she is going to be my Kinyarwanda saviour.

4) I have made a rice sack of the Kinyarwanda numbers and stuck it onto my kitchen wall. Every time I go in there to make the latest tomato, onion and potato based dish I count to 20.

Phew, thats quite a lot! Ands what more, I feel like none of it is making a jot of difference. I think I have learning difficulties when it comes to foreign languages. None of it sticks, the words all desert me when I need them and I stand there like a lemon waiting for the words to come but they never do. French is annoying because I feel I should be better at it than I am and Kinyarwanda has sounds in it that my mouth just won’t make.  I am wondering if it will ever get easier!

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