Friday, October 21, 2011

Study Partners and More

Just because you already speak a second language, doesn't mean the next one is going to be easy.

Actually, I'm not saying that for me, because so far, Russian hasn't been challenging for me, but I did pick a language in the same "family" as Czech, they're both Slavic, so they both have multiple similarities.  There are several students in class that do speak second languages already, but who are struggling, one student in particular.  He came to class on Monday, but only to turn in his homework and run away, since he wasn't feeling well.  Our teacher has made it quite clear that she's too busy to e-mail us what the homework assignment is if we miss class and that we're supposed to know someone else in class well enough to ask them for the homework assignment.  This guy happens to be one of the three or four of us that arrives early every week and one of the few older (but not old) students in class, basically, he wasn't exactly a stranger, so I offered to text him the homework after class.  And I did, he said thanks.

The next night I got a text saying he needed a study partner and asking if I had any interest.  Now, my first reaction was "hey, sure."  I'm a social person, I like studying with people, especially when it's language.  But...this time in college is a little different.  I'm married, and I have someone else to think about.  So I asked my husband, who asked me about this guy.  Well, I don't know much about him except that he's Mexican (not even sure if he was born here and it was just his parents that were or he is) and he's a Spanish interpreter somewhere, downtown I think.  I also forgot to mention that he's good friends with a someone that works at our office, not in our department, but for our company, that could have helped.  Because my husband's reaction was....well, yeah.  He just thought I was being naive if the guy was interpreter why was he having a hard time with Russian, that it was just an excuse, but told me to do what I felt was okay.  I ended up texting my classmate and telling him we'd talk before class the next day.

Interestingly enough, my classmate hit the nail on the head when he asked "Does your husband have a problem with it?"  And then he asked "Does it make a difference that I"m gay?"  I just laughed.  Then the few of us that were there early talked about how learning any new language is difficult without interaction and help and how vastly different Russian is from Spanish, especially when you're basically learning two languages growing up, and then the new one as an adult....we're meeting up on Sunday, he's coming over and we'll study in the kitchen while my husband's watching football.  My classmate's accent is so Spanish, but then, I know mine is probably quite Czech.

Sometimes I feel like I'm misrepresenting myself in class - I've gotten a few compliment from several of my classmates for having everything put together, and having a good accent, etc.  But I have several advantages.  I speak Czech, therefore the sounds/phonetics are not as difficult for me, plus I've been rolling my r for years.  That also helps me with the counting that she just introduced on Wednesday, although I do need to study more so I can say it and not just understand it.  On top of that - I took Russian about 10 years ago, so I already knew the Cyrillic alphabet and many of the greetings that we've been learning in class.  Yet, I guess that does mean I have my stuff together more than some of them and that at least, this term, I don't have to study as much.  I should count myself lucky.

Oh yeah, A- on my quiz, A on my homework.  Due on Monday, corrections - thank goodness I don't have many - because we also have a slew of homework and an in class quiz on numbers.

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