Thursday, June 24, 2010

A note about school.

It. Is. Hard. Seriously. Half of the teachers don't speak English. Almost at all. The orthography is totally foreign (no pun intended), but really, it isn't similar to anything I've done before. We are trying to learn reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the same time. This is not easy. The reading I can do pretty well, but the writing is very difficult. This is because there are 4 Ns, 4 Ds, 4 Ts, 4 Ps, 3 Ks, 2 Rs... And the list goes on. Many times each day, I hear "No, no, you are saying it 'K. It is not 'K.' It is 'K.'" Sure. That makes sense. The many duplicate sounds are particularly difficult for me. When I make an American T or D (alveolar), one of my teachers will tell me that I'm making it retroflex. Not exactly, Ravni-ji. You're correct in pointing out that I made an error, but allow me to explain HOW it was wrong....because you're not right.
Sigh. This same teacher took a class on English linguistics, but his IPA is a bit off. He asked me earlier in the week to explain to him how we make our Ts and Ds. Yeah. He has as much trouble with those as I have with this crazy Punjabi thing.

The worst class is Dictation. In this class, the teacher will read off a list of words, and we are supposed to spell them correctly. Riiiight. I don't think so. With so many duplicate sounds to choose from, how on earth can I possibly? If it's a word I already know, then my spelling is pretty good, but most of the time, it's words I've never heard before. I can really only tell the difference between the dental and retroflex stops by watching the mouth of the speaker. And between the aspirated and unaspirated of these same stops? Ha! Nothing but guessing, I swear. I'm not entirely convinced that it isn't a total waste of time. Maybe I'm meant to be learning how to tell the difference between the sounds, but so far, I just feel like a MR. F. Not to be confused with Mr. F, which is entirely different.

I like reading class. I can't understand most of what I read, and my brain keeps mixing languages and confused kona with iota...which is super fun. Otherwise, though, I'm quite good at the reading thing. Speaking makes me want to hyperventilate, but reading is almost like fun. Almost.

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