Say What?

Say What?

There are many things that are challenging about learning a language. A big challenge is the gap between printed language and spoken language. The good news for audio learners is that the spoken language is probably more useful since we are more likely to be listening to folks than reading notes from them. So we would do well to learn what people actually say rather than what the words and tidy sentences in our books tell us. There are, of course, instructional programs that use this very method.

So, as I listen, incomprehending, to someone recite the sentences in the very lesson I have just memorized, my mind wanders. It has not much else to do, after all, since I have no idea what’s being said. It wanders from the sounds of this lovely, new language that I don’t understand, to the sounds of English, which I mostly do understand, and I think about what happens when words step off the page and through our mouths into the fiesta of conversation.

It’s a wonder anyone understands anyone else. Consider:

“Jeet yet?”

“No, joo?”

Now picture the hapless English language learner peering at these sentences in his book:

“Did you eat yet?”

“No, did you?”

I guess there isn’t much to be done about this state of affairs. I’m just sayin’……