Language learning for Christmas?

 

You might think it a strange Christmas gift, but this year we all received the gift of language learning. One of our biggest goals for 2018 and even 2019 is to learn the Croatian language, so we thought why not start now? This Christmas season, each member of the family received books and/or a language learning app for their device to begin regular study of Croatian in their day to day lives.

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Croatian is listed as a category two language which means an English speaking adult will, on average, take 44 weeks or 1,100 class hours to learn and speak this language fluently. Wow! This, honestly, sounds like a daunting task, but its very important that we become good communicators in our new environment. English is spoken widely in Croatia, so while its possible to "get by" with English, we feel it our responsibility to become fluent Croatian speakers. To reach this goal we must be dedicated to our language learning and pursue it every single day.

As we think about communicating with a new language, in a new place, it quickly becomes apparent how much we rely on verbal communication as a part of our identity. Recently, I had a conversation with an American-born friend who has been immersed in a new language for several years and he said to me one of the hardest parts of learning a new language is that, in the beginning, you lose the ability to express yourself with words. You can ask for bread and say thank you, but you can't express wit or fill an off-moment with a funny comment that would ease tension or bond a group.

Most of us don't realize how much we use our language to express humor, loss, and joy, so as we learn a new language, it becomes far more difficult to express anything but the basic task or request.

So, the next time you tell a joke, laugh at a joke or share a fun moment with someone, remember the Molvars as we begin the hard work to learn a new language, even before we leave, with the hope that when we arrive we'll be on a path to communicate, not just the basics, but eventually the nuances of the language. As we reach this goal it will allow each of us to better express, at least some of our identity in an entirely new language within an entirely new country.

As always, this journey is amazing and tough all the same time and language learning for Christmas certainly falls into that category. Thanks for your support and partnership through this journey. We love hearing your comments and questions, so keep asking them and always feel free to reply with a comment.