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torstai 24. elokuuta 2017

Learning a new language

Just a note from my journal, something a friend made me to think about when it comes to personal growth. I am just finishing summer courses in Swedish so perhaps therefore I also came to think about the following: 

“I wonder if it is possible to draw a parallel between personal growth and learning a new language - or learning a new word in a foreign language. I think there is something similar in them. Both processes are more complex than we would think, more than just a definition in a dictionary we need to memorize - and we need to be merciful towards ourselves and others. 

First you learn to understand a word, you hear it and you read it, look it up and memorize it. Then you can start using it step by step, but it can take a lot of time to get it right, to really own a word, to grow. The different meanings and how a word is used in different contexts compared to your mother tongue, what you have learned as a child, can sometimes be tricky to learn and there is a different way of seeing behind (each language) which you need to start understanding. I guess the only thing you can do is to have the courage to make enough many mistakes before you start owning a word. And perhaps therefore it takes time to any of the life’s wisdom's to reach from the mind into heart and personal growth is so demanding. 

Sometimes we also face tremendous words in life which make us fear and to feel insecure. Many times have I asked myself that do I have the capacity to handle something or shall I just give up. Like the Finnish-Swedish word barnträdgårdslärare, kindergarten teacher, which many of my adult students have had to face this summer in order to be able to tell about their profession. I tell them to tackle it step by step: barn – trädgårds – lärare and it is okay to use words like dagislärare or the Swedish-Swedish word förskolelärare instead when learning. You can always find a way around and does it really matter if you pronounce/write a word incorrectly, if some letters are missing. You’ll still be understood and get the confidence to try again and again and master it later. And just a side note. I have always been very fond of this word, kindergarten teacher, and seeing children as flowers we need to nourish the best way so that they can then bloom, all different and together make a garden.  

And of course, some words you never seem to learn. Or you easily mix them with other words like the Swedish words ganska and kanske, just like it can be easy to mix for example pleasing and giving from the heart. We learn with time and some words we just simply forget. Exactly as our psyche has its limitations when it comes to growth. I also tend to say to students at the end of each course that remember to be proud of every word you have learned. You have worked for it, it is your capital. Obviously it is then a task in itself to put the new words together and use in the sentences you master from before and to make the sentences fuller - and whole - with time. And both in learning a language and personal growth, we need others, as mirrors. And when it is time for one of the many exams in life, I hope we always try to look at what we have learned and what we can, not what we can’t. We are always enough with our imperfect vocabularies." 

Perhaps I tried to explain personal growth, and the hardships co-dependencies and other issues some of us have to go through in life through another phenomenon, more common for all of us. Metaphors are used to explain more complicated matters with something we all can relate to. For example in politics we often see metaphorical language, negotiations are seen as a war or as a game, EU and other international organizations are seen as a family and so on. If you are more of an analytical mind perhaps you think that whatever it is in life, just deal with it. In my own experience I haven't found it to be such a straight forward way though. I haven’t thought this text through in every point, but perhaps the thinking behind holds well enough so I put it out here just in case there is something useful for anyone. 

I also have body parts for a new crocheted critter on my work table waiting for assembling, so crochet coming as well :-). 

Pirjo

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