Thursday 2 March 2017

A Czech Intensive in Prague!

I've spent much of the last two weeks with this view as I do my Czech intensive in Prague! Each morning from 9.30 until 12.30 has found me wrestling with grammar, pronunciation and new words. It has been so hard and so great at the exact same time. 

Our teacher has been really wonderful. In the picture above are the various forms of him, it, her, and them for the different cases. This is something I've studied multiple times with different teachers but today it seemed to make sense! Not only do you need to just learn all those variations and remember which case they are, but you also need to remember all the verbs and prepositions that lead to each of the cases.

The teacher has also been so kind to teach Kristin and I for an extra ten or fifteen minutes after class each day. There are some holes in our Czech - things we should have learnt at an earlier stage but did not, or did not learn it in a way that we still use. I think that one of the biggest wins of this fortnight has been learning tools that will help me continue to learn and use this language well.

We've also learnt some hilarious things. For example, most of Czech has as a particular way of speaking Czech, except the part where I live. In Silesia, the region I call home, we speak Czech the way it is written. In other parts of Czech, however, they shorten the pronunciation of words, and change endings, and add a v in front of the letter o. Living beside the Polish border comes with its own challenges but I am so glad we speak standard Czech there!

This was definitely one of the funniest exercises of the class - matching the sound to the animal, because you forget that some things don't correlate exactly and while I find it difficult to imagine a frog making a "kva, kva" sound, it doesn't necessarily "ribbet" either. By the way, it's the bear that goes "brum, brum" in the photo above.

Honestly, during the first week of the course I was feeling rather discouraged. The intermediate level of language learning is a long one and progress seems slow. I have really struggled with the declension side of Czech, so the first few days felt overwhelming. One of the things I've had to remind myself of is the progress that I have made, and that I am successful in my every day life. Sure, none of it is perfect and I can't always communicate exactly how I want to but there is success in being able to understand sermons, be in a small group, and navigate everyday life in a foreign country and language. 

With just one class left tomorrow I am feeling mostly encouraged - this language may in fact be learnable. The road to complete fluency is a long one, but God has called me to this language as much as He has called me to this country and to serve Him here. I am so thankful that I was able to take these two weeks to be in Prague and to study, and for the progress I've made. And I'm excited to jump back into "regular life" and hopefully use what I've learnt and continue to make progress!

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