Friday, January 18, 2008

Reflections during inservice

The prayer at the beginning of the day. The songs on the drum, so solid that the room buzzes with the vibrating sound. These are the moments that help me remember that this area is a separate nation. A reminder that I am living in a foreign land.

We talk a lot about the native language dying. What I rarely hear is a discussion of how quickly, how easily, languages die. Preventing one generation from learning the language is really all it takes. The next generation the grandparents know the language, but the parents don't. Children are able to understand bits of the language they hear from grandparents, but so few are able to speak it themselves. I think any skill works this way--I didn't grow up baking bread the way my grandmother did. But I've been able to learn how to bake from cookbooks and the little experience I had when my grandmother was younger. I wonder what resources will be available in the future to help my students learn their language.

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