06 December 2011

Thoughts on the language

I get lots of questions from people asking what the Croatian language is like to learn as a new language.  I tell them that it is a lot like the Energizer Bunny (from the TV commercial for Energizer batteries), the language just keeps going and going and going and going.  IMHO learning to speak Croatian proficiently cannot be measured in number of hours or months or semesters.  Learning to be proficient in Croatian is more like growing an expansive garden.  Some plants will be fruitful almost immediately, some will require coddling, and some plants will take years to mature and bear fruit.  Once the entire garden is well established, then the full bounty can truly be enjoyed.

My language is slowly but surely growing.  No longer tender saplings.  And not yet a fruit-laden orchard.  But something in between.  Filled with energy and great promise.   Always reaching towards the sky.



Nikki said...

I totally understand. I'm starting to feel more comfortable speaking with people in real, longer conversations. I've even been to the dentist on my own. I'm proud of myself when I hear myself self-correcting. The other day I said something like, hocete voda? And then I remembered that it should be vodu. (It was something like that!) Nevertheless, my friends were excited that I corrected myself. It's a hard language though!

Gabriella said...

Malo pa malo (pa malo pa malo pa malo) ;-)

I had a funny episode the other day when someone used the phrase 'bilo kakvu' (sort of like: whatever) and I thought they were saying 'bijelo kavu' (white coffee). I kept saying: ne, obicno kavu (no, regular coffee). And it kind of went pear-shaped from there.


Nikki said...

Haha! That is too funny! You just taught me something new, I didn't know what 'bilo kakvu' meant! I've been trying to master using "bas" or "ne bas" or however you use it lately. One time, at a cafe, I was trying to find out if they had wifi/internet so I asked something, "Ima tu mozda wifi?" And they looked at me really confused so I said, "Internet? Wifi" and the konobar was like, "da da da white wine! Ima Ima!"

Oh the adventures of language learning!

Gabriella said...

I once thought I was ordering a pot of tea. When they brought my tea to me, they made a point to tell me that the teapot was not included in the price. Turns out that the way I used the language indicated that I was going to drink the tea and then take the teapot home. The konobarica was really nice and helped me construct the correct way to order a pot of tea. I still carry the slip of paper she wrote out for me (as a memento).

nelsonjane said...

hello ;) I Love reading your blog! I am curious as to if you are using any language programs or books to help you supplement your live learning experiences of the Croatian language? If you do which have you found to be the most helpful?

Although I don't live over there I am wanting to try and start learning the language for I have found my grandfather's family last year so I have been immersing myself in my newfound culture! They are from the Dragovci, Brodsko-Posavska area.

Thank You ahead of time if you are able to offer suggestions for me.

And have a Blessed & Happy & Fun start to your New Years!

Gabriella said...

Sretna Nova Godina (happy new year) i sve najbolje (and all the best).

It is great that you are tracking down your roots and trying to learn the language too. I'll admit, Croatian is a tough nut to crack. I've studied at 5 different language schools and clocked several hundred hours of intensive study..just to get to the basic level I'm at right now. I have an extensive library of language CDs and books. I also have some Croatian books that children use in school in grades 2, 3, 4.

I outlined the extra books and CDs I use in a blog entry back on June 16, 2010. These items should be available through any of the online bookstores.

I also highly recommend taking a beginner course at night school, or contacting your closest Croatian Cultural Center to find out about more language learning opportunities.

Best of luck learning the lingo!