Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Most Important Word in Language Learning

Nate making vowel sounds into a mirror
Our last week and half has been something 'totally different.' We transitioned from SPLICE training, where we talked about animals such as owls, turtles and ducks to gaining tools to learn a new language at the PILAT program.  The program has been very valuable as we pursue learning a new language in Austria. We now have many activities to explore the language and the culture with child-like eyes.

Recently in class, someone said, "I can't say that word." The leader of the PILAT program, who has an immense wealth of experience, responded, "You cannot have incomplete sentences in language learning. You must instead say, 'I can't say that word yet."

He went on to explain how important the world 'yet' is in language learning. When you tell yourself, "I can't say that word", there is a finality to it. It communicates to yourself, "I will never say that word right."  

But when we add 'yet' to those statements, we add hope. When we say, "I can't say that word, yet" or "I can't make that sound yet", we look forward to a time when  we can make that sound. We look forward to when we can hear the difference between those two sounds. We keep working on making that sounds, because we are confident we will get it right eventually. Hope looks to the future; it looks to possibilities. 


This hope is really exciting for us. It looks into the monumental task of learning a language with an attitude of hope. We are excited for the possibilities of learning and growing when we arrive in Austria! And when we get discouraged in the long journey of language learning, we will remind ourselves, "We are not there...yet. But we will be."


This applies to many other areas of life. When we say "I'll never learn to do that" or "I'd love to try that, but it would be too hard for me", we remove the possibility of ever achieving our hopes and goals. But if we add 'yet,' we have continual hope of learning something new, venturing into uncharted territory, making new discoveries, and allowing God to use us in ways we never thought possible. In situations that seem too difficult or too scary, let's try the word 'yet'. It brings hope for the future!


Question:
What statements do you need to add a 'yet' to?