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3.4. These activities are impossible in your situation?


Now, you tell me, the speakers of the language you are learning are all monolingual, and they cannot understand pictures or photos, plus they believe that photos steal people's souls, and therefore they kill photographers, as well as people who make tape recordings (they torture people who make videos). Fhrthermore, it is against their cultural rules to talk to you until after you know their language.

A few thoughts on situations where structured language learning activities are impossible. Our first thought is that it is a characteristic of severe discouragement to feel that "all is hopeless; everything is impossible; and nothing can possibly work." If you are in this condition, then I wouldn't pressure you. Think about what you have read, ruminate over it, pray. Go fishing (and reread this when the fish aren't biting). You may come up with some small solutions which will grow into big ones.

But no. You aren't at all discouraged. You just know that structured language learning activities are not possible in this monolingual situation. This need not be tragic as long as you stick to the principles of communing, understanding, talking and evolving. People will talk to you in ways that make it possible for you to understand what they are saying with the help of what you see, and the general context. So just engage in such communication for many hours a week. You will progress.

But in many other difficult situations, structured activities such as those described above will make the difference between learning a language and not learning it. This is especially true if you cannot be immersed in a community where the language is spoken, and even moreso if you only have sporadic access to native speaker friends (in which case the use of the technological aids takes on some urgency).

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Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 3.5, published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 1999. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 21 March 1999

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