Learning New Language

This semester I will be teaching New Testament Greek, taking on the class after a colleague goes on sabbatical. I am enjoying reviewing Greek. I’ve used it since first studying it in university, but reviewing it in order to teach it is a new experience for me and thinking about how best to teach a language is really fun.

One of the things I’ve been enjoying at the College of Transfiguration is the multitude of languages we use in worship here (English is the language of instruction) and that I hear spoken, and the accents with which people speak English. I also enjoy having colleagues whose first language is English, but their English is different from mine, and not just in accent.

I know English is a difficult language to learn for many reasons. I was reminded of this recently when I wrote brought about by the drought, and thought about how I would explain the difference in pronunciation between drought and about and brought (let alone how pronounce morphs to pronunciation).

But one of the delights of English is its flexibility and, for me, how many different meanings words can have.

For example, this winter holiday when we were in Scotland, we saw this sign:


I looked for birds, wondering what a humped pelican looks like. Seeing no sign of birds, it occurred to me that maybe it’s like a Zebra Crossing, which is this:

Not this:

I asked my wonderful Scottish sister-in-law about the sign and she explained that there are no pelicans in Scotland, but there are Pelican Crossings, which are like this:

Pelican crossing, without hump

She also explained that there are Puffin Crossings as well as real puffins. Puffin Crossings have sensors so the lights change when pedestrians are detected at the crossing area.

Because it wouldn’t be right to mention puffins without sharing a picture:

Here is my favorite traffic sign in South Africa:

Robots are traffic lights.

Like you see at Pelican Crossings.

10 thoughts on “Learning New Language

  1. Hi Amy!
    Kali mara! Te kanis?
    Oh well, my pathetic attempt to offer a Greek welcome. I’m impressed you are fluent in Greek and even are teaching it!

    Very interesting your discussion of language idiosyncrasies..hope that is the correct word.

    I enjoy reading your emails, and am glad you and Joe are safe and having a wonderful time in Africa.

    Keep in touch!

    David King Wood

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post, especially the pictures. I don’t have any photos, but years ago a foreign exchange student (from Spain, I think) asked ‘what is pip i line’. Nobody knew until we looked at her book and saw ‘pipeline’ written. We still laugh about this. Thanks for the smiles. Fran

    On Fri, Feb 1, 2019 at 11:29 AM Amy and Joe Go to Africa wrote:

    > Amy Richter posted: ” This semester I will be teaching New Testament > Greek, taking on the class after a colleague goes on sabbatical. I am > enjoying reviewing Greek. I’ve used it since first studying it in > university, but reviewing it in order to teach it is a new experience ” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful!
      I wonder how many people I am making laugh with all the mistakes I am making this year as I try to speak other people’s languages and speak English with my funny accent. I’m happy to be a source of amusement.
      Thanks for keeping in touch!

      Like

    1. Dear Madeleine, Thank you so much. We miss you too. And thanks for ped zing! You’re right–what a mystery that would seem to others. We hope you and George are doing well and send you both love!

      Like

  3. I am so impressed that you are going to be teaching New Testament-Greek.What a wonderful experience. I know your students will be delighted.
    We have had some hard winter weather for the past week but it looks better for our coming week. I am going to be helping with the County Shelter group the next week so hoping all goes well. Frank and I have been doing Elizabeth Seton in Crofton for the last 6 years and it truly makes us come home and say our blessed we are.
    Love to you and Joe,
    Judye

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Judye! I hope your time of service goes well and that the harsh weather passes quickly. How wonderful that you and Frank have served together in this way for so long. Love and blessings to you both, Amy

      Like

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