|My first pile of Hmong flashcards|
The newest bit of learning in my life comes in the form of a Hmong language class at the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association. I have a Hmong name to use in class, Nkauj Ntxawm, and have started to learn a few of the basic phrases and sentences for conversation.
The classes make my head spin though. It feels like a workout for my brain. My brain scrambles to make connections between what I hear, see, and write and hardly keeps up with the pace. Luckily I found an app that helps me practice outside of class too called Hmong Phrases by Annie Vang.
So why am I taking this class? The look on my students' faces when I use words from their home language or ask them to help me with my pronunciation is the reward. Fortunately, there is also an interpreter at our school who is encouraging and stops by my office and speaks to me in Hmong. I am hoping to keep at this long enough to be able to hold a conversation, but it seems a bit overwhelming to be quite honest. I have no experience with a tonal language and I really have a hard time stepping out with a language knowing that I will make mistakes. It turns me back into that shy little girl I used to be hiding behind my mother's skirts and rarely speaking to anyone outside of family. This will be a tough challenge, but every smile, giggle, and twinkling eye that I see in the faces of my students makes every bit of my time and effort worth it.