During our third Flemish class, Marsi found out how old I am. “My mother is one year younger than you,” she told me. “Next year – funeral or what?” she continued. “What kind of flowers do you like?” Possibly all of the women in class besides me are here because they are married or engaged to a Belgian. Today there was talk of bridal showers and tea parties . . . I suppose I should be glad someone was thinking of any kind of celebration for me? Dank u wel!
Mijn voornaam is Steph. Ik ben Amerikaan. Ik kom uit de Verenigde Staten. Ik woon in Antwerpen. Hoe heet je?
The class is amazing. Anne is an excellent teacher, full immersion with a steady but reasonable pace. Of course it feels overwhelming, but we are getting used to speaking and hearing the words for basic introductions. Ik ben doventolk en ook leraar.
My classmates are from all over the world: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, Iran, Morocco, Nigeria, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uganda. There is no common language known by everyone in the class. Many do know English, but not everyone. Pictures, gestures, and mime supplement the curriculum and our conversations. The lingua franca will be Dutch: the official Nederlands and the common langauge, Vlaams (Flemish) spoken here in Flanders.
Dat is interesante. Nederlands shares common linguistic roots with English, while some of the Latin bits send my mind to Spanish. I got away with Que tal spreek jij with Patricia (also known as wonderwoman) before remembering the proper target language: Welke taal spreek jij? A bunch of my classmates are bi- or trilingual. The number of languages in the room is truly impressive: American Sign Language, Arabic, Berber, Bulgarian, Czech, English, Farsi, Flemish, French, Hindi, Russian, Spanish, Telugu, Turkish, Unsoka, and Yoruba. I am sure this list is not complete. At least I remember my own languages! Mahmoud got stuck on how to say “beroep” in Arabic. 😉
This class after the weekend was rough. After struggling with buitenlanders and vreemdelingen and none of us wonen in dezelfde gemeente, it is no wonder talk turned to food and socializing. Anne announced, “there are no tourists here!” – then promptly took us on a tour of the Leopoldus Lyceum. We went op de trap and af de trap, links en rechts, through all of the gelijkvloers and eerst verdieping. Anne is quite flexible. On the first day of class, she assigned a dialogue role to me but started to take it away when she realized the geslacht didn’t match. “We can’t have a girl reading a boy’s part,” she said, but I shrugged and said, “Why not?” So she let me. What do you think will happen when they find out?
Hey! My friend Anneleen won an award from the European Commission for her educational work with young people! I think it’s pretty cool. 🙂