Learning a Language

I was born into a ‘Yoruba’ family; Hence I am expected to know the language and its customs/traditions like the back of my hand- simply because of my surname.

This like a lot of you will agree is not automatic, because besides breathing, crying and ….pooping a child needs to learn how to do almost everything else.

Growing up, English was the major form of communication at home with very little of Yoruba spoken infrequently so I grew up learning to speak English really well.

At some point however I realized I needed to learn Yoruba (don’t ask me why) So I started to and boy was it tough.

I got my folks and anyone who cared to respond to my mountain of questions to help me.

The process involved listening to words, short sentences and repeating them (‘repeating' being the overstatement of the year) because the sounds I uttered sounded nothing like what I had heard and I was laughed at. This was feedback that I had anticipated but still hurt every single time. However I persisted undeterred.

Because I hated being laughed at, it motivated me to try to become better much quicker; And slowly (over a couple of years) these once unintelligible sounds started to actually carry meaning.

I realized this when a relative who I hadn’t seen in a while came to visit and was stunned at how much I had improved. I will never forget that feeling of accomplishment.

I have since never lacked for motivation. I happily endure every laugh, snide remark, or sheer disgust shown because of my ineptitude.

Fast forward a couple of decades. I’m a lot better….(even if I say so myself). I still have a ways to go before I can give speeches or sermons, but I’m better off because I never gave up, constantly sought feedback and used them as springboards towards excellence.

I have also now started learning completely foreign languages..

Yours faithfully

Future Polyglot