I’ve been working on learning Hindi for several years now and I’m getting to be pretty good at understanding the basics. My ability to say things is pretty bad, but I’m still working on it (hence writing a story in Hindi for Nanowrimo!)
However, I’ve been thinking for a while that I should start learning a South Indian language. Most of my friends and community are South Indian and so I have little opportunity to practice Hindi. Also, the last time I went to India I couldn’t find any Hindi speakers.
Okay, that actually may be because my accent was so bad that people couldn’t tell I was trying to speak Hindi? Pretty discouraging. But anyway.
I was talking to a friend who is from Chennai about how I’m going to be visiting there (actually only a week or so after she’s there visiting too!) and I said that I’d love to have a few phrases I could say in Tamil.
She loved the idea and immediately offered to give me one-on-one Tamil lessons!
So last week I had my first one, beginning to learn the characters. This is going to be way more than just having a few phrases I can use, so I’m really excited about learning something new.
I haven’t had to learn a new script in a very long time. I really buckled down to learn the Sanskrit/Hindi script when I was a teenager but I had at least seen it all my life. We had a framed portrait of the Sanskrit alphabet on our dining room wall when I was growing up. I was familiar with it.
The Tamil script is something completely new.
Tonight is my second lesson. I love learning new things and I feel so lucky to have a friend ready to teach me. Not only that, but she is a teacher as a profession so she really knows exactly how to go about it. I think having someone I trust so much to help me start speaking, I might be able to get over my fear of speaking and of making mistakes.
I’ll let you know how it goes!