Ask any of my friends - I'm more than a little obsessed with animals, and I always have been. I'm always on the lookout for a creature nearby, and I'm known for shouting out the names of animals as I see them. I aspire to be a real birdwatcher (though I don't think I really have the patience for it), and petting zoos are my idea of heaven.
So you can imagine that this week, the week I finally started learning animal vocabulary, was a particularly motivating one for me.
Indeed, I spent a lot of time on Quizlet practicing animal vocabulary. But despite my high level of motivation, for some reason, I really have been struggling with it! Time and time again I'd get to elephant (or bird, or ant, or warthog) and completely forget the word.
To help move myself past this roadblock, I've been trying to make associations between the vocabulary word and its meaning. For example, the word for camel eng'amira includes the Arabic word for princess, amira, and I associate camels with Egypt, where Arabic is spoken. That little trick has helped me to remember the word for camel. I remember that enjaba means scorpion by imagining a scorpion jab its prey with its tail. And I've seen many lions in Queen Elizabeth National Park, in the western part of Uganda, which is close to the DRC city of Goma. This helps me remember that lion is empologoma.
Additionally, my Luganda vocabulary is getting to a point where I am now able to start making sense of words by connecting them to other Luganda words. For example, it is easy for me to remember spider because it is the compound of the pronoun for a woman, nna, and adjective for bad, bi; nnabbubi. Why spiders are like bad women, I'm curious to better understand, but in the meantime I will remember the word for spider by thinking of black widow spiders (a bad kind of spider/a certain kind of woman).
Similarly, the word for frog, ekikere, seems to be derived from the word for foot, which makes a lot of sense because of frogs' unique feet.
Despite these associations and the success they've brought me, I still have a long list of words I haven't mastered. The benefit of animal words is that I'm particularly motivated to figure them out!
Apart from the animal fun this week, I've been focused on simply getting in practice on a daily basis. That daily practice contributed to a great session with my language mentor on Friday. We went over one of his assignments for me, where I translated a short story from English to Luganda. It took me a very long time to complete the assignment, and included a number of more complex sentences that I was sure I had written incorrectly. Much to my surprise, I made very few mistakes! By going through my translation sentence by sentence, Simon and I were able to discuss better ways to communicate meaning, and this really helped me learn a lot.
Overall, it's been a good week. I think the animals helped! :) And looking ahead to the coming two weeks, I'm glad I was able to get in some solid study time. This week, a conference that I am planning will finally take place, and I have a feeling I'll be putting in some overtime hours at work. However, there will be people coming to the conference who speak Luganda, and so I'm hoping to balance the probability that I'll be working a bit less this week with the opportunity to put some of my language skills into practice.
Until next week!