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Showing posts from March, 2017

okukozesa (to use)

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My plan, going into this year's spring break, was to step away from most of my daily work to focus on another project that demands my attention. I decided that I'd do at least a little bit of Quizlet every day, to keep my vocabulary fresh.

And while I mostly stuck to that plan, I found myself accidentally using my Luganda skills anyway.

I visited Northwestern's library early in the break to try to access some primary source documents I need for a history paper. (It was also a nostalgic visit back to my alma mater, and specifically to the Africana library at NU, where I had a carrel and worked on my first big research project as an undergraduate, ten years ago!) The library had some more "recent" editions of Munno, the Luganda-language Catholic newspaper that I thought I would look at to see if there was anything relevant to my research project.

This was my first chance to really use Luganda to achieve an academic goal. And boy did it feel good. I felt like hot s…

recovery

If I were to sum up both the last week of my life and the last week of Luganda study, the word I'd use would be recovery.

I woke up on Tuesday feeling miserable,  though the night before I'd felt fine. I ended up being totally out commission that day, a little better but still stuck in bed on Wednesday, and up but feeling crappy on Thursday. This timing was particularly bad as I was working hard to get ahead on some work in anticipation of a lot of assignments due this week. In addition to feeling sick, I also felt quite stressed about getting everything done.

Along with my other studies, my Luganda took a hit while I was sick. I did nothing on Tuesday, and had to cancel my meeting with Simon on Wednesday. By Wednesday night I felt like all hope had been lost in terms of me completing my 70 Omuzannyo points for the week.

But, as my body recovered, my Luganda did as well. Somehow, between an intensive session watching videos, some lesson work in preparation for my discussion wi…

language learning is social

This past week was a reminder of some of the fundamentals of my language learning practice. As obvious as this may sound, I was reminded of the inherently social nature of language. It's so easy to get swept up in grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, listening that it can be hard to remember the incredible bridge that language can be.

The main reason for this revelation was a coffee meeting with a Ugandan woman who is a graduate student here. We discussed our research interests, previous work, what brought us to Madison, and my language practice. And we did much of the conversing in Luganda. At first, my language was shaky. Speaking with someone new is always a little nerve-wracking! But, my new friend responded with such warmth and supportiveness that I quickly eased into it. The social bond between us was reinforced in a totally new way because of the shared language(s!).

The next day, I told my language mentor about my coffee date. He was so excited! He wanted to know all abo…