my Cyprus, my Κύπρος, my Kıbrıs

Language learning in retrospect

Even as I touch fingertips to the keyboard, I cannot believe how long it’s taken me to write this post; to return to this topic, which happens to be one of the central themes of this blog, the topic of language.

And one of the reasons I’m pondering why it’s taken me so long to write this post, is because seven months ago I set up a Language Exchange programme, with meetings mainly taking place at the Home for Cooperation, situated in the Nicosia buffer zone opposite Ledra Palace (hotel). For anyone who doesn’t know what Language Exchange is or the point of it, it’s a great way for a language learner to practise speaking with a native speaker free of the constraints of a classroom. For example, as a learner of Turkish I could potentially meet up with someone whose native language is Turkish, but they want to practise English or Greek. Each partner has a language to offer the other, and insights into their native language as well as culture. Most importantly, it’s a means to practise a language without fear of ridicule.

As I sat opposite my Language Exchange partner last week (we’re usually a group, this time it was just the two of us), I felt so proud to have got this far; far enough to speak and be another person through this third language. Indeed, I also felt grateful to have met new people through this programme. And as she spoke of that crippling fear of making mistakes – the fear most of us have of being laughed at – I realised that somehow along the way I had cast aside that fear. I’m not quite sure when I managed to cast it aside but it was a fear that not only plagued me but hindered my language learning. Undoubtedly, remnants of that fear still survive and how can they not? Juggling more than one language is never easy.

But the fire of determination to keep learning burns much stronger in all of us, extinguishing the fear.


For more info on Language Exchange check out my Facebook page:

And to find a group or partner just send me a message via the page.

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