Week three of the summer language course and I’m both encouraged and discouraged by my language skills after one year in Lithuania. It has been a great boost to my confidence that I can understand almost everything we read and the teacher says. Oral and reading comprehension — definitely in the greatly improved category.
However, I’ve been discouraged at how difficult it is for me to speak grammatically and with how small my vocabulary is. I am speaking better, but the truth is that — other than using Lithuanian on a daily basis — I haven’t really invested much time in memorizing words or practicing grammar. I thought I’d pick up a lot more vocabulary simply by osmosis instead of taking the time to really learn the new words I encountered every day. Of course, that doesn’t work so well in the long run. It is easy to be lazy when I can make myself understood and when people consistently compliment me on my Lithuanian language no matter how poorly I know I speak.
But, then again, maybe I’m just being too much of a perfectionist. It’s been really useful to re-focus on grammar and identify what I know well and what I need to work on. And I’m motivated to maintain my Lithuanian language ability when I am back in Seattle. After all, I expect I’ll be back in Lithuania in the future so I’ll have more opportunities to continue learning and maybe one day I’ll actually be fluent.