For my personal project I intend to learn a foreign language, Creole. I will attempt to gain the ability to carry a conversation in this language as well as develop the skills to create my own personal statements. It is a language which contains several different forms of the same words and can be quite difficult to learn, however I already have somewhat of an understanding and hope this will aid my in my mission. Creole involves several mannerisms when speaking which also must be learnt to add authenticity to my ability. To learn my language I will get a teacher, the research I will perform will be on the science of learning a language. The reason I chose this language is that it is the native language of Mauritius; my father's country of origin and all of my paternal cousins can speak. I feel that if I can learn this language I can form a closer bond with my family and in essence make myself more Mauritian.
Another reason is that this language is a language that strongly represents the Mauritian culture and I do not want it to be lost in my branch of the family. The slaves created the language when they first went to the island and means a lot to me. It is a very beautiful language that flows very nicely and has rhythm. Lastly, my parents told me that as a graduation present I will be going to Mauritius therefore this project is very practical.
First, I got a teacher, my father to teach me. We had one-on-one sessions in which he would speak to me only in Creole and then I had to translate to show an understanding, in return I would answer him in Creole. Also he would ask questions or name something to test my understanding. Since I could already understand somewhat all I have to do is learn when to use which words and how. He also had me listen to songs because it is in songs that the true Creole is heard. While listening to songs I was able to take notes on what was being said to once again test my understanding. My uncles from Mauritius have also been helping me by speaking to me only n Creole and expecting me to respond to them back in Creole. One of them has also given me a tape from the MBC, the national broadcasting station of Mauritius, which contains sitcoms in Creole. This tape has been very useful because I can see the interaction of the people while they conversed as well as the mannerisms they use.
I have found several sites where they discuss how people learn languages and the abilities it requires to do so. They have allowed to figure out the best way to go about learning the language and what I should focus on depending at what level I am at. I must do some more research, hopefully I can find some books which discuss the reasons that learning a language become more and more difficult as we age. I will attempt to go to McGill and Concordia to find some information and maybe even UQAM.
This project deals most with the area of interaction: approaches to learning. To carry out my project I am using all of the abilities I have gained through my years of school. I'm using the skills obtained from FSL courses as well as those from my two years of Spanish. I have to use English skills in order to write a coherent paper and all organizational skills I have ever gained to be able to sort everything and meet deadlines. Research skills that I have achieved from most classes, mainly science, have helped me in determining what information is relevant and useful. They have also helped find sources of information. Another area of interaction is one that is linked with the theme for secondary five, the world around us and environment. The language spoken is one that is hugely dependent upon the people in the environment; because Mauritians surround me when I go out learning Creole can help me in those situations. Even at school I can be in a situation where I am with Mauritians the ability to speak Creole can change the situation. The whole concept of learning a language is related to the theme of the world around us because when we learn a new language we are changing our perspective on life as we can now see it for another point of view, from another culture. We expand our horizons and make ourselves more understanding and open-minded as we are accepting another form of life. Learning Creole will make me more aware of the rest of the world as there are at least six different countries that speak the language. This will also make me more versatile and better equipped to face the world around me.
I think I will be able to achieve my goal and learn Creole, not quite sure what is meant by strengths and weaknesses. This process s a very long one, however I believe it forces us to organize ourselves and in the end brings out the best in us. It allows for us to exploit our good qualities and learn more about what interests us.