Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I had my weekly lesson with Pastor Dean, a retired Lutheran minister in his 90s who gives me lessons at the church in Eureka. We have met twice now, and it's been tremendously helpful.
I really enjoy it, and kind of wish it happened more than once a week.
I am now envying my students with their intensive 5-hours-a-day, 4-days-a-week courses in English Listening, Speaking, Writing, Reading and Grammar. How I would love such a program in Swedish!
When I see Pastor Dean, I bring with me these two ancient children's readers that I picked up at a used book store in Eureka last summer. From those, I read to him, and he corrects my pronunciation.
Things I read or mistakes I make are segues into impromptu grammar lessons, on which I take many notes. I've learned a lot. When I say something right, he says encouragingly,"Beautiful!" Of course, he is Swedish-American and speaks with an American accent.
A friend in Sweden whom I occasionally try to speak to is not so impressed. He corrects me, but I don't hear the difference. I get shy and less willing to try.
This has made me more aware of when I correct my students' pronunciation. I correct them when they can't be understood. I want them to be understood, but I leave their beautiful accents alone. Maybe in Swedish, an American accent is not beautiful.