So, it’s this time of the year again – the time to present my Marshallese skills (or lack thereof). I am quite certain you won’t be enormously impressed with my achievements so far, nevertheless I thought it would be nice to share my progress with you. So, here we go.
Iọkwe aolep! [Hello everyone!]
Ej et ami mour? [How are you guys doing?]
Elukkuun eṃṃan rainin. [I’m doing great today.]
Eṃōḷo rainin ije ij jokwe ia. [It’s cold today where I live.]
Idike ñe ej eṃōḷo. [I hate it when it’s cold.]
Ilukkuun ṃōṇōṇō kōnke ilju ekūrijṃōj. [I’m very happy because it’s Christmas tomorrow.]
Ok, let’s start with a few sentences about Marshallese and my learning journey.
Ij ḷōmṇak kwōjeḷā ke ij katak Kajin Ṃajeḷ. [I think you know that I’m learning Marshallese.]
Ij katak Kajin Ṃajeḷ kōnke eoktak jān jen aolep kajin. [I’m learning Marshallese because it’s different from other languages.]
Eṃṃan katak kajin ippa. [I like learning languages.]
Ilukkuun ṃōṇōṇō kōnke ij katak Kajin Ṃajeḷ. [I’m very happy that I’m learning Marshallese.]
Ij ḷōmṇak ealikkar ke ikōṇaan katak Kajin Ṃajeḷ. [I think it’s obvious that I want to learn Marshallese.]
Epen katak Kajin Ṃajeḷ. [It is hard to learn Marshallese.]
Ejab pidodo kōṃṃan iien katak ñe kwōj jerbal. [It’s not easy to find time to study when you work.]
Ejjab ḷap aō iien ñan katak. [I don’t have much time to study.]
Ijab maroñ katak aolep raan kōnke eḷap aō jerbal. [I can’t study every day because I work a lot.]
Ej ḷap wōt aō kōṃṃan bōd. [I still make a lot of mistakes.]
There is also something I would like to say to all the Marshallese people.
Eṃṃan kajin ṇe ami. [Your languages is beautiful.]
Ijab meḷeḷe kajin ṇe ami. [I don’t understand your language.] – I hope this will change (sooner rather than later!).
And now I want to tell you a bit about my plans for the future.
Ij ḷōmṇak in katak Kajin Hawaii. Ikōṇaan jinoe ilo Jānwōde. [I’m planning to learn Hawaiian. I want to start in January.]
Ilju im jekḷaj ikōṇaan katak Kajin Kilbōt. [In the future I want to learn the Kiribati language.]
That’s true, I’m going to embark on a new linguistic adventure on the first of January (because why not?). We will see if I’ll manage to learn two languages at once. It surely won’t be easy, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know! And yes, I really want to learn te taetae ni Kiribati, which will be my next choice.
Ejab pidodo jeje kōn kajin. [It’s not easy to write about language.] Especially if you’re trying to write something (smart) in the language you’ve been learning for only two years!
We could also chat about everything and nothing in particular. Ok, the truth is, I wouldn’t be able to have a real chat in Marshallese just yet, but here are some questions and sentences I can make.
Koṃij ta ilo awa kaṇe ami repeḷḷok? [What do you do in your free time?]
Aolep iien ij riit bok. [I always read books.]
Bwijin aō bok. [I have many books.]
Ebwe ke ami iien ñan kakkije? [Do you have enough time to rest?]
Ejabwe aō iien ñan kakkije. [I don’t have much time to rest.]
And last but not least, I just have to ask you:
Koṃ kōṇaan ke jipañ eo ilo aō katak Kajin Ṃajeḷ? [Do you want to help me with my Marshallese?]
I guess that’s it for now. Have I made any progress? I will say I have. Maybe it’s not spectacular, but I think I am slowly (very slowly) moving forward. My vocabulary is still limited, the Marshallese grammar proves to be a challenge, and pronunciation… I won’t even mention it! Despite this, I am proud of myself. One year ago I couldn’t make complex sentences, and now I can. They are not perfect, but a Marshallese person would understand what I mean, right?
Speaking of perfect sentences, I have to make a confession. The above sentences were checked and corrected by my “tutor” (koṃṃooltata Tina!). Originally, not all were perfect. I did make mistakes. I wish I hadn’t, but I did. As discouraging as it is, I have to remember that no one has ever learnt a foreign language without making mistakes along the way.