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.
Io̗kwe aolep! [Hello everyone!]
Ej et ami mour? [How are you guys doing?]
Elukkuun em̧m̧an rainin. [I’m doing great today.]
Em̧ōļo rainin ije ij jokwe ia. [It’s cold today where I live.]
Idike n̄e ej em̧ōļo. [I hate it when it’s cold.]
Ilukkuun m̧ōņōņō kōnke ilju ekūrijm̧ōj. [I’m very happy because it’s Christmas tomorrow.]
Ok, let’s start with a few sentences about Marshallese and my learning journey.
Ij ļōmņak kwōjeļā ke ij katak Kajin M̧ajeļ. [I think you know that I’m learning Marshallese.]
Ij katak Kajin M̧ajeļ kōnke eoktak jān jen aolep kajin. [I’m learning Marshallese because it’s different from other languages.]
Em̧m̧an katak kajin ippa. [I like learning languages.]
Ilukkuun m̧ōņōņō kōnke ij katak Kajin M̧ajeļ. [I’m very happy that I’m learning Marshallese.]
Ij ļōmņak ealikkar ke ikōņaan katak Kajin M̧ajeļ. [I think it’s obvious that I want to learn Marshallese.]
Epen katak Kajin M̧ajeļ. [It is hard to learn Marshallese.]
Ejab pidodo kōm̧m̧an iien katak n̄e kwōj jerbal. [It’s not easy to find time to study when you work.]
Ejjab ļap aō iien n̄an katak. [I don’t have much time to study.]
Ijab maron̄ katak aolep raan kōnke eļap aō jerbal. [I can’t study every day because I work a lot.]
Ej ļap wōt aō kōm̧m̧an bōd. [I still make a lot of mistakes.]
There is also something I would like to say to all the Marshallese people.
Em̧m̧an kajin ņe ami. [Your languages is beautiful.]
Ijab meļeļe kajin ņe 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 ļōmņak in katak Kajin Hawaii. Ikōņaan jinoe ilo Jānwōde. [I’m planning to learn Hawaiian. I want to start in January.]
Ilju im jekļaj ikōņaan 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.
Kom̧ij ta ilo awa kaņe ami repeļļok? [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 n̄an kakkije? [Do you have enough time to rest?]
Ejabwe aō iien n̄an kakkije. [I don’t have much time to rest.]
And last but not least, I just have to ask you:
Kom̧ kōņaan ke jipan̄ eo ilo aō katak Kajin M̧ajeļ? [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” (kom̧m̧ooltata 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.