Is the sound of me in at the deep end in a language class. Amongst the people who are familialy and ancestrially connected with a small Balkan country, I was there in a linguistic fug. Never have I felt more in need of a glass of prošec. (Hard sh sound)
I set out on this linguistic brain yoga lightly equipped. Still, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. Given I’ve been working furiously on the MA over the summer, I’ve not had the leisure to immerse myself in the sounds of Croatian. So I will be having a read of some exercises this week to feel less like the class dunce.
Svetlana, our teacher, was reassuringly direct. This wasn’t going to be easy, and frankly, if she said it was, I wouldn’t have believed her. She set rules – 2 hours exercises a week and participation in class. Then she went over some basics concerning the alphabet and cases.
Each letter in a word is is pronounced and doesn’t change. There are some cheeky characters which I’m sure will become less subtle, eg., ć and č, a ch and a ch sound. Being one of ‘those’ languages, it also has cases. Seven of them. Happily we will only need to worry about four…
Interesting political distinctions were drawn and reflected in the composition and layout of the classroom. It’s a joint Croatian and Serbian class, so both are taught concurrently. Svetlana made it clear that despite the split, they are more like dialects of the same language, polycentric in nature.
And then we got down to business.