Jan 31, 2009

English -> Spanish -> Persian?

I have posted before that some of my students are endeavoring to teach me Mandarin in exchange for my Spanish lessons. And I am loving it. I treasure the CD one child gave me of pop Chinese music.

I have another student who has not chosen to share her first language with me. That is, until recently. She is Persian. And she has not fallen in love with my class. Again, at least until recently. She is in the 8th grade, which means this is her second year with me.

Suddenly two weeks ago she exclaimed in the middle of class, "What did they just say?" I showed the video clip again and was met with incredulity. "Did they say 'bale'? That's Persian and means OK"

No, the characters had said "vale" which is Spanish for OK. So, I promised her I would find out if the two words had any common ancestry - we have discussed the Arabic influence in Spanish before, so it was a possibility. They don't. At least, not unless you go back to proto-Indoeuropean languages. Vale in Spanish comes from the Latin.

She also asked me about the word basta. Again, no apparent connection between the Persian and the Spanish.

But, that's not the point. The point is: She is noticing. She is caring. She is drawing comparisons between now three languages and cultures. And she trusts me to find out information for her. :)

It's not always about having the right answer. Sometimes, it is all about how we see the world and how we interact with our fellow human beings.

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