Speak Serbian or Die!
Should be the name of my language school.
Everyday I arrive fresh and ready to learn, and everyday I leave frustrated to tears.
We have covered more in 3 days than I learned in 1 year in a high school language class.
On the website it says that because of the method of their teaching, you will not feel intellectual fatigue throughout the intensive course. This is the first sign of Serbian humor I have encountered so far. And its sick humor indeed.
Every day one of our teachers asks us if we got a chance to walk around or see Belgrade? Is this a joke? I spent 6 hours locked in my hostel room puzzling through complex grammar and endless homework and vocabulary flashcards….see Belgrade? This must be a sick joke too…
I feel as if I’m in a war concentration camp and I am a prisoner in an interrogation room. They stand over me yelling in a foreign language, that I must give answers, or I will be tortured. And so, I stutter out answers, from who knows where. Then when we are finally done, they rush out without so much as a goodbye.
We were punished for being late after our first 30 minute lunch break on the first day. We could barely find a dirty meat shop, order unknown food in broken Serblish, and race back in the 30 minute allotment, let alone eat to feed our tired bleeding brains.
At one point, during a more lighthearted session, we were to listen to a song in Serbian, and fill in the missing words on the paper. Now, I know that even in my own language, I sometimes can’t decipher words in a song. And these are Serbian words we have never heard before. Its like if someone had never seen or heard of a hat before, or a boat, and you showed them a picture of a hat or boat, and said, “WRITE WHAT IT IS!” How could they recognize it if they had never seen it before? And how could we recognize a word, and spell it, In Cyrillics, if we’ve never heard it or seen it before?
Also, today, we had a grammar lesson on the locative case. WTF is a case? In Serbian they have 7. We were to adjust the endings to the words according the feminine, masculine, and neutral, and also depending on whether they were nouns or adjectives in the sentences. But first you must adjust it to the nominative, and then transfer to the Locative. Lets start by saying that we hadn’t heard of 80% of the words in the paragraph, let alone know whether they were nouns or adjectives. And the teacher says, “you understand, no?” Umm..No. Why, she says? Because I’ve never seen most of those words before. Oh, and the locative is based on pronouns, but in Serbian, pronouns are not used the same way as in English. “On” could mean “at” or “on”. “Of” could mean “on” or “of”. Depending on what type of place it is. Is it open air, closed, is it an event? Oh, and in English we have Mine, Yours, His, Hers, Their, Ours. 6 possessive pronouns. In Serbian they have 30 POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS! THIRTY!!! WHY?!?!?! I don’t know why?!?!?! So we are choosing the possessive pronoun and the preposition and adjusting the nouns and adjectives according to gender and case, and conjugating the verbs as well. At the speed of light. And don’t even get me started about how if their is a group of females, and 1 person in the group is male, the whole group is male. And cities are all male too, even if they are spelled with a feminine way, ending in A, because the word for cities is male, grad. But countries can be different genders based on their spelling, even through the word for country is also female. NONSENSICAL? DA!
I better speak Serbian after this, or else this is all just a very unnecessary lesson in humility.
Speak Serbian or Die!