Learning Slovenian

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I’m amazed, I only started Slovenian evening classes in September, to help me with the project about my father and to try and have a conversation with him in Slovenian before he dies. Well, I have just looked over my posts and was astonished to find I understood some of the quotes that I wrote in Slovenian, which at the time I only understood because they had been translated for me.  This is real progress, at this rate I might soon be able to translate my father’s diaries myself!  ( possibly too ambitious)  I’m also surprised by how much I am loving learning the language. I never enjoyed languages at school, because I didn’t have the motivation to learn der, die, das etc. I could never remember what gender an object was. I had a fantastic German vocabulary because my mother was German, but no mastery of the grammar. French grammar was just as bad. However, Slovenian is amazing, because the noun actually tells you what gender it is by the ending! So you don’t have to learn that a wardrobe is feminine, you just know, as long as you know what its called.

Mind you, the Slovenian language has other problems, there are six cases for nouns, all changing the ending of the noun, also all changing if the noun is male, feminine or neuter, then they all change again if its singular, dual, more than three and more than five. This means every noun has well over 60 different options of how it ends according to all these rules. Not only that, they tend to be variations of a, i, e, o, u. The adjectives also change, but they mirror the noun. We are also still only in the present tense! This has not put me off. I love learning this language, it’s just so different from learning latin based languages and such a challenge. After this, I will try and tackle German grammar again.

However, I have found that the most interesting thing about being in this evening class, are the other people on the course. One student is there because she wants to be a spy and is also learning Russian. I am there trying to aid my learning about my father’s experience as a  Home Guard, during the second world war. Our teacher comes from a family that were Partisan Communists during the war. (She has offered to help me find someone to translate my father’s diaries from the war).  One man’s father was a British officer, who helped the Partisans. I haven’t really had a conversation with him yet, about whether his father was involved in the forced repatriations of the Home Guard and who were sent to their deaths. This will come in time. It all makes a very interesting mix. Of course, Slovenians have lived with this mixture for a very long time, but I have never been exposed to “the other side.” The whole of my Slovenian family were from the Home Guard. In fact, I never really knew anything about what happened, until about two years ago, when I started to make sure I understood.

 


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