Friday, January 8, 2010

Chit Chat

The first hour of Nepali class consists of chit chat. Casual conversation. This is painful for me for two reasons.

First, class begins at 7:40 in the morning. I can barely speak English that early in the morning, nevermind Nepali.

Secondly, I'm not much for chit chat. If I have something to say, I'll say it, but otherwise, the pressure to maintain polite conversation for an hour is painful (especially without the assistance of a cocktail).

Of course, speaking at length is an important part of the language test. I feel like I'm being judged for a character flaw rather than a deficiency in speaking the language.

A friend of mine who is also a language student has the gift of the gab. During her first test, she was given a photograph of Kofi Annan and asked to talk about him for 10 minutes. What she knew about Kofi and was capable of saying after a few months of training only lasted a few minutes. So she made up stuff. She explained that Kofi came to America for college. That's when he met her mother; in fact, she is Kofi's love child. I'm not sure if she used the literal Arabic translation for "love child" or if she paraphrased.