“Can I be cruel?” my Sanskrit teacher asked in class this week. Actually all he was proposing was that we read out loud the new vocabulary lists rather than listening to him introduce us to unfamiliar words. Not so terribly cruel after all, but the rules of engagement for adult learning are very different to what I encountered at school – mercifully!
I wrote last week about how my teacher is changing his teaching style as we become incrementally more competent and confident. This is just another part of that. He is definitely more stern with higher expectations. And slightly impatient at my continued inability to remember verb endings. He even marked our written homework formally. Not sure about the purple ink though!
So somehow I need to step up a bit and keep better pace with learning grammar and vocab as we go along. I’m slightly in danger of getting lost. I’m going to try to make use of some odd moments during each day — I think it’s just endless repetition I need to make anything new stick. It must be my age 🙂
I’d chatted with my teacher between classes about how excited I was to be learning Sanskrit and the daily practice I have of writing out some sutras of Patañjali – which started simply as a discipline to ensure I do read through fully before Yoga TT, but is also great Devenagari writing practice and, if I stop to think, usually also yields some tiny bit of language understanding too (currently I’m practicing spotting dative and genitive case endings!). So my enthusiasm for getting on to proper texts (such overweening impatience from one who hasn’t yet mastered the present tense of group 1 verbs!) infected my teacher also and he promised to read a line or two from the Bhagavad Gita each class once we’ve finished agonising our way through a simple story from our textbook.
We started last night – my very first line of the BG! Yes, just one line! He translated and talked over the grammar in a simplified way since it’s way above our current level. But a couple of words were familiar in their basic form so it at least feels like the same language as our baby-reading and in a few years’ time I could maybe make something of it myself… It feels like a long road. But so cool to get close to a real text!