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I started level 5 of my Turkish lessons. There are six levels and each one takes two months to complete. So in about four months I will be speaking Turkish! I’m so much looking forward to it, really. Truth is, of course, learning a language is so much more frustrating than I ever thought. When Turks see the book we are working on now in class, they are amazed: ‘Do you know that much already?’, and some start talking rapid Turkish to me immediately. I then have to explain that learning grammar is one thing, using it is something quite different. While my grammar is at level 5, my listening skills are somewhere around 2.5, and speaking skills at 3. For me, talking is easier then listening. When I talk, I can at least use words I know, but when people talk to me, they never seem to use words that are in my vocabulary. Sometimes, like tonight in class, I am near the point of totally losing my motivation. Felt like throwing the book out of the window (or using it to light the bbq), and making do with English, some broken Turkish and a translator. But then I thought: I wouldn’t be so frustrated if I didn’t really, really want to learn it. And, lucky me, I’m not like many of my classmates in level 4, who stayed in Turkey for one year and are now back in their home countries, probably never to return here. I can stay in Turkey as long as I want. I decided I will stay at least as long as is needed to really learn the language. High Turkish (a level of Turkish that is mainly used in media and literature), that’s my aim. That will take a few more years. NO, that’s not slow, that’s just how long it takes – my teacher said so!

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