I love language. The ability to communicate, often taken for granted, is an astonishing tool which gives a voice (figuratively and literally) to who we are as individuals, and in a broader scope, an insight into human nature. Without this intricate method with which to communicate, where would be as humans? How would we managein navigating our complex societies? The obvious answer? We wouldn’t.
This idea doesn’t cross many peoples’ minds. Speaking, to them, is as natural as walking. In my experience, two groups of people exist who stand apart from the crowd in acknowledging the wondrousness that is language. One are those with an interest in the area of linguistics. You know, the weirdos that are obsessed with language… just because. The other crowd is those, for whatever reason, find themselves living outside their comforts zones in areas where their native language is spoken rarely, if at all. These people quickly arrive at the conclusion that communication is a means of survival, with charades only get them so far.
Of course these two groups often overlap, producing… well, people like me. Those of us who go out of our way to study the minutiae aspects of a particular language, while simultaneously immersing themselves in the culture and people from which this language originates.
And my life in Mongolia is just that. It’s a dream come true. Of course, when you’re the only foreigner living in a Mongolian village half a world away from friends and family, not everything is peachy keen. Problems arise, making it easy to forget the unique opportunity which Peace Corps provides. It’s easy to look at the Mongolian language as a barrier, just one more mechanism preventing you from further integration and realization of potential. A few Peace Corps volunteers have adopted this attitude. Heck, even I somersault into this mode of thought on occasions. Thankfully enough, my freakish obsession with language always comes to the rescue, pulling me out of my stupor of self-pity and propelling me towards the next awesome slang or fascinating grammar point that awaits my attention.
Therefore I am super-duper excited to state that I have been selected to be a Mongolian language training for the new cohort of Peace Corps volunteers arriving in June. I will spend a month and a half visiting training sites to improve Pre Service Mongolian Language Training. Half of my summer will be filled working with Mongolian language teachers to improve their teaching techniques and helping newbie volunteers understand the more difficult grammar and pronunciation points of Mongolian. I will have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm and experience with ninety or so new volunteers as they discover the Mongolian language for themselves.
Now how awesome is THAT?