Friday, 18 January 2013

Able To...

©Dan Donche
For our last day with the Darkana Tarot (Dan Donche, 2012), we have a sadly evocative version of the Five of Pentacles.

A wheelchair sits in the bottom right hand corner, with three pentacles as the visible wheels.  In the top left corner, two more pentacles hang in the sky, overlapping each other.  The wheelchair suggests sickness or disability, though not necessarily the poverty or dearth of resources often associated with this card.  And those two floating pentacles suggest the hope and resources seen in the traditional stained glass window of a church, without the Christian associations.

Strangely, this card makes me think about the fact that we are often a lot more able than we think we are.  I guess it's because I've been thinking about my business trip, and how I often feel at a disadvantage speaking in German.  Although it was the first "foreign" language I learned, I've never mastered some of the basics.  The fact that they have 16 different variants on the word "the" might give you some idea why! 

And yet, realistically, I do speak it well.  It's fair to say I'm fluent, simply that my German grammar is nowhere near as good as my English grammar.  Then again, there are plenty of blogs out there that show even native speakers (in this case of English) don't all have great spelling and grammar skills.  So, while I have decided to get a German tutor for a while, perhaps I should also cut myself some slack, and appreciate the abilities I do have!

I am grateful my workshop tomorrow is in English ;)

6 comments:

  1. Child, you are gifted. I'd go so far as to say 'blessed'. Don't worry. Your German is no doubt better than the English many, many native speakers of English. Possibly better than some native speakers of German, I'd venture. Definitely DO cut yourself some slack.You know,that wheelchair is empty. Obviously the person worrying about it doesn't need it. All in the head, my dear.

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    1. Ha, love the perspective on the fact the wheelchair is empty! Very good point :)

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  2. Good point about ability...and i think wheelchair is especially great metaphor because there are a lot of ideas around what it means to be disabled, and like totally does not mean as much as people think. then again i have in the last year or so become friends with a rather vocal disability self-advocacy focused classmate so... :]

    as for the language, yeah. I think the thing is when we learn a language we often feel that we 'should' know it perfectly when in fact...if you can speak it, understand and be understood, you already have the main point of learning done.
    As for improving, I would highly suggest reading and listening/watching things in german. We often want to improve our 'active' language skills (speaking, writing) but doing the passive end is a nice way to let things seep in slowly over time, if you do it regularly. or so i notice, and so my parents who learned english from that alone tell me. I've been trying to make time more regularly to watch news clips and documentaries in arabic, and reading news articles and such because...it helps you get an intuitive grasp on the language, what it is 'supposed' to sound like, etc.

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    1. Hiya Bonkers,

      I've taught languages, and always recommend exactly those things, as well as stuff like reading out loud in the language (to practice getting your tongue around how the sounds form at a body memory level). Problem is, I don't watch much TV or listen to the radio much, and my Dear One doesn't speak the language at all. So, can't do it while he's around. Still, where there's a will, right? I shall commit to watching something in German everyday, even if it's just a five minute youtube clip :) Maybe I can find some German podcasts (though I still have English podcasts I haven't listened to yet...)

      As for disabled not meaning as much as people think, that all depends! Your classmate is able to be vocal and to advocate on disability, so that already suggests her disability is mild... My son is five and can't talk and can't walk by himself, and there are other kids less socially able and less mobile in his school!

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  3. I see the empty wheelchair as someone who refused the help that they needed. They didn't take up the offer to let someone else push them, to help them. (this may be because I'm projecting my own post from today. LOL)

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    1. Even if it is projection, it's a good perspective, Arwen :) We sometimes find it hard to accept help. I hope I'm getting better at not just accepting it, but even asking for it!

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