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language logjams

April 8, 2015

Dream Monday night contained basketball and Lithuanian(s), in some combination. That’s 7 dreams out of 8 days.

Tuesday morning, I searched on the ‘net for Lithuanian + Baltimore, and didn’t come up with much I think I can use. There actually is a “Lithuanian Saturday school” (!), over in the DC Beltway (an hour plus drive) but of course it’s just for kids.

= = =

Considerations/worries about how to proceed, and should I proceed, with anything related to learning Lithuanian:

  • I’ve wanted this for so so long, maybe if I figure out how to do it, it’ll be a disappointment. Perhaps I shouldn’t bother? (Despite 7 days of dreams, though?!?!!)
  • As a kid and adolescent, whenever I had some specific thing that I desperately wanted to do, and my mother (or some other adult) traumatized me over how they obstructed me from doing it… well, (I now know from my Body Movement Psychotherapy last year that) the trauma stuff remains stuck inside me, and it keeps insisting that if I pursue the thing, The World Will End.
  • The Lithuanian language itself is related to Sanskrit, and Proto-Indo-European. There… have been a lot of … social/cultural advances since PIE speakers were dispersing across the world. Do I want to try to learn tones and inflections and cases and all that stuff (in addition to vocabulary) just so that… there’s no way to talk about myself, because I’m not part of the gender binary?
  • Who will I speak it to? Or just practice it with? Gramma’s been dead since 1998.
  • Would I dream in Lithuanian? I did dream in Spanish when I was learning it in high school; in Latin, in college. That would be… wicked-cool.
  • I’m all about Pragmatic ~ what could I use this for? Granted, I often don’t have the slightest idea what a new interest might be useful for until I’m well into immersing myself in it, but the internal resistance on this is really strong.
  • If this would entail lots of social interactions… that’s not my strong suit. Especially not when everyone gets all nostalgic about their dear old parents, and the Old Country (that I’ve never been to, and don’t wish I was from), and all that.

When an interest I had as a kid pokes a head above the dirt, I usually dive right in. But this one…

I feel very conflicted.

= = =

Lots of people from cultures that were decimated by the British Empire are (understandably) angry that they grew up speaking English, even a global English, rather than whatever language their parents or grandparents spoke natively.

I think my own father has similar feelings, even though I think none of my direct ancestors spoke Irish Gaelic unless you go back well over a hundred years. (My father’s parents didn’t grow up speaking Gaelic, and they were born around the turn of the 20th century.)

The thing is… I’m happy I’m an American poet, who writes in English. That’s part of why I picked a name like ‘Meander’, that’s a regular word in the dictionary. {With a wicked-cool etymology, that’s not English at all, but I digress.}

I have never wished that I was born in Lithuania, nor Ireland; I’m ever so grateful my ancestors emigrated.

But now, > 100 years after my (maternal) grandparents were born, in Chicago, and near Pittsburgh, why do I need to learn their native tongue? Why now?

I don’t know, I don’t know.

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