Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tuning out

Language learning. (shudder) Yes, I'm in the process of learning German. I have Rosetta Stone, a language partner and I'm enrolled in an intensive German course in the Fall. Unfortunately I haven't been blessed with a bent on learning foreign languages so this process will be, well, a process and quite possibly long and arduous. Yikes! 

My family attends a local German church and they offer headsets with English translation. Last Saturday my daughter and I attended "Be The Change" which is an outreach program consisting of helping at nursing homes, shelters, orphanages, etc. Everyone gathers at the church then disperses to the places in need of help on that particular Saturday. We saw another North American missionary family and decided to join their group to make it a bit easier while in the language learning process. So, the different leaders explain about the different locations and tasks and while they were speaking I zoned out. Literally tuned them out. I leaned over to my daughter to ask her if she "caught" anything at all and found out that she tuned it all out too. 

How will I ever learn if I tune out what I can't / don't understand? 

Recently, my mom was fitted with cochlear implants in both ears. (She's had severe hearing loss since she was a child.) She explained to me that she was hearing sounds for things that she never thought made noise. The dinging of microwaves. The clacking of the keyboard. The sounds were so overwhelming to her because she hasn't learned how to tune them out. For the first time I understood her world a bit better. 

How many sounds or voices do we tune out on a daily basis? Not out of hearing loss, but a choice. 

Are you in the foreign language learning process? Any tips for those of us in the thick of it? 


  1. What helped me the most (both in French and in Zarma), especially when I was in church, or listening to the radio/tv was consciously repeating everything I heard when listening to the church service/programs. It kept me from tuning out, helped me grasp the "music" of the language more readily, and allowed me to start understanding more quickly - even if I wasn't ready to open my mouth yet.

  2. Tuning people and/or things out can be a real problem and I have been a victim of this same thing. I am really working at allowing God to help me be more aware and hear the things He wants me to hear. Good article.