Sunday, February 8, 2015

Teaching English on Taquile

A group of Danish people are running a summer vacation English Class for Taquile youth. Twenty soles per month, or about $7. Quite a few of our family members are enrolled: Clever (age 10 on January 29), Ivan (age 14), Natalia (age 17), plus from Felipe´s family his wife Ines, Illliane and Anali. We visited the class and were invited to help with pronounciation. Then we offered to teach extra classes while they go to Puno to teach. Great fun. Teach how to say the English "th" sounds. I think not nearly as difficult as all these four different "g" and "k" and even "p" sounds in Quechua. An then there is the short "i"  and that every vowel "uh" sound that we use. I act things out with big gestures. "Uh" is a sock in the gut. Now nearly every kid on the island knows us and greets us with "Good morning," or at least a big smile.
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The first day, Sam and I made up a dialog of meeting tourists at the boat and inviting them to say overnight, "We have a room where you can stay." I also notice that Quechua has a word for "evening" which I haven´t found. My meager Quechua has been very helpful.
The Danish teachers drew pictures of their families. 

On Friday (30 Jan.) a storyteller joined us. He is a history teacher in Lima and an actor, originally from Cusco and well versed in Fables, Legends and Tales in Quechua. He has us put all the chairs in a big circle. He was most dramatic and dressed in typical clothing from Cusco area. Unfortunately, his Quechua is very different from the language here. Afterward Ivan told me that he missed about half the words. I knew that our Quechua here around Lake Titicaca differs from the Cusco Quechua, but I did not realize that it was that different. We borrow from Spanish and Aymara, but now I learn that two very old languages, perhaps from the Teohuanaco Culture also influence our Quechua. Pukinas and also Pukaras are the names of the old languages.
Mario Warangamaki Castillo, narrador oral indigena
He finished his stories with only about 30 minutes left in class, so I presented some coyote tales. One where coyote gets in trouble for laughing at Spider Woman´s rope coming out of her butt, and another of how coyote tried to stay up all night to be in line early to get a more powerful name. The snoring always gets a good laugh.

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