Learning a Language

The other day a teacher posted a beautiful poem about language learning on Facebook. It was called ‘Learning a Language’ and was by somebody called Olivia McMahon. I instantly googled her but could not find out much, except that she is a poet from Scotland, who also writes text books for English as a foreign language. Her poem has been posted on various blog posts and teachers seem to have used it in assemblies and language lessons. And that’s all I found out.

But the poem is so beautiful that I made a video of it. I hope you’ll like it and if Olivia McMahon ever sees it, I hope she likes it as well.

I think I can safely say that the feelings  she describes apply to every language learner. What do you think?

Here’s the text again for you to read:

Learning a Language (by Olivia Mc Mahon)

Learning a language
is like doing a jigsaw puzzle
of a million pieces
with a picture that keeps changing.
It’s like getting lost in a foreign city
without a map.
It’s like playing tennis without a ball,
like being an ant in a field of grasshoppers.
It’s being an acrobat with a broken leg,
an actor without a script,
a carpenter without a saw,
a storyteller without a middle or an end.

But then gradually
it¹s like being out in the early morning
with the mists lifting.
It¹s like a chink of light under a door,
like finding the glove you were looking for,
catching the train you thought you were going to miss,
getting an unlooked-for present,
exchanging a smile.

And then one day it’s like riding a bicycle
very fast downhill.

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