I am no polyglot or linguist and my tongue has really struggled to grasp the new sounds the Marathi language has exposed it to. I’ve been told by native Hindi speakers who live in Maharashtra that it’s hard for them to pronounce some Marathi words as well, which makes me feel a little better. It doesn’t stop the people I meet in Nagpur saying things like, “you should be fluent by now, we can speak English so why can’t you speak Marathi?”. I had never even heard of the Marathi language or Maharashtra before I met my husband, whilst English is one of of India’s many national languages, but that is for another day…
So, anyway, I find Marathi very difficult to speak, my tongue just doesn’t seem to want to accept it, I just cannot form many of the words with my voice (doesn’t mean I don’t samajatha the jist of what people are saying around me).
Slowly but surely, small bits and pieces are starting to stick. The things that have stuck and I am able to actually say are, logically, things I hear constantly repeated, over and over. For example, when my husband is on the phone he says “baaki chhan” all the time, and that basically means that everything is good. I’ve got that one sussed and locked in the memory bank!
One evening, whilst parking our car, my husband asks me if everything is okay.
“Jackie Chan”, I reply. Oops!