This was always a hot topic in my language acquisition and instructional methods classes: the use of music in teaching/learning a second language. Now that I'm putting all those theories and research papers to the test, I'm finding that music really is a great way to practice my Romanian.

For example, in Romania, we use the same phrase to refer to singing and playing instruments: Îmi place să cânt și știu să cânta pian. Literally translated, I like to sing and I know how to sing the piano. Musicians will often tell you that for singers, the voice is their instrument, and for instrumentalists, the instrument is their voice. I love the way that idea is expressed so clearly in this language.

As you may know, music has always been a big part of my life. Although I've long since abandoned my childhood desire to be a music teacher (musician + teacher does not always = music teacher), it is one of my favorite expressions of worship. That being said, going to church in a foreign language will really test your attitude toward worship. Don't like the music style of your church? Not a fan of the preaching? Well, at least you can understand what's going on. 

Sunday morning I was reminded of the song that says, "When the music fades and all is stripped away, and I simply come... I'll bring you more than a song..." Nowhere is this concept more clear to me than when I'm straining to catch a word here and there, to read along in my English Bible and get the main topic of the sermon. Often the hymns are familiar, and I'm tempted to sing along with the English lyrics, but sometimes the translation has a completely different idea. So, instead of singing the memorized words that I don't have to think about so much, I read along from the Romanian lyrics and refer to my dictionary when necessary. I don't want to offer God a memorized worship, as good as those English words may be. Part of adapting to a new culture is learning it's language, with the values and ideas that are expressed in it, and that's something google translate can't always help you with. I'm learning more than a song; I'm learning a new way to worship the God of all nations, tribes, and tongues.

In closing, here are the choruses to two songs originally written in English, translation by yours truly. Dr. Brock, if you happen to be reading this, here is some primary research to support my paper from Methods I. From these songs I learned the root words for blessing, refuge, strength, and helper. 

"Blessed Be Your Name"
Binecuvântat fie El                     Blessed be God,
Binecuvântat                              Blessed.
Binecuvântat fie El                     Blessed be God,
Binecuvântam numele Său         We bless His name.

"Awesome God"*
Dumnezeu e tarea mea                God is my strength
Adapost pentru sufletul meu        A refuge for my soul
Ajutor când povarea e grea         Helper when the burden is difficult
Dumnezeu e tarea mea                God is my strength 

*Notice that this is completely different from the English version, and I think I like these words better. The motions you learned at VBS don't correspond, though. This happens a lot, so watch out when you're on a mission trip somewhere and decide to teach people some movements to go with their songs. They probably don't make sense.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

"When the music fades and all is stripped away, and I simply come... I'll bring you more than a song..." has a whole new meaning now. Love reading about your adventures. Praying for you!