Teacher’s aren’t doctors but sometimes we’re made to feel like we are 🙂
I was at a conference recently and a teacher came up to me with a wry smile on her face. ‘I have a problem,’ she said. ‘You know that chant you did in your workshop last year? It goes like this …Juha! Juha! What are you going to do? The cat came home and ate the meat and nothing’s left for you!.…Well it’s become a complete ear worm for me. It keeps coming into my head when I’m trying to concentrate on something else. Please give me something to get rid of it!’
Earworms can certainly be frustrating. I’ve been listening to a lot of music by the Cuban musician, Silvio Rodríguez, recently and I have an earworm for part of this song at the moment.
My earworm goes like this..
Que maneras más curiosas
de recordar tiene uno,
que maneras más curiosas:
hoy recuerdo mariposas
que ayer sólo fueron humo,
que emergieron de lo oscuro
Mariposas is a very beautiful song and the words are beautiful too. In English it means something like this…
What most curious ways
of remembering one has,
what most curious ways:
today I remember butterflies
that yesterday were only smoke,
that emerged from the dark,
I’ve probably just heard it too many times and I would quite happily fill my head with other things, but this little snippet keeps popping up, especially when I’m trying to write. It’s driving me a little crazy.
But if we think about it from the perspective of the second language learner (I am a lapsed learner of Spanish) then earworms might actually be useful. Could it be that they are part of the cure rather than the affliction itself? I very rarely hear spoken Spanish these days, so having a stretch of naturally connected speech that I keep turning over in my head can only be a good thing in terms of giving me a connection to the language. If we are in a situation where we don’t get that much exposure to the language we are learning, (which is the case for many learners around the world) then an earworm is way to provide some quite focussed listening practice, albeit from an internal, rather than external, voice. If I listen to Silvio Rodríguez singing I can hear that my version isn’t the same of course. I can’t play it on the guitar, I’ve got an English accent and I can’t do it anywhere near as fluently as he does. But the point is that it is MY voice in my head that is singing Mariposas, and by doing this I’m constantly reaffirming to myself that I’m a fluent speaker of Spanish. At least in my head I am! 🙂
One of the things that I’m trying to stay focused on at the moment is turning the Hands Up Project into a charity. It’s the right thing to do because it will allow me to access other sources of funding, but it’s also quite a complex and time consuming process. While this is going on, and while the kids in Gaza are starting their summer holiday, I’m going to take a break from writing these blog posts for a while. In the meantime here’s one of the chants from the Stories Alive book, performed brilliantly by a student in Gaza. If it becomes an earworm for you then the blame lies with me, and I apologise in advance!
Jbēne! Jbēne! As white as cheese! Come with us to the Christ-thorn trees.
Jbēne! Jbēne! Stuck in the tree! You can’t get down. You can’t get free.
Jbēne! Jbēne! As black as night! Stay with the sheep till the morning light.
Jbēne! Jbēne! As white as cheese Marry me! Marry me! Marry me please!
Jbēne! Jbēne! As white as the moon. Marry me! Marry me! Marry me soon!