Expanding my linguistic skills…

Hello my lurking friend! How have you been? I’ve been busy. With church stuff. o.O

Ever since I joined this small Indonesian church in Amsterdam and it’s worship team, my knowledge of the Indonesian language has been put to the test. You see, my Indonesian is just as good as my Japanese. Well, probably a little bit better than my Japanese, because I am at least able to tell you in Indonesian that: Aku tidak mengerti and my bahasa Indonesia is very sedikit…. 😛

I especially find myself struggling with the way they pronounce their vowels in Indonesian. In Dutch, if you see a word with 2 vowels following each other, we tend to make those vowels sound like one long vowel. Same goes for some English words. An example of a short vowel sound is ‘e’: as in the word ‘fell’; and a long vowel sound is an ‘ee’ as in the word ‘feel’. But in the Indonesian language, each vowel is pronounced as a short vowel sound. So then “feel” would be pronounced “feh-ehl”…. And I just can’t help but feels as if I sound like I’m having a speech impediment whenever I make an attempt to speak Indonesian, let alone sing… :/

And then there’s always the chance of saying something insulting in Indonesian, simply because you mispronounced a certain word. This Dutch guy from my church told me the other day how he went to an Indonesian hairdresser. He tried the best he could to ask the hairdresser in Indonesian “Bisa anda memotong jembut saya?” The hairdresser got mad and told him to leave. At home he told his Indonesian wife what happened. Apparently he should’ve said “rambut” and not “jemut”, though it does indeed  mean hair…. It’s just not the kind of hair a normal hairdresser would trim for you…

The more I practice the Indonesian songs we have to sing during Sunday Service, the better my grasp of the Indonesian language becomes.

But our Senior Worship leader figured this week, that there’s always room for expanding our language skills. And so this upcoming Sunday Service we are going to sing in Hebrew. Yes. Hebrew. Which surprisingly is much easier for me to pronounce than Indonesian. Maybe it’s because we Dutch tend to sound like we are gargling…

In the end it shouldn’t really matter what language you use to sing a worship song. Even though you might not understand the words to a song, it can still touch you in your core. I for one feel very blessed when listing to this song by Susannah:


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