one tree at a time

Language acquisition has been the primary activity for Laura and I these last three months. Today a friend shared an analogy with me. Entering Hungarian culture is like walking with a chain saw into a forest dense with trees. And every tree is a word. To reach a vocabulary of 50,000 words, I can do nothing but learn them one word at a time. Every word is a giant tree that has to be cut down. And cutting each tree down takes work. And even when the tree is down, there is still work to be done on that tree. The branches must be cleared, and the trunk cut into pieces.

A couple days ago, I learned the word “lelkiismeretes.” It means “conscientious.” Slowly and with help, I’ve come to learn the parts of the word. “lelki” is the word for “soul.” And “ismer” is “to know.” And “Ismeretes” is “knowledge.” So literally it means “soul knowledge.”

One tree down.