REXBURG, Idaho- It has been three years since Mark Anderson returned home from his mission to Denver, Colorado. Though a fluent English speaker in the field, he now struggles to keep up on his mission language.
“It’s not easy once you leave the mission,” said Anderson. “Especially at BYU-Idaho. All the other RMs speak Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese, so I like never get the chance to like practice my mission language, ya know?”
In an interview that was difficult to follow on account of his failing lexicon and syntax, Anderson said that he first noticed his declining lingual fluency when he found himself using “your” in the place of “you’re.”
“It’s been a literal slippery slope since then,” said Anderson. “I can’t speak good anymore and I know it. Learning the language was one thing; unlearning it is a whole nuther thing.”
Even his friends have also noticed the change in his linguistic ability.
“When he first got off the plane, all he wanted to do was speak English,” said Danny Beck. “Now you can’t hardly get him to put together a single well-worded sentence.”
Here is a recent text from Anderson to his friend Kim:
Though Anderson has all but forgotten his mission language, the same doesn’t have to be true for you.
To avoid losing your English mission language like Anderson, it is recommended that you:
- Visit authentic restaurants like McDonald’s, where you can order menu items in your mission tongue
- Watch movies in English, or with English subtitles if you’re with friends
- Read books written in English. If your memory is rusty, start with remedial English works like Charles Dickens
- Teach English. When you see grammar mistakes, correct them. Help others retain their treasured mission language.