Thursday, May 26, 2011

Learning Russian

It turns out that learning a whole new language - complete with funky alphabet - isn’t such an easy undertaking.  Off and on since I decided I would be spending a month in Moscow with Wayne State University, I have been attempting to shoehorn some knowledge of Russian into my already extremely crowded brain.  So far, I have pretty well figured out the Russian alphabet, which allows me to pronounce Russian words very very slowly.  I can ask a couple of rudimentary questions, I can say "I don’t speak Russian" and "I don’t eat meat" (I think… I put that sentence together on my own).  I can count to five and respond to being asked "How are you?"  I continue to slowly plow through my Russian book, learning bits of grammar that I am absolutely not retaining, and teeny pieces of vocabulary that end up being all but inapplicable if I remember them at all.  I know I won’t have much spare time, I won’t be wandering around the streets of Russia on my own all that much, but I like to have some degree of understanding of the language.  Of course, the little pieces of German that I picked up over the years are directly interfering with my teeny weeny acquisition of Russian.  I’m going to be speaking word salad to people and understanding even less.  So here’s hoping I don’t have to bail any of the undergrads out of jail… because I’m pretty sure that scenario is not in my phrase books.

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