Sunday, 5 July 2015
Russian Language 101 and out of the mouths of babes!
So I should be doing my homework but I feel a little guilty for not writing, well writing enough! I am still going to school and the teachers are still refraining from corporal punishment. But only just. A little frustration is becoming evident as the test date looms on the horizon. It isn’t like I haven’t been trying, but the reality of learning a difficult language in three months is settling in. I think some of it may perhaps be a little transference as students study English in school and can identify it but really haven’t had the opportunity to practice so it gets lost like the Algebra I was forced to learn. I have two new translators, David, who is ten and his sister Barbie.
Barbie was helping me with my homework the other day. Reading the sentence words in Russian and constructing them into a proper sentence and then telling me what it meant in English. I should point out at this junction she is five.
We all went down to the beach the other day and went for a swim in the Black Sea. Most of the conversations were conducted in English and it was fun to see the looks on the other people around us. It was quite obvious they were very amazed at the spectacle. Two fellow beachgoers even bid us farewell in English when they left. A clear sign of acceptance and respect, and I responded in Russian.
As we started walking up the hill, Barbie was reading signs to me. A group of twenty-something aged girls were walking a small distance ahead of us and slowed to listen. Barbie was reading a sign that contained the word doma, or house, and another word she didn’t know but knew how to say. Slightly frustrated with this word and me, she repeated it, in a tone we men know well. The one that says, “I might have forgotten, but you should know this.” She continued a little louder, bringing chuckles from the group of girls. “Burrito” she repeated with a cute little accent that is usually missing when she speaks English she understands. The hint of an accent provided the clue I needed to get the word. “Ah!” I said. “The House of Burritos.” “Nyet!” She replied in Russian. “Burrito House!” She said in English and then continued in both languages explaining the missing “The” and the non-plural sentence order. Finished she asked; “what is a Burrito?” Bringing more laughter from the group of listening kids as she asked it using both English and Russian words. I explained this tasty Mexican dish as she nodded her understanding and a few of the girls listening looked back in disbelief.