I don’t want you to get the wrong opinion about my language ability, what with my stories about not seeming like an American, just a Faustian foreigner (lovely alliteration). Already there have been many a time when I am thwarted by simplicities of Russian language, and even more...this time around I can feel the linguistic barrier teachers always talk about. I'm chilling here on the same level, and I know I can get to the next plateau, but I don't want to emerge myself completely in Russian. That way lies madness.
Plus, I don't think I need to; I think I just need to find a good friend who doesn't mind listening to my rambling in Russian. Look at the pretty bird it is flying flying in the sky like a...balloon...Did I say that phrase right? How would you say it? Anyway... Back to my bad Russian:
Last night at the produkty on the corner, for example. They have pre-made salads. I ask for one (this is, in case I’ve forgotten to say, in the style of Russian corner store where you can’t take anything for yourself. You have to ask the clerk for anything and everything. Everything.) and the clerk grabs it from behind the counter, no problem there.
But then I want a fork. I think, “I want this with a fork.” So I say: S velkoi, pozhalujsta. [With a fork, please.]
She squints her eyes at me. Shto? [What?] It’s still a polite question, like “maybe I didn’t hear you.”
Um…s velkoi, pozhalujsta?”
Now her head is tilted. Shto? It’s gone up an octave.
I start making frantic stabbing motions with my hands and nodding towards the salad. Mozhno…
She gets it, suddenly. OH. Velku. [Oh. A fork.]
I just needed to have said “GIVE ME A FORK” instead of “with a fork?” and it would have been ok. Le sigh.
6 months ago