Thursday, October 4, 2012

Russian: a step back, then a step forward

Today, I thought I ordered a mushroom blini. The woman was confused when I first spoke, then seemed to know exactly what I was saying after I repeated myself. She then presented me with a salmon blini.

This made me sad and frustrated.

I was ordering a blini for lunch because I was attending a Russian Conversation Group meeting at that cafe. So, I swallowed my hopelessness and proceeded to converse with 3 other ladies about life, children, moving, living abroad etc for two hours almost entirely in Russian. I understood everything everyone else said, and I was able to participate about as hesitantly as simply (vocab-wise) as any of the other non-native speakers. The lady who organizes the meetings corrected my frequent errors, but they were mostly in using the wrong case, not using the wrong word or outlandish grammar. [btw - why is it when my brain knows EXACTLY how to say a word, what case it should be in and even remembers what the ending is for that case/gender/etc I still blurt out the wrong thing?]

The lady who organizes the meeting also explained what happened with my order. No, грибы (mushrooms) doesn't sound anything like лосось (salmon) but sure sounds a lot like рыбы (fish) especially when I inappropriately stressed the first syllable instead of the second. Whew!

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