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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Slowly, Slowly Learning Russian

The girls and I have now been taking Russian lessons for almost two years.  If I were a diligent, active Russian student who did things like homework and flash cards, I would be doing pretty well.

But I'm not a diligent student.  My Russian practice consists of 1. attending our 45-minute lessons three times a week and 2. (somewhat) daily Duolingo practice.  I could claim that I don't have time to do all that other stuff, but I could make time if I wanted to.  I just don't want to.  My daily need for Russian language skills is often nonexistent and when I do use it, it's more of a bonus than anything else.  It's pretty easy to live in a foreign country without knowing the language when you have other people to do everything for you.

But nonetheless the girls and I persevere.  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Albina shows up at our house (and when she can't make it we all silently rejoice) and we go through another forty-five minute session of language learning.  We are reasonably proficient in the tenses, being able to conjugate according to several different patterns (but nothing too complicated) and have discussed the idea of aspecutal pairs.  There is a conception of the fact that there are cases floating around in our lessons and recently we have done some work on understanding them, but I'm pretty sure none of us have a handle on all of them.  Sometimes we work on prepositions and their case, but I don't think we know all of them.  I do know that there are a lot of words we don't know but we can do some basics.

I surprised myself a little while ago by translating one of Brandon's phone conversations for my parents.  To my own (and everyone else's) shock, I understood about 75% of what he said.  It wasn't a terribly complicated conversation, but I didn't know that I was that capable.  It was a nice feeling.

But I'm not in a very big rush.  We have almost a year left here in Dushanbe, followed by at least two and probably three years in Tashkent.  By then I should have more Russian than I do now.  And that will be just fine.

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