Monday, 13 April 2009

All or nothing...

I'm increasingly coming to realise that one of the great difficulties in speaking Russian as a foreigner stems from the natives' tendency to assume ignorance on our part. That's to say, they do not expect non-native speakers to make the effort to learn their language. When faced with someone - such as myself - trying to make a disjointed effort to communicate, it seems to take a moment before they adjust to the phenomenon and then begin the process of trying to understand what you're saying. Their need to 'learn' to understand bad-Russian seems a comparative factor in my need to learn good-Russian if we are to communicate successfully.

Its a challenge and one that, by recognising, I'm gaining in confidence that my progress, while slow, is still gathering momentum. Only by forcing myself into situations that call for me to speak Russian to the natives can this happen. I cannot be confident that I will understand their response but I'm at least gaining the confidence to ask the questions. This is particularly the case where I know the answer already and am merely aiming to be understood. (The metro being a good practice ground for this sort of thing...)

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