Rabu, 26 Januari 2011

Let mi spik from may khart, in Inglish.

According to an article I read in The Guardian last week the Russian government has decided that Russian officials must speak a foreign language by 2020. The reason behind this is that recently Russians have had a few embarrassing slip ups with their foreign languages, most famously the speech by sports minister Vitaly Mutko for Russia’s World Cup bid in Zurich

Now, let mi spik from may khart, in Inglish: this got me thinking about how when learning a foreign language you have to be prepared to be laughed at (although not necessarily by thousands over the internet!) Just like Mutko I have had some very embarrassing moments because of my lack of language skills, so I thought I’d share some of the funniest with you.

The first language struggle I had was when I lived in Petrozavodsk at the end of my first year in university. The woman I lived with asked me what we do for children’s birthday parties in England. I wanted to tell her about bouncy castles but obviously my limited vocabulary didn’t quite stretch to knowing how to say that in Russian! In the end I started jumping up and down in her kitchen pointing to the floor shouting “BIG BALLOON!” I still don’t think she knows what I meant!

In my year in Moscow there were many MANY language slip ups which I have already blogged about, but I’ll share with you my favourite again: the flour/fly incident. At the beginning of my year living in Moscow I asked my flat mate if we had a fly in the cupboard. I wanted to know if we had flour in the cupboard, fly = mykha, flour = myka. She still finds this hilarious!

Even in England I’m still embarrassing myself with my Russian slip ups…
Recently I met up with a Russian friend to practise my Russian and I was telling her about the time I spent in Petrozavodsk. I told her that I saw a bear outside the State University; I meant to say I saw Medvedev, the President of Russia. Bear = medved.


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