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.