A Fourth Language
My days are generally spent speaking, or at least listening to, some combination of English, Russian, and Ukrainian. As I have mentioned before, I have started to learn Russian because that is the “everyday” language of Kirovograd. Unfortunately for me, I learned Ukrainian during language training. Well, not really unfortunate. I mean, I can still understand much of the news, dubbed movies, official statements, etc. and when I go to western Ukraine I will not be frowned at for speaking the “wrong” language.
Anyway, so I have been too lazy with Russian. Also been wrapped up in a situation that was stressful and now I am mentally able to devote time and effort to Russian. But I have committed to spending some time with the language on a daily basis – basically, I need vocabulary and verbs.
Today brought a pleasant surprise to me – practice one of my other (now dormant) languages. It was my first day actually working at the Kirovograd National Technical University, and I had a couple of visitors. My first visitor was a young woman I had met at the English Club which is conducted by a couple of TEFL volunteers at the Kirovograd Library. The second was a gentlemen who came in and started a conversation with me – in French.
Creeeeeeak. The rusty wheels of my French-speaking mind started slowly turning. At first, the word that came to mind for a response was Ukrainian or Russian. But the longer we spoke (okay, to be honest, he did most of the speaking), the more I was able to say in response. Oh joy! To be able to bring back that language, and know there is someone with whom I can speak it, is a thrill to me! Maybe if I get good enough at it again, they will let me accompany a group of students to France next summer…or at least to Paris, where they visit before doing their “internship” on farms.
Dare to dream, huh?