I was already learning Russian and doing pretty damn well with it. I had actually started to learn a long, long time ago, and was obsessed with all things Russian when I was a teenager. I’ve always had a love of languages, and Russian always seemed like The Ultimate Language to learn. But back in the day, language resources were not as abundant as they are now, and trying to learn on my own was near impossible. And by “not as abundant,” I mean… BEFORE THE INTERNET EXISTED. *Gasp!* (Some day I’ll tell you a fun story about my very first experiences with the internet. It involved an AOL/AIM chat room and Call of Cthulhu. If you don’t know what “Call of Cthulhu” is, never mind. Let’s just say I’m a bigger dork than you thought.
But I was obsessed with the idea of Russian for a while, and I did find some books to help me learn Cyrillic—which I actually don’t find that hard. It feels intuitive, although things generally come easily to me when I’m really interested in them. (Thank you, ADHD! But the flip side of that is, no matter how hard I try, I can’t do anything but stare at the wall if I’m NOT interested.) In my very early twenties, I briefly dated a Russian who was more than happy to take me home to his parents and help me with my language learning. Russian has been a very off-and-on thing for a most of my adult (and teenage) life. But thanks to this quarantine business I not only have more time—there are more resources available! I have a book of Russian poetry and some short fiction that I am DETERMINED to read in their entirety by the end of this year. (And I’m working on a post about resources and learning Russian mostly on your own.)
My biggest hurdle with Russian really is detaching my brain from Czech. This is, however, also the biggest help: there are enough words that are similar in each language that they’re often easier to remember. Russian sentence construction and grammar principles are also quite easy for me because they’re the same (close enough) in Czech. But then I come across things like: “Is that all?” And I want to say “vsechno” (Czech) when I should be saying “vsyo” (всё – Russian).
Ето всё? Нет! For no reason other than I need to practice and am trying to increase my typing speed with the Russian keyboard, here’s some (kind of) random Russian sentences. (I’ve done a little of this before, but I can write more now, and I need the practice!):
Я Ники… Но… I can’t write all this in Russian! “Ники” is the Russian spelling of Nikki, however—people often call me “Nikita / Никита ” as a nickname (not because I asked but because I just seem to have one of those names or be one of those people that inspires others to say things like, “Hey Nikita!” or, when I was a kid, “Hey Nikkerbokker!” Anyway.) I like Nikita, but in Russian, it’s actually a male name. Think: Nikita Krushchev. Though I believe it’s become more unisex these days. So take your pick. Someone once suggested “Nika / Ника,” which is also quite nice, but that’s the diminutive form of Veronika, which is definitely not me.
Меня зовут Ники… или Никита! По-профессии? Я редакторица, писательница, технический писательницаб, веб-разработчика, контент-менеджерниц… ах, я делаю всё это. (Fakt, jo! as I’d say in Czech.) Я работаю в доме. (And I’ve worked at home since long before Coronavirus!)
Обычно я слушаю русский поп, французская злектроника, испанский рэп, и немецкая классическая. Я люблю музыку и языки!
Я говорю по-французски, по-немецки, по-испански, по-итальянски. И ешё я говщрю немного по-чешски. Да—я ОЧЕНЬ люблю языки! Я читаю по-испански, по-итальянски, по-французски, по-немецки… Сейчас, изучаю русский!
У меня есть муж, сынб и собакаю. Их зовут Крис, Феликс, и Мойя. (Chris, Felix, and Moya) Мы живём вместе вдоме и мы живём в сиэтле.
Wow. I’m going to stop there. I can actually say and write a lot more… but my Russian typing is soooooo slow. Normally, I type upwards of 100wpm with absurdly high accuracy. It’s a thing. But in Russian… oof. I’m working on it. I have a Russian keyboard cover and use the Russian keyboard, but I’m still working on my speed and knowing where all the keys are. Those silly little paragraphs up there…? They took… well, a while. So perhaps I’ll try to make this typing in Russian (publicly) a regular thing.