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Thinking in Russian


sign in russian languageWhenever I’m getting overly frustrated with my feeble attempts at speaking and just understanding Russian, I have to remind myself that it is considered one of the most difficult languages in the world.

It’s all about focusing on the small gains, and boy are they small!

On my first weekend in the city, I had to take a couple of taxis. Taxis are great places to practice your target language since it is often just you and the driver alone… for a period of time. Oh, but my taxi experiences… wow. Let’s just say that my inability to effectively communicate just sort of angered one of the drivers. He was frustrated yet continued to speak very quickly to me as if continuing to blast his words at me at fast as possible would get the point across.

Well that sort of response doesn’t help someone that already feels self-conscious about her Russian speaking to want to continue.

I try hard to laugh it off. Because it’s funny? I know I speak badly and don’t understand it all very well, so instead of shying away completely, I just give myself a good laugh and go on my merry way.

Still, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

In the last post regarding the language, I was talking about how I was finally starting to see random words come out of my mouth in class when speaking. Well, another milestone has been achieved.

I’m finally starting to think in Russian! Yay!

For example, I was thinking today about writing a blog post, but in my head I was automatically translating my thoughts into Russian!

Every day in class, I am constantly struggling to say what I want with the words I have in my Russian vocabulary. It never happens easily, but it somehow happens. Obviously, my Russian translations in my head aren’t deep or consist of long strings of thoughts, but still, it was nice to realize this stuff was happening on its own in the background.

I am anxious to see where I might be by the end of this month, and I can’t help but wonder how I’d be if I could stay here for a few months instead of just one.


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13 Responses to Thinking in Russian

  1. Kirstin November 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    I bet the next big milestone will be trying to read the pseudo-Cyrillic on your blog as real Cyrillic and getting really confused 😉

    • Brooke November 18, 2011 at 12:19 am #

      Haha, I already do that sometimes.

  2. Katie November 14, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    It’s funny…I’m finding myself thinking in Russian sometimes, but if I don’t know a word for something in Russian, I default to Spanish (I studied that for 6 years before trying Russian). Then I really confuse myself!

    It’s nice hearing about your experience with classes because I can so relate. I’ll be back in the classroom when I get to Kiev to work on mine some more. If you ever want to Skype in Russian and practice, let me know! 🙂

    • Brooke November 18, 2011 at 12:21 am #

      I know the feeling! I sometimes default to Spanish or Italian words!

      If I could get Skype to connect on my end, I would, but as of now, I can’t even skype my bf without it cutting out every other minute 🙁

    • Jamil September 14, 2013 at 3:25 pm #


      Sounds like I came to the right place. I went to Russia in 2009 and have been struggling with the language ever sense. It’s definitely a love/hate relationship. I was wondering, you girls have been talking about studying abroad. How are you going to Kiev to study? And how can I? haha. I just got back from my second trip to Russia, in July, and this time.. Я был способен спросить дорогу или просто поговорить с кем нибудь в баре. Я почувствовал, что совершенно новый мир открылся для меня.

  3. Katina November 15, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    I told a workmate about you and your amazing adventure because it turns out he’s working towards the same thing… he wants to go live in Russia and study the language for a few weeks – once he gets the money! He’s learning via audiobooks etc and finding it hard, but it shows determination that’s for sure 😀

    • Brooke November 18, 2011 at 12:25 am #

      Aw thanks for recommending my site! That means so much 😉 And your friend should consider Kyrgyzstan for Russian studies as it is much cheaper!

  4. Shereen November 16, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    You’re doing a lot better than I would, that’s for sure! Learning a new language is always hard, so don’t beat yourself up. I think you’re doing great and that guy who was frustrated with you is probably like that with everyone. I met some people like that in France. I try not to take it personally that they just aren’t nice people.

    • Brooke November 18, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      Ha, I think he really just doesn’t know how to deal with foreigners. It is just so difficult and some days I want to give up! Russian, why oh why!

  5. Susanna Zaraysky November 16, 2011 at 8:43 am #

    Brooke, Your next step is to sing in Russian. Then you will dream in Russian too. Keep going and don’t forget the music!

  6. Amanda November 16, 2011 at 10:58 am #

    It’s all about celebrating the small successes when learning a new language.

    I give you a huge amount of credit for tackling Russian, though! I don’t know how you do it!

  7. Elena December 2, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Congrats on your Russian! Bravo!


    the Russian kinda gal, EL yours truly, the Russian kinda gal, EL


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