There’s nothing like trying to get along in a new language to ripen your humility. Here are some examples of how my language abilities were reduced to those of a two-year-old:
To the lady at the Kirovsky Elderly placement, after a conversation with her six year old granddaughter:
“She is very red. Very, very red, yes.”
(To be fair, the Russian words for “red” and “beautiful” are from the same root, and are very similar)
When trying to buy a hat, the word for which I assumed was printed on the price tag:
“I want, I buy sale, please. Very big sale, please, is here.”
What I said to the lady who sold me the ballet ticket, at the end of the transaction:
“Hello!… no, Please!…. no, th-thank you! Yes, thank you!”
I thought the kind old man was telling me to take home a stray cat I was admiring near us, so I said
“I have one cat in house in Colorado. She very beautiful. That’s enough.”
Then Acia told me the gentleman was actually saying that there is an old Russian folksong about a black cat, and he could sing it for me if I like.
Flustered, I combined the word for water (“voda”) with the brand name of the bottled water (“aqua voda”):
“I buy two vodkas, please.”
The cashier laughed at me, then brought me two cokes.