(Tuesday 28th September 2011, written same day)
Phew, that was a tough day. A good day, but a tough day. My head aches. It isn’t over yet. Now that I’ve finished supper, I’m going to write up these notes as some light relief before settling down to learn some verbs (imperfective and perfective pairs).
The day started out well with a really nice breakfast. I don’t know what this dish is called, but I liked it. I may try to produce something similar at home some time. Here is my attempt at describing it:
- Take some rounds of french bread,
- Remove some of the middle to leave a hole (but leave some of the bread as well),
- Fry the bread.
- When you’re frying the second side, crack open small eggs (I think these were quails eggs) and drop one into each hole.
- When the the egg is just set, serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on the top.
After breakfast, it was time for school. I thought I had the “wrong” teacher yesterday. It turns out the one I should have had, had a cold, like me. Only I think hers must have been worse than what I had. We continued where the previous teacher left off yesterday. The school manage hand-overs very well. Before the lesson proper, we had more of the conversation “what did you do at the weekend/yesterday evening?” I’m getting better. After that, we moved on to more of the “imperfective”, “perfective” stuff. It interacts with past, present and future as well. You can’t have “perfective” in the present, but surpringly, you can in the future. That means that it is easy to say:
- “I _finished_ reading ‘War and Peace’ yesterday.”, or
- “I _will have finished_ reading ‘War and Peace’ tomorrow.”, but saying:
- “I _have finished_ reading ‘War and Peace’ now.” takes more words.
My homework challenge is to start learning loads of “imperfective-perfective” verb-pairs. That’s what I’m starting shortly.
One bit of additional work I tried to give myself is a problem with pronounciation. There are two letter in the Russian alphabet (called respectively the “hard sign” and the “soft sign”) which have no sound of their own, but with modify the sound of the letters around them. This is something I’m struggling to get right. It is hard for a non-native speaker to do, and hard for a native speaker to explain. The problem isn’t really language, more “voice coaching”. We’ll see.
After lunch I did some homework exercises, and a little of the “learning”. I also bought some souvenirs. Small icons. I think they’re beautiful. I hope the intended recipients agree.
Then at 17:30 we had a presentation on the “Russian Character”. Nothing really deep, but how not to offend people, or how not to be offended. All useful and interesting.
Then home. Supper was cooked by my Landlady’s 17 year old son. It was good “Pelmeni”, round ravioli stuffed with meat. Last night I had “Vereniki”, pasty-shaped ravioli stuffed with potato and mushroom. Both are very good if you get the opportunity.
And so to verbs!