I was having such a swell old time in Russian class today. The instructor opened with a short clip from a film, the title of which translates to “The Irony of Fate.” The clip featured a character singing a song about things you have and don’t have, and since we’re studying the genitive case, which governs possessives, it seemed to fit.
The song was fascinating. So…Russian. The lyrics went something like…”If you don’t have a house, it can never burn down. If you don’t have a dog, no one can feed it poison. If you don’t have friends, you won’t ever fight with them.” I suggested this was just the Russian version of “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” a reference that sailed 25 light years over the heads of the 19-year-olds in the class.
This is the part of the class I really like, where you see how language and culture are intertwined. Then he passed out a worksheet we did in class, covering material we did weeks ago — irregular plurals, etc. I thought maybe something was up, and when he passed the tests back, I saw why. I think a lot of people bombed it. I got a C, a grade I always considered a personal failure. Now I’m wondering if I want to do 102 next term, if I should just bag it, or if I should accept the task at hand. As one of my fellow Fellows says, “There’s just nothing easy about learning a foreign language. It’s a grind, and that’s all there is to it.”
In other words: Nose, meet grindstone.