Also needs you to allow it, and is highly recommended
Tue Jul 31, 2018 06:26

Katerina seemed to be relaxing - she looked happier and more animated. He did not attribute anywhere near as much of this to himself as he probably should have done. Certainly, he assumed he was being pleasant company, but he did not think that his kindness or his gentleness were likely to be in any way particularly remarkable. He was not really used to being the one to bring someone else out their shell - he was normally the one who needed it more. When people managed it with him, he admired those qualities in them immensely, but it was harder to notice and to give it the same value when the situation was reversed. He did not assume himself to be doing anything special. He was just being nice. Again, something he valued highly from others, but took as the bare minimum he should expect from himself.

“Ah, très utile. Il y a un garçon qui parle allemand en deuxième,” he commented when she mentioned having also studied German. Then realising that he was allowing French to dominate the conversation, he searched for some appropriate Russian, but found himself coming up short of what he wanted to say. “I can say only ’Vy dolzhny praktikovat' because… this phrase I hear a lot” he paused, choosing to be diplomatic and leave it at that, although the conspiratorial smiles he gave Katerina, and the fact that there were a limited number of places he could have heard it rather ruined the face-saving effect of the passive voice, “But I do not mean to use l’imperatif with you - just to say you ‘you can.’ Ah… Ty mogu praktikovat?” he suggested, making a face that suggested he knew he was making mistakes. The verb conjugation was probably very, very wrong. But he used it about himself more than he used it about other people. As in the sentence ‘Ya ne mogu vspomnit' - pomogi mne.’

“L'histoire est très intéressante. You like in particular any time?” he asked, again feeling the clunkiness of the non-specific words that he had to use to convey concepts in English, “Moi, j’aime la philosophie,” he added. Et surtout, la poésie, he added to himself. Philosophy, he thought, sounded quite sophisticated and intellectual. A good accompaniment to history. Poetry was… He was not going to disparage it, even in his own head, but it seemed considerably less safe territory to admit to enjoying. Poetry, music… He thought life without was flat. Matthieu thought life with it was- but it did not matter what Matthieu thought any more.

“J’ai compris,” he assured her, when she switched to English to reiterate her question regarding Charms. Well, he had understood the component words, and the gist of her question. There were some subtleties lost, but they were not much made up for by the English translation. Still, he could just give her a detailed enough answer that he covered all bases. “Let me think in Russian,” he requested. He thought that, given how frequently she was using her French, she was perhaps enjoying the opportunity to practise, and he did not have to keep balancing the scales - she had definitely gone beyond a token politeness in using his language. But he knew from experience how tiring it could be to keep up a whole conversation in a foreign language, and he did not want her to fatigue. “Eto khoroshiy klass - Professor Wright khorosh i... khorosh uchitel? I want to say he is sympa but also teach bien. It… can be khorosh both time?” he asked. He supposed that in English there was to be morally good and also good at one’s job, so perhaps what he had just said made sense. Perhaps. “I klass interesnyy. Et très utile,” he conceded, lapsing back into French. Apparently two years with Tatya was no competition for four under a professional tutor. He wondered whether he was achieving his aim in not making Katerina’s head hurt. His felt… challenged. And she had to keep switching what she was hearing, which possibly wasn’t the easiest either. But then… there was no easy option for any of them who didn’t have English as their dominant language. You either had to fight down the words in one language, or keep your ears alert to the possibility of change, and both were tiring.

“Amandes,” he provided, as she questioned the name of the ingredient in French. “Amandes. Mindal. Xìngrén,” he listed, to help himself remember the Russian, and to help her remember the others, without noticing that he had automatically included an extra language. He placed some duck on her plate, serving himself some too, and his mind went wandering off amongst all the delicious things he had eaten during the holidays, “Zài zhōngguó wǒ-” he began, only this time he caught himself. “Sorry. I was starting to talk about China, and so I do it in Chinese,” he explained with a blush. And then realising that statement only really made sense if she already knew about his family, he added, “Tatiana explained me to you, yes?” He thought it was logically one of the first things one would mention about him, especially given that they studied languages together, but then he would have thought ‘the walls of the hall are permanently cascading with water’ was a pretty noteworthy feature too, so it seemed wise to check.

OOC - Glossary
Ah, très utile. Il y a un garçon qui parle allemand en deuxième - Ah, very useful. There is a boy who speaks German in second year

I can say only ’Vy dolzhny praktikovat' because… this phrase I hear a lot - you must practise

Ty mogu praktikovat - You can [with mangled verb conjugation] practise

Ya ne mogu vspomnit' - pomogi mne - I cannot remember - help me

Eto khoroshiy klass - Professor Wright khorosh i... khorosh uchitel? - It is a good class. Professor Wright is good/nice and… a good teacher?

Zài zhōngguó wǒ - In China I….

  • “Oui,” said Katya, glowing with pride at all these compliments. “J’ai étudié un peu l’allemand.” Katya was also good at and enjoyed her lessons – less formal ones than what she learned with Anton... more
    • Also needs you to allow it, and is highly recommended — Dorian, Tue Jul 31 06:26
      • Very well, then, I allow it.Katerina, Tue Jul 31 22:41
        Katya shared in the conspiratorial smile, thinking that this was very like Tatya – Katya wouldn’t think of ordering someone here to study Russian, but that was Tatiana. Her sister wanted what she... more
        • Glad to hear itDorian, Thu Aug 2 07:31
          Mozhesh and mogu were so very different sounding that it was hard to recognise that they were conjugations of the same verb. But, as often happened, there was enough meaning in the words he did get... more
          • I will try to return the favor.Katerina, Thu Aug 2 20:51
            The next sequence of French had unfamiliar vocabulary in it, but concentrating, and picking out words she did know, Katya thought she got most of the gist of it – that Dorian knew that Byzantiya was... more
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