And tenses. Don't get me started on tenses.
Mon Sep 17, 2018 20:53

Heinrich used short, straightforward sentences. This was – at least when it wasn’t done for her benefit, as it clearly wasn’t here – a trait Katya appreciated in a person. His grammar twisted on itself a bit, but since the distortion wasn’t severe and the words were simple, she understood him, and felt an almost instant affinity toward him because of, rather than in spite of, this fact. He was like her, an outsider to this world.

“I agree,” said Katya. “The first person I see here – he was unpolite.” She did not dignify Julius Astley with a look in his direction. She had now met three other people who were not unspeakably rude and therefore concluded Julius was the anomaly and not worth her time. “But it is not – “ she wanted to say nevozmozhno, ‘not possible,’ but she couldn’t remember the English word. “The thing you cannot do,” she rephrased awkwardly instead. “You are the third nice person I see here.”

She was sure she was making mistakes in her English, veering so far away from the scripts she had learned in her practice conversations in an effort to express what she really thought. She considered another tactic that she hoped might both further please her new companion and distract from the imperfections of her English – a silly thing to be bothered by when his was just as flawed, but there it was.

“Bist du Deutscher?” she asked in German. She had always liked German, though she could not read it as well as English or French, the languages it had been determined for her she should study the most. “Meine Mutter kommt aus Russland, aber sie – war in Deutschland, einmal,” she added, with only a small hesitation over how to explain that Mama had spent time in Germany when she was young. Russian was the only language, she thought ruefully, where she could really say all she wanted to say, but there was no way to improve the others except to try, realize where she failed, study, and then try again.

  • He smiled back at Katya. For a moment, Heinrich couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with Katya’s English. It followed all the grammatical rules he knew, and almost could have come right out of... more
    • And tenses. Don't get me started on tenses. — Katerina, Mon Sep 17 20:53
      • Oh, I am with you there!Heinrich, Wed Oct 3 15:03
        German! She spoke German! Not perfectly, it was clear, but enough! Enough that it would have immediately gotten her an invitation to the ball last year, enough that his eyes widened in surprise and... more
        • Glad we're on the same page.Katerina, Wed Oct 10 11:40
          Katya listened closely, glad for relatively short, straightforward sentences in German as well as English, and then shook her head. “No,” she said, also in German. “I do not go to Germany. Mama war – ... more
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