Boy oh boy. Russian is a beautiful and nuanced and devilish language. It sometimes bears a passing resemblance to headlinese, because it dispenses with articles (the and a) and the present tense of to be - thus, Mayor annoyed could be a precise translation of a perfectly correct Russian sentence. But foreigners who try to learn it soon discover grammatical constructions they never would have thought possible. The sounds aren't so hard, once you've gotten your tongue around a soft L as opposed to a hard L (don't ask), but the mind-bending is relentless and exhausting. Little two-letter antecedents, so easily skipped over, can color a whole sentence, if not a whole novel. Yet breakthroughs, when they come, are exhilarating.
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