Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

16 Nov 2001, 0:38 a.m.

Directions. My Russian class is learning about how to…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Directions. My Russian class is learning about how to give directions. We're learning this for, oh, the fourth time, so we can have some fun with it.

"How do I get to the Marinskiy Theatre?"
"The Marinskiy. Well, you go down Nevskiy Prospekt..."
"And then you turn left on Liteyniy ..."
"Left or right?"
"Left. And then you see a shashlik [meat kabob] store."
"A shashlik store."
"Yes. And you go into the store --"
"Do I ask the people in the store how to get to the Marinskiy?"
"No, no, they're stupid, they don't know anything. Buy a shashlik."
"But I don't eat meat."
"That's not important. Buy the shashlik and go outside. You'll see a man named Pyotr."
"Give him the shashlik. He lives on the street. He knows the city. He'll tell you how to get to the Marinskiy. I don't know anything about that."
The other pair's conversation had Jeff as very, very stupid ("The Volga? Is that a street?") and quite bewildered ("Soccer players selling matroschki dolls?" "No, no, matroschki dolls with the faces of soccer players!"). Cinzia eventually said to him, "Go down this street a little ... and ask someone else," to which he responded, "That's what the last person said."

Another example sentence, which New Yorker Sean composed, bore an eerie resemblance to lyrics from "Take the A Train."