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In 1989 my parents packed two suitcases, renounced their Soviet citizenship, and took me to Leningrad’s Pulkovo Airport for my first plane ride. For a journalist, it's certainly an interesting time to be in Russia.
Surely you see that there’s a divine mind behind all of this!
” he said, sweeping his hands past the brightly painted walls, which depicted saints mid-torture.
It’s easier for kids to learn languages because their brains are more plastic—they have a great number of connections between neurons.
People who begin learning a language as children usually reach a higher level of proficiency than those who start as adults.
By the end of the day, my word-dogs and I yearned to stop.
I would run out of things to deem “beautiful” or “interesting.” My tongue felt fat, and my already half-assedly rolled “rs” started getting straight-up swapped for the American kind. "People who are in an extended process of forgetting a language avoid using it because they no longer feel sure about it and they do not want to make too many mistakes," Grosjean wrote recently.
But I haven’t spoken Russian with any regularity since I was in my early teens, when, tired of middle-school ostracism, I decided to become as Americanized as possible.
Many psychologists think that we forget languages, and other things, because of "disuse"—the memories that we don’t try to recall very frequently become more deeply buried over time.
I guess the silver lining of what I experienced is that I’m now probably 800 percent smarter.
One: We're sitting in a cafe with my cousin, who has lived in Leningrad/Saint Petersburg her entire life. He says, “I’m full” in English, and I try to teach him the words for “I’m full” in Russian, because I enjoy feeling smarter than others.“Sut,” I say—full—remembering a word from childhood refusals to eat more buckwheat kasha.