I have been thinking about trying to improve my utterly miserable Russian, and when Andrew asked me what I'd like as an exchange for a couple of trashy French novels I wondered if he could send some easy children's books. This is the least challenging of them: a board book for two-year-olds, eight pages long, with a little poem on each double page. Unfortuately, I still find it very difficult. I just don't have any vocabulary to speak of, though I do at least know the basics of Russian grammar.
What is the right way to approach a book like this, if you want to get something out of it? I have been discussing the problem with Not, who has finally been persuaded to read the wonderful Ainsi va la vie
. Not's approach is to Google-translate the French to find out what it means, then try to match up the English words to the French ones. I have told her several times that I don't think this is correct, since you end up associating the French too closely with English. But last night she caught me doing the same thing with Игрушки
"Well, it's different!" I explained feebly. "French is easy, Russian is hard!" But I was in the wrong, and I knew it. I closed down Google Translate and made a couple of burned offerings to the language gods while I tried to figure out a better method.
I have now decided to see if I can get in touch with my inner Russian two-year-old: little kids like to hear the same story over and over again until they know it more or less by heart, so I am going to do the same thing. I am curious to see if it helps, and will post in due course with an update.
Thank you for the book, Andrew!