I have a hard enough time communicating in English. And things become even more interesting when a different language comes into play.
A good example of this seems to happen often working in Boston. I come into contact with a lot of non-English speakers. Not the issue of English not being the primary language but is spoken marginally, but that English is not spoken at all. And that is frustrating.
Many of the patients I see are Russian speakers. After all, we have a contract with a nursing facility where there are a considerable number of residents who speak Russian only. Plus, it’s not uncommon for us to encounter patients who speak either Spanish or Portuguese, and we see many folks who speak those languages.
For the most part I can communicate enough in Spanish where I can figure out what’s going on with a patient’s condition. I can’t do that in either Portuguese or Russian. And that can make things a little difficult.
So I’m taking some time to learn rudimentary Russian. I’m using the Byki software from Transparent Language to do this, and I’ve found that I like the package. First, it’s a free download – the first 14 steps come with it, and the buy the entire package is an additional $75.00, or something like that. Second, it is really well done. It’s instruction by immersion, and it seems to be effective. I only recently started working with it, but I feel like the very little I’ve learned so far is actually starting to stick.
I read somewhere that it takes approximately 700 hours for someone to learn a language through immersion. I’ve been tracking the amount of time I’ve spent so far, and I can see where that would be pretty accurate. And it’s possible it could take a bit more time than that just because the alphabet (Cyrillic as opposed to Latin) is different. But it’s coming along. Slowly.