I'm spending Xmas and New Year in Russia with my new "in-laws". I'm exposed to a non-stop stream of Russian as there are not many English speakers in the family and all the day-to day exchanges are in Russian. This is fascinating for me and it is confirming what I always suspected: that motivation increases when needs must! Inevitably, frustration increases too as I struggle with my limited active command of Russian to make myself understood. My biggest ally in all of this, and my main teacher, is my partner's grandson, Maxim, aged two, whose vocabulary is at my level and who also benefits from constant repetition of messages from the adults that surround him. This gives me constant contextualised acquisition opportunities and reinforces my learning in ways that suit me ideally. Day by day, the 'input' becomes gradually more 'comprehensible', and my own confidence increases. I also find myself more ready to take risks with the language with a child as an interlocutor than with adults. I won't be reading Pushkin in the original this trip, but I hope I will be able to read children's stories with some degree of understanding!
I'll try to make one more progress report before the end of the month!