Why didn’t I think of that?

There are many words that I don’t know in Lithuanian.  I carry a small pocket dictionary with me, but that too has a limited selection of words.  And, I admit, I don’t often look words up except as a last resort.  As a result, I am often attempting to explain what I am looking for by using the words that I do know.  The conversation frequently goes like this…

Amanda: I am looking for milk that is thick and sweet and in a can.

Sales Clerk:  Kondensuotas?


Amanda: (holding a wall outlet as an prop in the home store): I need something to put into this that makes it flat instead of deep.

Sales clerk: Adaptaras?

I swear that I am met with a blank stare every time I try putting a Lithuanian ending on an English word in an attempt to explain what I want.  But I feel equally foolish when I go into a long explanation of what I want — and all I needed was the English word with a Lithuanian ending.  Fortunately, I have fully excepted that speaking a foreign language requires the willingness to appear foolish.  In the end, I am always able to get what I need — and I usually learn a new word in the process, even if it is kondensuotas.



About amanda

Creating academic and public environments for the humanities to flourish Researching Soviet and Eastern European history Engaging people and ideas as a writer and interviewer Traveling as much as possible View all posts by amanda

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