For me, vocabulary is the greatest challenge in learning a foreign language. I can learn grammar (although I don’t necessarily speak very grammatically). Knowing the words to say what I want to say — now, that’s the hard part. I find myself looking up the same words over and over, until eventually, hopefully, they stick in my brain.
Sometimes, however, I think I know a word and it turns out I was wrong. Recently, I’ve discovered that I was using the wrong Lithuanian word in several cases. These are pretty basic words so it’s a bit embarrassing that I confused them because I know I was using the wrong word frequently in conversation. It might also explain the blank stares I sometimes get when I am speaking Lithuanian. As you can see, the words that I confused are fairly similar so the mistakes are at least a bit understandable. However, it probably makes it a bit difficult for Lithuanians to understand what I am trying to say.
something = kažkas; I’ve been using kas nors, which means “anything”
several = keletas; I’ve been using kelinta, which means which “which”
finally = pagaliau; I’ve been using paskui, which means later or afterwards.
skelbimas (announcement) and skalbimas (laundry) — one little letter makes all the difference
I won’t even go into all the times that I mix up he (jis) and she (ji) — see how the s is masculine in Lithuanian and feminine in English? Plus I have to get the gender and the case form correct — whew!