February 14, 2008
Friday was our first day of Kyrgyz lessons. A group of 6 or so of us have decided to start studying Kyrgyz together once a week here at The London School. Unfortunately, on account of being out with the flu on Friday, I missed our inaugural class. I’ve been trying to catch up in preparation for this coming Friday. It doesn’t seem that I missed too much, and I hope I’m not deluding myself on this account. For those of you who are interested: Kyrgyz uses the Cyrillic alphabet (which I already know quite well), with the addition of three extra letters. One looks like a theta and sounds like the u in fur and church. One looks like a Cyrillic н with a tail, and it makes the ng sound. The other is a super-stiff looking y (as opposed to the relaxed looking Cyrillic у) and it makes a ew sound. (Sadly, even after installing what is allegedly “Kyrgyz Cyrillic” on my computer, I still don’t have those extra letters!) There are a lot of Russian to Kyrgyz cognates (ex: студент, ручка), although there are a couple that totally throw you off. Like мышык, which is Kyrgyz for cat, while мышь in Russian means mouse! Additionally, сабак is Kyrgyz for lesson, while the similar sounding Russian word собака means dog. It seems that the first lesson focused a lot on new vocabulary, and learning “Who is this?” “Who is that?” “What is this?” and “What is that?” so I think I won’t be too far behind the rest of the group. I’ll let you know though.