My French is nowhere near what it used to be, I’ve just discovered. Once, years ago, I could comfortably read Spanish and French at the newspaper/ novel level and was working hard to add German to my language list. No more, alas. I was stunned and dismayed to discover how much I’ve simply lost. I can still manage some Spanish, both conversationally and in reading, but German has become an indecipherable sea, and while my French grammar remains, the vocabulary has all but disappeared.
Reading the review, I discovered that the reader had worked through the book the same way I worked through the post; using a translation service. That’s a hard, hard way to learn to build a language—weirdly recursive, in that you’re working from a language you don’t know though a translator that translates like a multilingual drunkard with comprehension issues to convert into your language the method for creating other languages. I lift my glass to the diligent Leppiya, who definitely did the course the hard way. And apparently still got the humor. I’m glad that came through.