A few days ago, I was watching Burn Notice, one of my favorite shows. It’s about a famous spy, Michael Weston, who gets blacklisted and effectively booted from the CIA. He’s made out to be this brilliant linguist, fluent in Russian, and his name was known all over Russia.
Before I started learning Russian, I could’ve believed this. Now, not so much. I’m quite certain any and all Russians who heard him would’ve laughed him out of Russia, possibly even out of Europe.
It came down to one simple word, спасибо (pronounced spa-si-buh). And he was pronouncing it like it was spelled cпасибва (spa-si-bva). The subtitled translation simply said, “Thank you.”
No, this could not be.