Imagine your conversational life without verbs. It is very difficult to convey your thoughts about important subjects such as going, liking, being, working and drinking without them.
Then, you learn a few verbs. Entirely new conversational options immediately become open to you. The world suddenly seems brighter and more full of potential.
I have begun to learn verbs.
The only thing that my intense young Azeri teacher looks askance at more than me coming to class hung over without having completed my homework (who ever said people move to foreign countries to advance in their personal development?) is my failure to practice speaking.
Despite living in Baku and working with a staff of Azeris, I really don't get that many opportunities to practice. My staff rarely converses with me in Azeri at a level I can understand, so I don't speak much outside of class.
Except with taxi drivers.
John is a 60+ year old driver who usually parks outside our building and often serves as our personal chauffeur. He took me downtown last night in his shuttering Lada sedan, yammering on as usual in a staccato mixture of Russian and Azeri.
But for the first time, I actually began to understand what he was asking me.
I credit the verbs.
In our brief ride, we discussed his hometown of Sheki and the high quality of its halva (a extra sweet and sticky version of baklava) and piti (sheep fat soup). I explained to him that I like Nasemi Bazaar near my house, but not the Teze (central)Bazaar because it is too expensive. We agreed that the US has 50 states and is very big. We lamented that I hadn't had a good day at work.
None of this would have been possible if I hadn't been learning verbs. I'm hoping that John will begin to charge me the local price