Intended for healthcare professionals


How did he learn to speak Russian?

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 19 August 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b2386
  1. Ian D Conacher, retired consultant anaesthetist, Newcastle upon Tyne
  1. i.d.conacher{at}

    At the international congress conference dinner, the seating plan had been really mixed. Opposite me sat a husband and wife from the United States. This was their second visit to Europe. Small talk? Not much and exhausted before the soup. On my left was a softly spoken, elderly German whose English was hard work, bearing in mind that my German was non-existent: niceties were over before the soup. On my right sat a Russian who, I surmised, had to be reasonably fluent in the conference …

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