Mark and Nathan both pointed me to (different versions of) this helpful story from the BBC yesterday. Swamped with unpacking and conference-going, I would have missed it entirely. I’m doing pretty well, though; the main impediments to my understanding derive from the speed with which my local interlocutors speak and the extent to which they articulate their phonemes. If I can hear the sounds distinctly, I can usually puzzle out the vowel shifts and colloquialisms. If, on the other hand, they’re talking like Brad Pitt in Snatch (link — NSFW language alert), then I’m at sea.