49 Voices: Taylor Holman of Unalaska

Taylor Holman of Unalaska (Photo by Laura Kraegel, KUCB – Unalaska)

This week we’re hearing from Taylor Holman in Unalaska. Holman is a high school senior and placed first place in Alaska’s Russian Language competition this year.

Listen now

HOLMAN: So I first started taking Russian my freshmen year actually because I had cross-country after school and I didn’t want to do P.E. and cross-country. So I switched into Russian and that’s kinda where it all started, I guess. It seemed like a really cool language. It’s pretty practical when you’re living here in Alaska. So I just thought it was a good choice.

Learning a whole new alphabet was difficult at first, but my first year in Russian, it only took two or three weeks to really go through all the letters and learn their sounds. But now, it’s pretty natural to read it. You read it in script and also in print. So script is in cursive and then print is what they type in.

Well one phrase that I remember in particular coming in handy just recently… I was at the Russian competition and they ask you to tell about yourself, so then I told about my self. And then they asked me what my dream was. I didn’t remember specifically how to say dream, and I remember this thing… “this is my dream” is “ehto moya mechta”. So then I felt like really lucky that I was able to remember that just from freshmen year. And that was just one of the phrases that stuck with me for some reason.

I am the outreach coordinator for the Unalaska visitor’s center. What happens with that is we meet passengers that come off the ferries and cruise ships. And one time there was these people that came off the cruise ship, and they were speaking in Russian. And I was able to tell them that like, we have maps and that I’m able to provide them with any directions that they would need. And situations like that, being able to use it in little phrases and stuff, just to get by.

Menya zovut Taylor Holman. Ya zhivu v Unal’yaske. (My name is Taylor Holman and I live in Unalaska)

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Laura Kraegel covers Unalaska and the Aleutian Islands for KUCB . Originally from Chicago, she first came to Alaska to work at KNOM, reporting on Nome and the Bering Strait Region. (laura@kucb.org / 907.581.6700)
Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.

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