Having read a little farther in Baklanov (see the previous post), I have another linguistic nugget. In chapter 3, he talks about “командиры полков, вызванные на рекогносцировку”: ‘regimental commanders sent out on rekognostsirovka.’ That last word was completely mystifying to me, and yet when I looked it up and discovered it meant ‘reconnaissance,’ I (figuratively) smacked myself on the forehead and wondered why it hadn’t been obvious. After all, reconnaissance in French can mean ‘recognition’ and the verb reconnaître is from Latin recognoscere, all of which I know perfectly well, so I should have recognized rekognostsirovka for what it was. And yet the Latinate form completely flummoxed me. Mind you, if my German were better I wouldn’t have had a problem, because the German word for ‘reconnoiter’ is rekognoszieren, which is where the Russians got their verb rekognostsirovat’. All of which goes to show that you can never know too many languages.