Category Archives: Learning

ATA-Conference First-Time Buyer’s Guide

While attending my first ATA conference last year in San Diego I was asked to write a review for the Slavic Languages Division’s quarterly publication, Slav File. You can read about my experience starting on page 5.

 

English lessons at the Russian Community Center in Redmond

Last Wednesday I began teaching English at the Russian Community Center in Redmond, Washington.  The class is free and meets each week at 7:00pm on Wednesday.  Please join us!

I emphasized to the students that they would need to devote significant time outside of our class in order to make progress with the language.  They would need to find a native English-speaking friend to help them.  Many felt that this would be difficult.  As an alternative that does not require another human, I suggested that they make use of public domain books and audio books in order to get practice with reading.  By listening to an audio recording of a story while following along, a student can correct mistakes in pronunciation, learn new vocabulary, and improve their reading skills.

Story text

Story audio recording

The Fox and the Grapes

The Fox and the Grapes

The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs

The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs

The Cat and the Mice

The Cat and the Mice

The Mischievous Dog

The Mischievous Dog

The Charcoal-burner and the Fuller

The Charcoal-burner and the Fuller

The Mice in Council

The Mice in Council

The Bat and the Weasels

The Bat and the Weasels

The Dog and the Sow

The Dog and the Sow

The Fox and the Crow

The Fox and the Crow

The Horse and the Groom

The Horse and the Groom

As some people have expressed an interest, I’m also going to offer individual instruction in English (for Russians), either in-person or via Skype.  If you are interested, contact me, and we can negotiate the details.

Good luck!

Great Russian quotes about language

May I bring some more Russian goodness from www.gramota.ru to your attention?  I love their collection of quotes from (mostly) Russian literary heavy-hitters such a Tolstoy (Толстой), Pushkin (Пушкин), and Chekhov (Чехов).

Here are a few good ones that I’ve quickly translated from Russian into English:

Tolstoy

Нравственность человека видна в его отношении к слову.

“One’s virtue is seen in how he treats words.”

Klyechevsky

Слово должно быть по росту мысли.

“The word must be as tall as the thought.”

Pushkin

Чтение – вот лучшее учение!

“Learning is better than reading!”

 

As always, any comments on the translations are welcome!  Thanks!

Test your Russian Grammar skills

Can’t afford a personal Russian language coach?  The “Interactive Dictation” (Интерактивный диктант) feature on www.gramota.ru may be the next best thing.  It’s always available and is never in a bad mood.  You can practice at your own pace, and—best of all—it’s free!

Here’s how it works.  Once you go to the website, you’ll see a list of names of authors.

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Each author’s name is followed by the name of one of his or her works.  Pick one.

You’ll then see a passage of text sprinkled with yellow boxes.

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Each yellow box is a test of your skills in Russian grammar or spelling.  Click on a box to reveal a dropdown menu of punctuation or letter combinations.  Choose one of the options for each yellow box.

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Then click the “Check” (Проверить) button to see how you did.

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Correct answers will be rendered green, and incorrect answers will be red.

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That’s great, but there’s more!  Not only do you get to see what you got wrong, you get to learn why!  Click on each red box to see an explanation of the grammar or spelling rules that you broke.

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What a great resource!  Enjoy!

Helpful Russian links on WordReference.com

I’ve joined the Russian forum at WordReference.com.  This looks like a great place to share linguistic expertise.  I look forward to making a contribution.

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You won’t want to miss the excellent collection of links related to the Russian language.  You’ll find specialized dictionaries, glossaries, online courses, pronunciation, and more!

Podcast: Russian Business Vocabulary

If you’re looking to learn some basic Russian business vocabulary, you may be interested in the audio recordings produced by Anna Kudyma of the UCLA Center for World Languages.

There are 7 episodes covering topics from “Company structure” to “Taxes” to “Company representation”.  They range from 12 to 15 minutes, and each includes a companion PDF file with transcripts and vocabulary lists.

You may also be interested in Beginner’s Russian With Interactive Online Workbook: A Basic Russian Course by Anna Kudyma available through Amazon.com.

Resources for learning Russian online: The Russian Alphabet

A catchy tune can enhance learning.  Children are often taught the English alphabet to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.  This works very well for our 26 letters.  The Russian alphabet, however, has 33 letters.  This requires a different tune.  This video by the folks at Sesame Street is great!

Stay tuned for more helpful resources in subsequent posts!