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  #1  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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Learning Russian

Hi All,

I am looking to learn Russian, any recommendations on suitable teaching methods?

Cheers,

Craig
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  #2  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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Years ago I spent a few winters in Spain, learning the language at school, from scratch. It was a fun time, but I don't know about it being effective at learning the language. You spend most time with other students, and it all quickly degenerates into speaking English. After a few winters I never became really proficient.

A Dutch woman turned up one year on the first day of term. Spoke good English and kept diving off into Spanish, better than any of us could speak it. We were curious. She said she was waiting to see one of the teachers for an assessment as to which class she should join. We all said she was way above our heads, she'd go straight into the top class.

So she told us her story. Two months previously she'd chucked in her job in Rotterdam and headed to Spain. After 4 weeks she'd found a Spanish boyfriend, and by the way she talked, they'd hit it off pretty seriously.
"So," she said. "The Spanish I can speak now is entirely from living with him for 4 weeks. I've got a hotel job locally but they say my grammar needs fixing so they sent me here."
Well, we were stunned. As much as we could tell, she was near to fluent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig.iedema View Post
Hi All,

I am looking to learn Russian, any recommendations on suitable teaching methods?

Cheers,

Craig
Easy! Get yerself a Russian girlfriend. I hear they are highly recommendable......!

.
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  #3  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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For that to work really well the girlfriend would need to speak little to no English.

And in any case the girlfriend strategy may not work in Craigs case

TonyP is always recommending Rosetta Stone
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  #4  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post

Easy! Get yerself a Russian girlfriend. I hear they are highly recommendable......!

.

Marry a Russian then you don't need to speak the lingo, she can do it, at least that's what I do! (they are highly recommended, well, my wife is anyway but you've missed out there!)

Actually, if I wasn't as busy doing other things (like work) and more adept at languages I might learn, but at the moment she teaches me a new word and by the next day I've forgotten it again. I can speak a bit, but pretty limited and actually probably less than when I met her because I've become a bit lazy with her being so good, she does the talking!

It's rather embarrassing really as she speaks five languages and is currently at an English university doing a masters degree. I struggle with English!

I do find though, when I am in eastern Europe I start to pick stuff up. I think your ear becomes tuned to the language, wheras I did a year of Spanish lessons and could barely speak 10 words at the end of it!!
Also, at school you tend to learn theoretical language. My wife sometimes quotes some stuff from Russian professors about English, eminent language experts, and it's tosh! It's obvious they have learned their language theoretically as the way they speak no English person would speak.
You have to be in a country to really learn the language.
I would say concentrate on learning the alphabet and a few key words to get you started and then learn the rest in country by just talking to people. They will be very keen to talk to you, but may also be very keen to practice their English!
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Old 30 Apr 2013
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Not sure where you are based, but we took some lessons while living in Sydney. We had an excellent teacher and great fun learning with her. complete with vodka in the morning.

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  #6  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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My wife is Mongolian, she speaks russian.
So she helps me learning it.

I also visit a school for peaple, who want to learn in the evening, which i mostly use for reading / writing alphabet and basics.

I think, for a journey through this countries i can help myself enough.
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  #7  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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I've been using Rosetta Stone.... And living in Georgia for 4 months. Russian is very common here especially where tourism is common. Many Russian and Ukrainian people flock to Georgia to ski.

I don't know much.. but I can find food, fuel and .
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Old 30 Apr 2013
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And thats mostly all you need
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Old 30 Apr 2013
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We went to evening classes at the local University and studied there. It was intense but after 6 months we had learn't a lot. It is a shame that it was 12 months ago as its hard to remember everything but we are doing fine (Currently in Volgograd) Nothing like spending money to make you pay attention! Problem with CD's is that I cant sit down and learn as I will find something else to do (busy planning this trip) so 1 evening a week to go somewhere and speak Russian for 3 hours was a good choice. You meet a lot of interesting people and your lecturer can come in handy with translations while your away etc.

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  #10  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
Easy! Get yerself a Russian girlfriend. I hear they are highly recommendable......!
As nice as Russian women are (and they are very nice), I am not sure the wife would appreciate it.

I have heard mixed things about Rosetta stone, I was thinking this or Pimsleur.

I do think for me I might need to learn the structure along with every day usage I is kind of how my brain works. Living with a Russian family for 2 weeks taught us more than did the previous 2 months, so maybe I should go and live Russia .

Thanks for the responses everyone. Keep them coming.
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  #11  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by colebatch View Post
For that to work really well the girlfriend would need to speak little to no English.
Yep, that's the key. And if your first language is English, you find most people you meet speak it - well I've found that anyway.
In the case I mentioned, the Spanish boyfriend spoke no Dutch and hardly any English, so it worked pretty well.

The nearest I got to that sort of situation was a home stay in Russia where the lady of the house spoke 6 languages but not English. So we conversed in French (which she used to teach) and my schoolboy version improved quite a bit. Enough to ask her why she never learnt English. She told me it was too difficult. "For instance," she asked (in French), "What's that word for the air coming in when you open a window?"
"Breeze," I said.
"No, another word."
"Wind?"
"No, less strong."
"Ahh," I said, "Draught!"
"That's it," she said. "Now how do you spell that?"
"d - r - a - u - g - h - t . - draft."
"Exactly - far too difficult!!"
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Old 30 Apr 2013
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I keep learning it on and off. Mostly from audio cd when in the car on a boring motorway. I used the Pimsleur CD's and while they are good I've recently found what I feel is a better approach, the Michele Thomas method.

In fact I see a lot of it is on youtube. Here for example is a play-list of almost all of the first CD. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieNb...mFxyCEze8fkB3O

Bear with it, it's clever on how it gets you to think and construct sentences rather than learning parrot fashion.
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  #13  
Old 30 Apr 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
Yep, that's the key. ...
"d - r - a - u - g - h - t . - draft."
"Exactly - far too difficult!!"
At least with Russian, for the most part what you see is what you get, ie it is fully phonetic, if you can read a world you can say a word and you don't have contort your mouth to do it, at least not for the words I can say or have heard, unlike say French. When I learnt a little french last year the suggestion was to put a pencil across your mouth and hold it in your teeth whilst speaking. This is what they apparently do to teach children.
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  #14  
Old 1 May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Modman View Post
I keep learning it on and off. Mostly from audio cd when in the car on a boring motorway. I used the Pimsleur CD's and while they are good I've recently found what I feel is a better approach, the Michele Thomas method.

In fact I see a lot of it is on youtube. Here for example is a play-list of almost all of the first CD. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieNb...mFxyCEze8fkB3O

Bear with it, it's clever on how it gets you to think and construct sentences rather than learning parrot fashion.
Good tip, seems like a good audio course,

I find when travelling slipping the headphones in to listen to an audio course in the morning when packing up can be a great way to remind yourself and get a few more language, and then you practice it during the day. I
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  #15  
Old 1 May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
Yep, that's the key. And if your first language is English, you find most people you meet speak it - well I've found that anyway.
In the case I mentioned, the Spanish boyfriend spoke no Dutch and hardly any English, so it worked pretty well.

The nearest I got to that sort of situation was a home stay in Russia where the lady of the house spoke 6 languages but not English. So we conversed in French (which she used to teach) and my schoolboy version improved quite a bit. Enough to ask her why she never learnt English. She told me it was too difficult. "For instance," she asked (in French), "What's that word for the air coming in when you open a window?"
"Breeze," I said.
"No, another word."
"Wind?"
"No, less strong."
"Ahh," I said, "Draught!"
"That's it," she said. "Now how do you spell that?"
"d - r - a - u - g - h - t . - draft."
"Exactly - far too difficult!!"

very true, this is what my wife complains about
slough can be pronounced as in sluff or slowe
Cough and though, pronounced completely differently
there, their and they're
and so on
As I said to her, there are no rules, you just have to know!
I'd hate to have to learn English!!

although she has said two Russian words to me before and to me they sound exactly the same, but she tells me they're different, and that rolling the R's business, I can't manage that at all!!
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