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Leopejo’s journey to master russian

  Tags: Pimsleur | Assimil | Russian
 Language Learning Forum : Language Learning Log Post Reply
14 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
Leopejo
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 4507 days ago

675 posts - 724 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, Finnish*, English
Studies: French, Russian

 
 Message 1 of 14
07 March 2008 at 11:05am | IP Logged 
My motivation: a genuine love for Russian literature, culture, history... and a new (girl) friend. Add to that a new phase in life, searching for a new job, and for a new country to live in.

My background: no background in russian, just a couple of textbook chapters of polish - but it was quite depressing when I couldn't correctly pronounce czes'c' (hi). Privet seems easier... I also already knew the cyrillic alphabet and pronunciation, not very well though.

Methods and material: I found Pimsleur's short course (8 lessons), and I'll probably listen to them, but Assimil (in Italian) will be the backbone. I'm also downloading Princeton's russian course from Free language courses. I also have a couple of old textbooks, a grammar, a dictionary, an 80s TV course in VHS, Le petit prince as audio and text, but for now I'm only using these as reference/backup.

In addition, I find internet very stimolating. I have a page and belong to groups in Б Контакте, which basically is a russian clone of Facebook, and am able to interact, albeit by "cheating" with Google Translate. I found a phonetic russian keyboard layout, that is a layout where а,с,д,ф,г... correspond to a,s,d,f,g on a latin keyboard, very helpful. Pity that в and ж correspond to w and v respectively. I'd say that not having an easy means to write in cyrillic letters is what kept me from starting russian until now.

Goal: to be "fluent", whatever it means, in 3-4 months. Also, to impress some russians with a flawless pronunciation...

Level reached as of today: the first two Pimsleur lessons and a brief overview (one afternoon...) of the first seven Assimil lessons.
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Vlad
Trilingual Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Czechoslovakia
foreverastudent.com
Joined 4982 days ago

443 posts - 576 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: Czech*, Slovak*, Hungarian*, Mandarin, EnglishC2, GermanC2, ItalianC1, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Serbian, French
Studies: Persian, Taiwanese, Romanian, Portuguese

 
 Message 2 of 14
08 March 2008 at 4:01am | IP Logged 
'Pity that в and ж correspond to w and v respectively. I'd say that not having an easy means to write in cyrillic letters is what kept me from starting russian until now.'

Try downloading a keyboard layout manager and switch the two letters so you'll at least have th 'в' at the 'v' key.

'Goal: to be "fluent", whatever it means, in 3-4 months. Also, to impress some russians with a flawless pronunciation...'

:-)) this is going to be very difficult.
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Leopejo
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 4507 days ago

675 posts - 724 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, Finnish*, English
Studies: French, Russian

 
 Message 3 of 14
08 March 2008 at 10:19am | IP Logged 
Vlad wrote:
Try downloading a keyboard layout manager and switch the two letters so you'll at least have th 'в' at the 'v' key.

Thanks, that was a good suggestion. Now it's perfect.

Quote:

'Goal: to be "fluent", whatever it means, in 3-4 months. Also, to impress some russians with a flawless pronunciation...'

:-)) this is going to be very difficult.

I know. I set my goals high, but won't cry if I won't succeed.


Update

I downloaded Princeton's course. At first I was quite surprised at the first lesson. "How rigorous! And it presumes previous knowledge" I thought, before realizing that I was reading the first lesson of the SECOND year. It's settled, that is unzipped keeping original folders, now.

I realized that while Google Translate lets you actively interact already before the first lesson, it is too easy to cheat with it, and more traditional methods (pen, paper and dictionary) should be used as much as possible.
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Siberiano
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
one-giant-leap.Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4891 days ago

465 posts - 696 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English, ItalianC1, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Serbian

 
 Message 4 of 14
09 March 2008 at 5:19am | IP Logged 
I suggest using the normal Russian keyboard. It won't take long to get used to it, just practice. Once upon a time (at the age of 12-14) I knew Russian layout, but didn't know the English one, and I had no internet/forums/social networks. :)

On topic, buona fortuna col russo! Infatti sei fortunato essere l'italiano (o solo madrelingua?) perché imparare il russo é più facile proprio per gli Italiani fra tutti gli altri europei non slavi.

      off topic: I'll tell another story. Getting used to a different layout isn't that hard. I had to do a more trickier thing once in my life. I used windows-1251 codepage to write and read koi-8 codepage. For example,

      Добро пожаловать на мою домашнюю страницу! Здесь можно найти мои сочинения и переводы с итальянского и английского.

      would look like this:
      дНАПН ОНФЮКНБЮРЭ МЮ ЛНЧ ДНЛЮЬМЧЧ ЯРПЮМХЖС! гДЕЯЭ ЛНФМН МЮИРХ ЛНХ ЯНВХМЕМХЪ Х ОЕПЕБНДШ Я ХРЮКЭЪМЯЙНЦН Х ЮМЦКХИЯЙНЦН.

      In 1999 I could comprehend this text and even write it! The hosting provider hosted pages in koi-8 encoding (the latter). Using a decoder was too complicated and I couldn't make fast corrections. So I learned to read a write, writing the third layout with a pencil on my kbd. Gradually the pencil writings wore out, but I didn't write them again, because I already remembered where it was written.

      Soon the hosting provider configured their server normally, and I abandoned this practice. :)

Edited by Siberiano on 09 March 2008 at 5:26am

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Leopejo
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 4507 days ago

675 posts - 724 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, Finnish*, English
Studies: French, Russian

 
 Message 5 of 14
09 March 2008 at 6:05am | IP Logged 
Siberiano wrote:
I suggest using the normal Russian keyboard. It won't take long to get used to it, just practice. Once upon a time (at the age of 12-14) I knew Russian layout, but didn't know the English one, and I had no internet/forums/social networks. :)

I could try - but has it any benefits, as of now? Shouldn't I be able to just as "easily" learn the normal Russian keyboard if and when I'll be in Russia?

Quote:

On topic, buona fortuna col russo! Infatti sei fortunato essere l'italiano (o solo madrelingua?) perché imparare il russo é più facile proprio per gli Italiani fra tutti gli altri europei non slavi.

Sì, diciamo che mi considero 55 - 60 % Italiano, 40 - 45 % finlandese, ed al momento vivo in Italia. Just curious, why is it easier for Italians to learn Russian than for the other non-slavic Europeans?

Quote:
      off topic:

Interesting story and kudos to your efforts. Did you feel disappointed when your provider made life easier?
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Siberiano
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
one-giant-leap.Registered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4891 days ago

465 posts - 696 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English, ItalianC1, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese, Serbian

 
 Message 6 of 14
09 March 2008 at 6:41am | IP Logged 
Leopejo wrote:
I could try - but has it any benefits, as of now? Shouldn't I be able to just as "easily" learn the normal Russian keyboard if and when I'll be in Russia?

That's just my opinion: it is easier to install Russian layout in most MS Windows or Linux computers.
Quote:
Sì, diciamo che mi considero 55 - 60 % Italiano, 40 - 45 % finlandese, ed al momento vivo in Italia. Just curious, why is it easier for Italians to learn Russian than for the other non-slavic Europeans?

Pronunciation is more similar than with other European languages. For you who knows Finnish, inflection won't be something new.
Quote:
Interesting story and kudos to your efforts. Did you feel disappointed when your provider made life easier?
Hehe, no, I forgot those difficulties quickly and the "other Russian" as well. :)

I've also tried Dvorak keyboard layout. That wasn't hard to get used to write in Dvorak. The problem was that many programs say a letter, but read a particular button on the kbd, for example for Ctrl+S one program wants exactly the letter S, but another one wants the Qwerty S. Had to abandon it. Ok, enough stories from me. You tell your stories here :)

Edited by Siberiano on 09 March 2008 at 6:45am

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Leopejo
Bilingual Triglot
Senior Member
Italy
Joined 4507 days ago

675 posts - 724 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, Finnish*, English
Studies: French, Russian

 
 Message 7 of 14
09 March 2008 at 6:47am | IP Logged 
Siberiano wrote:
That's just my opinion: it is easier to install Russian layout in most MS Windows or Linux computers.

Well, now I have everything possibly installed, so no problem either way.

Quote:

Pronunciation is more similar than with other European languages. For you who knows Finnish, inflection won't be something new.

You have a point there. Though I only STUDIED the cases... in Latin (I was too young when I left Finland, and too old when I moved back there, to formally study finnish grammar).

A proposito, hai un bel blog, complimenti!
1 person has voted this message useful



Vlad
Trilingual Super Polyglot
Senior Member
Czechoslovakia
foreverastudent.com
Joined 4982 days ago

443 posts - 576 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: Czech*, Slovak*, Hungarian*, Mandarin, EnglishC2, GermanC2, ItalianC1, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Serbian, French
Studies: Persian, Taiwanese, Romanian, Portuguese

 
 Message 8 of 14
09 March 2008 at 7:10am | IP Logged 
I don't understand the claim about the pronounciation similarities between Italian and Russian. There were 5 Italian students in St.Petersburg with me and they had big problems with pronounciation. One girl had difficulties pronouncing the 'л' sound which is among the easier ones. All of them were vocalising the consonant clusters, because of the nature of the Italian language.

I don't know about European languages in general, but among Romance languages on two occasions I have mistaken European Portugese with Russian because the speakers were far away in an echoed and noisy hall and I have been told by several people that they've had similar experiences. Portugese have the tendency to 'eat' their vowels which leads to creating consonant clusters so typical for Slavic languages.. this is my theory at least:-)

Leopejo:

There allready has been a discussion on whether to learn the standard Russian keyboard layout or the phonetic one. I feel, that it is really not in your interest to complicate your life when there is no need to do so. Go for the phonetic layout:-)



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