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Russian Textbooks and stuff

  Tags: Textbooks | Russian
 Language Learning Forum : Language Programs, Books & Tapes Post Reply
23 messages over 3 pages: 1 2
geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4525 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 17 of 23
10 January 2014 at 5:26pm | IP Logged 
Марк wrote:
Speakeasy wrote:
Polish (a Slavic language very closely related to
Russian, but without the Cyrillic alphabet)

I loved this definition of Polish!


Nice.

Whereas we have the counterpart definition of Russian (a primarily Asian language almost
entirely unrelated to Polish, and written using indecipherable squiggles).
2 persons have voted this message useful



Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3889 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 18 of 23
10 January 2014 at 8:16pm | IP Logged 
Falling forward onto my sword ... I wasn't trying to be amusing with my (apparently comical) description of Polish. I was merely pointing out that I had attempted to use Pimsleur to learn a Slavic language and that I concluded that I should look to more conventional sources to learn this family of languages.

I had chosen Polish over Russian because the Latinate alphabet makes it initially somewhat more approachable over the latter. In a somewhat similar fashion, I would assume that speakers of Russian find other Slavic languages reasonably approachable, particularly those that use a Cyrillic alphabet, whereas those using a Latinate alphabet pose an additional problem.

While not wishing to cause an international incident, I would add that, to my Anglo auditory senses, both Polish and Russian at first sounded like a multi-vehicle pile-up of mushy consonants and, for me, the seemingly mumbled case endings were indistinguishable when using the Pimsleur method. Bear in mind that, with this method, the learner must work backwards from the audio through a dictionary, a grammar, and a book of verbs, in order to build his own course notes and glossary. While the process can actually be quite easy and instructive with the Latinate and Germanic languages, the challenge is much greater with languages somewhat more distant from English ... meiner Meinung nach.   And, to be fair, I cannot imagine what kind of assault on the ears that English represents to speakers of Polish and Russian, but I suspect that it can be initially quite jarring.


Edited by Speakeasy on 11 January 2014 at 1:01am

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Марк
Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 4893 days ago

2096 posts - 2972 votes 
Speaks: Russian*

 
 Message 19 of 23
10 January 2014 at 8:56pm | IP Logged 
Well, the Latin alphabet does not cause special problems for Russians because we learn it
almost at the same time as the Russian alphabet. But the Cyrillic alphabet allows to see
cognates easier. Bulgarian вода - Russian вода and so on. English sounds very unclear and
strange for a native Russian speaker beause the languages have very different
articulation basis.
From your post I learned a new word - "mushy". Dictionaries say it means "soft". Do you
mean "soft" in the Russian sense or something else?
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Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3889 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 20 of 23
11 January 2014 at 12:27am | IP Logged 
Mon cher MAPK,

I wasn't anticipating a reply. So, thank you very much! As to my use of "mushy", I would have to say that, before you asked me about it, I had never looked this word up in a dictionary and that I am probably using it somewhat colloquially from the basic vocabulary that I acquired while growing up in Canada. Although English is my mother tongue, I have not had much contact with the spoken language over the past thirty years and I am not sure how prevalent the use of this word really is. My parents were from England and they used many words and expressions that my friends would sometimes find odd but which, to me, were quite "natural" in the sense that they were part of my home environment. To my mother, "mushy peas" were a culinary delicacy and, being English, she tended to boil all vegetables into a "mush" (it was not until many years later that I learned that there existed alternative means of preparing vegetables). So then, back to "mushy": my own use would incline towards the dictionary definition of "soft and spongy, shapeless, or lacking in definition or precision" which, in passing, was in no manner meant to be a slight either on the Slavic languages or on the fine people who speak them. I was merely expressing the effect that the case endings and long strings of consonants had on me (really, you should add a few vowels and let some air in!). As I progress, I am learning to distinguish the sounds.

In a similar "mushy" vein, I have travelled extensively throughout North and Central America, and Western Europe, and my impression is that the regional variants of many of the wide-spread languages are often not a matter of vocabulary but rather one of pronunciation, and more specifically, enunciation of clear, distinct consonants and vowels versus a "crushing or mushing" of sounds. I have relatives in the Southern United States who find that I have a "clipped and rapid" speech and that I sound like a "Yankee" (yes, the Civil War still rages for some people), whereas I find their speech lacking in definition, clarity and energy (viz., the Southern Drawl) and, when I visit the "back country" in the South, I find that their speech is, at times, virtually unintelligible, even though we share essentially the same vocabulary!

À la prochaine!


Edited by Speakeasy on 11 January 2014 at 1:00am

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YnEoS
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4091 days ago

472 posts - 893 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Cantonese, Japanese, French, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 21 of 23
14 January 2014 at 1:37am | IP Logged 
Speakeasy wrote:
MODERN RUSSIAN, Volumes 1 and 2
The Foreign Service Institute was one of the co-sponsors of this 1960’s-era classic. Like the FSI Basic courses, the method is, unsurprisingly, drill-drill-drill and, when you’re finished with that, drill-drill-drill some more. Detractors comment that some of the vocabulary is out-of-date because it relates to the Soviet era. My comment would be “big deal”, the BASIC language has not changed all that much and nowhere else can you find the mind-numbing drills. As many of you know, the audio files are freely available on the University of Indiana’s (Recorded Materials Archive) website:
http://www.iu.edu/~celtie/russian_b09.html


Thanks so much for pointing out this course, I had no idea there was an FSI style equivalent for Russian, this will be absolutely invaluable to my studies.

Now I'm starting to feel rather foolish about the course recommendation I've made now that others have recommended vastly superior courses that use similar methods.
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Speakeasy
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3889 days ago

507 posts - 1098 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 22 of 23
14 January 2014 at 2:49am | IP Logged 
@CHRISTIANOO,
@YNEOS,

With respect to MODERN RUSSIAN, by Clayton L. Dawson, I tried searching the publisher's site (Georgetown University Press), but had only limited success. However, you can find all of the textbooks and supplementary books at AMAZON.COM, for which the complete list is as follows:

Modern Russian 1
Modern Russian 1 Workbook
Modern Russian 2
Modern Russian 2 Workbook
Instructor's Manual, Modern Russian

As to the Modern Russian textbooks, the presentation is amazingly similar to that of any of the FSI Basic courses. So then, this course is NOT for the faint-of-heart! The Workbooks and Instructor's Manual are slim, but important, supplements to the textbooks and I suggest that you get the full set of materials, particularly since some of the basic "sound drills" are included in the supplements. As to the audio files, the University of Indiana website also includes a downloadable pdf file, numbered B09 at the top of the page, that lists the file names and contents. Many of the audio files are reasonably short (5 minutes or less); however, about half of them are lengthy (about 30 minutes) and you might wish to use an mp3 file splitter to cut them up into digestible segments. As to downloading the audio files, as far as I understand, there exists a means of affecting a massive "dump", but I don't know how to do this. I downloaded one-file-at-a-time and, as you can well appreciate, this took quite a lot of time! Perhaps you could ask the forum members for advice on this.

Good luck with your studies!

1 person has voted this message useful



YnEoS
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4091 days ago

472 posts - 893 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Russian, Cantonese, Japanese, French, Hungarian, Czech, Swedish, Mandarin, Italian, Spanish

 
 Message 23 of 23
14 January 2014 at 3:20am | IP Logged 
I use the add-on DownloadHelper for firefox for all my mass file-dowloading needs, and it's been incredibly helpful for acquiring stuff like FSI and DLI courses that have hundreds of audio files. As a bonus it also works for downloading streaming videos. I recall it comes with some random cap on how many files you can download from a single website, but this is easily removed in the settings.


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