Russian, for two weeks, in one year

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Russian, for two weeks, in one year

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1bookme
Mag 28, 2007, 7:45 pm

When travelling internationally, especially when I'll be expected to lecture, I like to devote a realistic amount of time to studying the language of my destination country. About one year from now I plan to spend a couple weeks in the Ukraine. I don't wish to achieve mastery in Russian. But I don't want to be limited to consulting one of the standard tourist language look-up books. I don't need to be able to read or write Russian. But I would enjoy being able to have simple conversations. Does anyone have a book recommendation for what I have in mind?

2MMcM
Modificato: Mag 28, 2007, 11:34 pm

Russian or Ukrainian?

3rebeccanyc
Mag 29, 2007, 11:50 am

For conversational purposes, you might be better off with an audio method of learning languages. I have found the Pimsleur system very useful; I have bought their materials from a place called www.bigredgarage.com which offers them at a discount, but you can also find out more at the publisher's web site, www.simonsays.com/pimsleur/. They seem to have both Russian and Ukrainian.

The drawbacks to the system (for me) were not learning grammar in a formal way and not including reading. But I learned a lot from them anyway.

4bookme
Mag 29, 2007, 5:08 pm

MMcM: Russian, because I may have more use for it later, and Russian is spoken widely throughout the Ukraine (or so I hear).

rebeccanyc: I think you're right about going audio. Thanks for the URLs. Have you studied Russian?

5oregonobsessionz
Mag 29, 2007, 8:23 pm

Haven't been there, although I would love to go. But from coverage of their most recent elections, I understood that western Ukrainians have a great resentment of Russia (and presumably the Russian language), while those in the east retain some affinity.

6rebeccanyc
Mag 29, 2007, 8:25 pm

#4, Russian, no, although I had to learn the alphabet many years ago for a job. I've used tapes for Spanish and Italian.

7boekerij
Mag 29, 2007, 8:25 pm

>4 bookme:

Ukrainian people have been pressed in many different ways to learn and speak Russian indeed. Remember that even Holodomor (artificial famine) and Great Purge have been part of the Russification scheme. Therefore, you might receive more sympathy when having learned some Ukrainian instead of Russian. Mind, too, that addresses to the public, including both signs and voice announcements, are in Ukrainian now.

It seems to me that learing Russian because one is planning to visit the Ukraine might be like learning French because one is planning to visit the US -- less the proper sensibilities vis-à-vis Russification and its methods, that is.

8bookme
Giu 1, 2007, 1:52 am

Maybe I should clarify. When I was invited to lecture in the Ukraine, I was told my presentations would be translated into Russian—that is, I would have a Russian language interpreter. Hmm. This surprised me some. I dont have to learn the language at any level, but it's something I'd like to do at some level.

9sunny
Modificato: Giu 1, 2007, 10:18 am

There are the brilliant Kauderwelsch Sprachführer.

Strangely they only seem to exist from German (not from English), but maybe that's no obstacle for you?

(Their site could do with an overhaul..)

Russian: on LT / book * with link to tape / CD ROM / download for mobile phone / MP3 download

Ukrainian: on LT / book * / MP3 download

For both languages the MP3 page also mentions a 'digital' Version (pdf) and a CD.

* "Wörter die weiterhelfen" opens three example pages from the book




10sabreader
Giu 5, 2007, 10:01 pm

Russia is widely spoken in Ukraine, especially in eastern parts. In fact, a huge percentage of ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language. So Russian is probably the right way to go especially if you'll be with Russian speaking audiences.

11bookme
Giu 8, 2007, 7:42 pm

Thanks, sunny, for the lead on the German site for foreign languages.

12bookme
Giu 8, 2007, 7:47 pm

Hi sabreader,

A guidebook to the Ukraine that I've consulted lists major cities where Russian is dominant and other major cities where Ukrainian is dominant. It claims that Ukrainian is the prevailing language in Kyiv, where I'm to be most of the time.

13MorganKeller
Giu 20, 2007, 3:52 am

Russian is highly phonetic. With a ocuple of weeks to spare before class began, I was detemriend to get a good head start on my own.

First, I taught myself the values of the cyrillic alphabet in a day or two. That was easy. Then I practiced reading russian books out loud until I felt comfortable with the flow of the language. That was easy enough too. I read many of those russian passages into a tape recorder so that I could play the tapes over and over while I did other things. I supplemented that with language tapes recroded by native speakers, both vocabulary tapes (try the EXCELLENT Vocabulearn series by Penton overseas) as well as tapes of composed and structured language (literature). That ensured my pronounciation was fine.

Besides russian language literature, which can be ordered online...try these 3 excellent russian exercise books (these are russian publications that can be found on the web or sometimes in university or commerical bookstores if you are lucky):

*Russian As We Speak It by Khavronina

*Russian in Exercises by Khavronina & Shirochenskaya

*A Short Russian Reference Grammar by by Pulkina, Kuznetsov, Korotky, & Dixon

The key to all of this was that I was not worried so much about understanding WHAT I was reading...rather, I was concerned with learning to read and write the sound system....and especially concerned with teaching my brain to subconsciously learn patterns of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. A couple of weeks later I went to my first formal russian emmersion classes and I was way ahead of my class and always remained so.

All too often english speakers try to learn more phonetic and less complicated languages the same way they have been taught english...which in of itself was often lacking. They make it more difficult than it needs to be.

Good luck and have fun!

MK

14MorganKeller
Giu 20, 2007, 4:02 am

It seems to me that learing Russian because one is planning to visit the Ukraine might be like learning French because one is planning to visit the US

Not really as strange as it sounds for two reasons.

One, unlike French and English, Russian and Ukrainian are highly similar so knowing one makes it easy to understand the other. Secondly, many people throughout the former USSR speak russian.

I have never learned Ukrainian, but many of my students in my "russian immigrant" language program were in fact Ukrainians whom I understood rather well in Ukrainian....or in Russian for those who used it.

MK

15MAJGross
Modificato: Giu 23, 2007, 10:33 pm

Over the many trips I have made to Ukraine (never referred to as "The Ukraine"!) I have seen the growth of the Ukrainian language. In the West it is spoken by all and has been for a long time. I spent six weeks in Lviv at the University and very rarely heard any Russian. My last trip to Kiev, I instructed in English, but answered questions solely in Ukrainian as it was an official function. I also noticed that Ukraine was fast becoming the predominant language on the street. I used Ukrainian routinely in stores and restaurants where a year prior, I would often get a blank look from clerks. Stores were, I believe, caving to official pressure to hire Ukrainians and not Russians.

Ukrainians recognize that we silly Americans aren't capable of learning the language of every country we speak. If you show up with a modicum of Russian, they will love it. If you show up with a little Ukrainian, you won't buy many drinks!

Never, never say, "The Ukraine". It implies a second class nature.

An added last thought, Ukrainian is a much more beautiful language and is phonetic as opposed to Russian which has many exceptions and many, many rules that foreigners never master.

16barefeet4 Primo messaggio
Lug 5, 2007, 3:22 am

I agree with an earlier post that for basic language acquisition the Piemsleur cds are very helpful. However, I would also recommend taking some time to learn the Cyrillic alphabet since the meanings of many words (especially store names, street signs, etc) are very easy to deduce if you can read them.

17BunnysBla
Modificato: Nov 6, 2007, 9:13 pm

Russian is generally understood in Ukraine, but be aware! They might understand you, but you wouldn´t understand them. The languages are similar, but that might not be enough. Also the writting is slightly different!

18modalursine
Gen 28, 2008, 11:37 am

I'm not really sure how close Russian and Ukrainian "Really" are, but I do know that after an intensive summer course of Russian, I heard somebody singing in Ukrainian and was able to understand some, though it sounded "funny" to my only half tutored ear. "Skazhiteh menye" (tell me) came out more like "Skazhee menee" but perfectly understandable.

I understand Ukrainian kids "think" they're speaking russian, and then get yelled out by their russian teachers for speaking "zhargon".

Either way, I cant imagine an english speaker learning russian without a heavy dose of grammar
unless he'ld earlier studied some heavily inflected language such as greek or latin.

I remember that before I learned a word of russian, my then to be mother in law (a native speaker) told me how to say things like "I want"
(ya chatchu) and "turkey" (indushka)...I tried to put it together, "Ya chatchu kushet indushka"
No! induskU. I thought turkey was indushka? Not when its the direct object of the verb. Busted!

Dont even TALK about verbs of motion!

19galya
Mar 2, 2008, 10:44 am

As a being a Russian (native), who read a bit and heard a lot of Ukrainians talking in their native language I can say, that both these languages are rather close to each other...but it looks so, sure, only for people who know one of this languages well enough...
As to 'indushka' and 'induskU'... you are lucky you were not asked : 'do you like to eat turkey' ...and if you'd , you'd hear not 'induskU', but 'indushatina' :-)))).
Galina