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Thread: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Has anyone here tried the "Ilya Frank method" for language learning? If so, what was your experience?

    I get the impression that this methid is quite popular in Russia – I've come across lots of links to the website. http://www.franklang.ru/ (has an English section, albeit a small one - click on the link in the left hand panel).

    This seems to be 100% not-for-profit.

    The method is to read real books as parallel texts and proceed in the book without worrying too much whether you understand the grammar and details of the vocabulary, or not. Eventually it will all fall into place, according to the theory.

    With a language like Russian, it seems to me that it's absolutely necessary to use Audio along with the texts, or to use a text that has accents....

    Anyway, the method seems good and makes a lot of sense. I wanted to know whether anyone had tried it? How did you get material?

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    I had a book of Hauf's tales in German; I bought it in one of the central Moscow bookstores. Also, I tried to read some texts I downloaded on the Internet (some in German, some in Polish, some in Norwegian, maybe some other languages). The method seems very useful to me; or, at least, very interesting. Of course it can't teach you to speak and to understand speech, but these are the second step.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    I would tend to think that not caring too much for the meaning of what you read will result in poor understanding, and, henceforth, poor learning. But it may be useful in that you will meet many grammatical constructions which do not require thorough analysis. When your brain will have met 1000 times the preposition к each time followed by something in dative case, you will presumably recoil in horror at the thought of uttering, say, к чего. I can't see how you could get a grasp of more complex matters involving not only syntax, but also semantics, like the right usage of verbal aspect, prefixes, such-and-such preposition, word order, and so on. Also because many is lost in translation, relying on parallel texts you will miss lot of subtleties.

    I think a better way would be to study seriously for a few months, until you can read books by yourself, even if this feels very tedious at the beginning, eventually you will improve, and anyway you will learn much.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubr
    I would tend to think that not caring too much for the meaning of what you read will result in poor understanding, and, henceforth, poor learning.
    The main point of Frank's method is that you do care about the meaning of what you read, and at the same time, you see how it is exressed lexically and grammatically in the language. If you don't understand what you read, then the reading is not useful, but you do because you see the translation of every sentence part first, and later you re-read the excerpt without any comments and translations, so that you could get into the grammar better.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  5. #5
    Hanna
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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Thanks both! I have a lot of respect for Zubr's accomplishments in Russian, so any comment by you is definitely worth serious contemplation as far as I'm concerned. You are right, Zubr, that I need to study more before I really try to read a book. When it comes to langauges I am a very slow learner!

    Also, Olya's language skills are impressive - interesting to hear that you have tried this method. I am open to test anything, so I will have a go at this. Russian, for me, is much harder than other languages that I have studied. So I want to try lots of methods to see what works best for me...

    But I am getting organised for the spring right now - I won't be able to spend much time online after mid-January. So I want to have some material set aside...

    Here is a text from Franklang's Russian - Swedish section. It is really intended to be used by Russian people I think.

    So how "bad" is the Russian in this text?
    Is is just a word-for-word translation or quite decent?

    (It only makes sense to use their texts if the Russian is grammatically and linguastically correct. )



    I can't find any good parallell Swedish-Russian texts online, other than boring and specialised stuff.

    Ideally I'd like to find a good Russian contemporary novel in "parallell form. Ideally parallell with Swedish, else with English.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Here is a text from Franklang's Russian - Swedish section. It is really intended to be used by Russian people I think.

    So how "bad" is the Russian in this text?
    Is is just a word-for-word translation or quite decent?
    Of course it is perfect Russian in this text. Only I don't see Frank's method in this page.

    Here's a Norwegian-Russian example of the method:

    I de siste dager (в последние дни) har jeg tænkt og tænkt (я думал и думал = я все думаю и думаю) på Nordlandssommerens evige dag (о бесконечном: «вечном» дне северного лета: «лета на севере страны»; nord: север + land — страна + sommer — лето). Jeg sitter her (я сижу здесь) og tænker på den (и думаю о нем = о дне) og på en hytte som jeg bodde i (и о домике, в котором я жил) og på skogen bak hytten (и о лесе за домиком; hytte — загородный домик, дача) og jeg gir mig til å skrive noget ned (и я отдаюсь /данному занятию/ = принимаюсь записывать кое-что) for å forkorte tiden (чтобы скоротать время) og for min fornøielses skyld (и для собственного удовольствия; «моего удовольствия ради»; fornøielse — удовольствие).

    I de siste dager har jeg tænkt og tænkt på Nordlandssommerens evige dag. Jeg sitter her og tænker på den og på en hytte som jeg bodde i og på skogen bak hytten og jeg gir mig til å skrive noget ned for å forkorte tiden og for min fornøielses skyld.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    The Russian text here is 100% correct.

  8. #8
    Hanna
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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Right, thanks Waterlaz and Olya!
    I had misunderstood. Here is am example of a text from the website.

    Unfortunately the autor is using a single quote instead of an accent!

    24. Я не ход`ила в д`етский сад (I hadn't attended a kindergarten), потом`у что у мен`я был`а б`абушка, кот`орая заним`алась мной, пок`а род`ители б`ыли на раб`оте (as I had a grandmother who took care of me while my parents were at work). Когд`а я пришл`а в п`ервый класс и ув`идела так мн`ого дет`ей и мн`ого парт в кл`ассе (when I went to the first grade and saw so many children and so many desks in the classroom), мне ст`ало стр`ашно, что я не смог`у всегд`а сад`иться за сво`ю п`арту, б`уду п`утать и с`яду за чью-ниб`удь чуж`ую (I feared that I wouldn't always be able to find: «sit at» my desk and would mix it up with someone else's). По`этому я в`ыбрала втор`ую п`арту в кр`айнем ряд`у (that's why I chose the second desk in an outer row) и просид`ела за ней все три г`ода нач`альной шк`олы (and sat there all three years of the elementary school). Мо`им сос`едом по п`арте был м`альчик Рафа`эль (next to me at the same desk sat a boy named Raphael: «my desk neighbor was»), а на п`ервой п`арте сид`ели Нат`аша и `Юра (and at the first desk there were sitting Natasha and Yura). Мы все б`ыстро подруж`ились (we all quickly became friends) и ч`асто ход`или вм`есте дом`ой или игр`али в шк`ольном двор`е (and often went home together or played in the school yard).Ист`ории из мо`ей шк`ольной ж`изни
    ----
    Btw, has anybody read a good book that was written by a Russian author within the last 3 years? (Does not have to be a literary masterpiece, just something entertaining, interesting and contemporary.) Sorry that I don't know about this - it's just because I live in England which doesn't follow the cultural scene in Russia at all.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    Btw, has anybody read a good book that was written by a Russian author within the last 3 years? (Does not have to be a literary masterpiece, just something entertaining and interesting.) Sorry that I don't know about this - it's just because I live in England which doesn't follow the cultural scene in Russia at all.
    I'v read those lately, just as you asked: not a masterpieces, rather entertaining and written within the last 3 years :

    http://bookz.ru/authors/akunin-boris/kvest_659.html

    http://bookz.ru/authors/sergei-luk_a...otepa_083.html
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Я вот тоже прочитал пару отрывков (на французском) и надо признаться, что выше я был строг. Переводы переводами, но всё-таки это должно быть полезно, тем более, что в одной книге («посторонном» Камю) вместе с переводом есть толкования и объяснения об особенностях грамматики. Перевод кое-где буквален и неверен, но боюсь, что это необходимо.
    Надо прибавить, что они выбирали книги, написанные довольно несложным языком, а не то в переводе пропало бы слишком много, по-моему.

  11. #11
    Hanna
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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    I was just checking out the books that were recommended by Basil77. I remembered that I had actually heard about B. Akunin but forgotten it. So decided that I preferred the "Pelugia" series over the one that Basil recommended (Kvest).

    But when I was looking for the audio an e-book. I realised that the book has just been filmatised (in 2009) apparently! Somehow it ruins the pleasure of reading a book (I think) to know that it's been filmatised.

    Has anyone seen the series? According to the site I looked at:
    "Продолжительность: 8 серий по ~44 мин"
    I guess this must have been for TV.



    Anyway - in order to try something like the Frank method I need to find:

    1) An interesting title
    2) e-book in Russian
    3) e-book in Swedish or English
    4) Audio book in Russian...

    just looking for it right now....

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I was just checking out the books that were recommended by Basil77. I remembered that I had actually heard about B. Akunin but forgotten it. So decided that I preferred the "Pelugia" series over the one that Basil recommended (Kvest).
    I agree that "Pelugia" trilogy is definetely better than Akunin's last works, but it doesn't match one of your criterias: "written within the last 3 years ".
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Out of curiosity Johanna, why are you specifically looking for a contemporary novel? If you pick something more "classical" you should easily find translations and audio readings, even for not-so-old books (like soviet literature).

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Johanna, if you're just looking for a novell which uses modern Russian (that is not Dostoyevsky's language), try Strugatsky brothers.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Johanna, if you're just looking for a novell which uses modern Russian (that is not Dostoyevsky's language), try Strugatsky brothers.
    I agree. If you'll choose them I recommend "Понедельник начинается в субботу", it's one of my favorite books! Unfortunately it may be quite uneasy one for a beginner .
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    I'd say Strugatskys' language is too hard for those whose level is lower than advanced or at least intermediate.
    If you have problems with both posting new messages and sending PMs, you can send an e-mail to the Forum Administrator here:
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    У меня что-то с почтой, на ЛС ответить не могу. (

  17. #17
    Hanna
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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Zubr - I just thought that reading something newer would be a better way to learn more about Russia as it is today... (A lot of my knowledge about Russia is based on things that I learnt in the 1980s or 1990s - completely different from now... )

    When I saw Basil77s recommendation I got interested in Akunin - I don't know much about that era in Russia's history either - turn of the century.

    As for my experience of Russian/Soviet litterature -- it's almost exclusively from school were we read lots from Russia in very short time, for a subject called European Litterature. Some older classics and a few short stories... As for Soviet books, as I remember it, the ones I read were very intellectual / "heavy" novellas that were not easily digested.. For my langauge challenge I want something engaging and entertaining..

    But you know -- I think I just don't know enough about Russian litterature!

    Perhaps you can recommend something that is likely to fit the criteria?
    What have you enjoyed yourself? It needs to be interesting enough for me to keep struggling on through difficult grammar and vocabulary... I'd be really grateful for a tip.


    ===========

    Edit - oops I didn't see the other responses.

    Yeah, well my level is very basic and I am a slow learner... (anybody who has seen my grammar questions will know this... )

    However, I'd do this to TRY an new approach. I'll probably start over Christmas.

    I'll check the Strugatsky Brothers. Cheers Ollie for the tip!

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    http://www.amazon.com/Russian-Stories-D ... 527&sr=8-1

    certainly not within the last three years, but it's one of the very few (almost non-existant) books with En-Ru parallel texts.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    I read "The Little Prince/Le Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery this way. It was a nice experience. I actually think it was the first book I read in French. I also have "The Little Witch" by Preussler in German but I can't get round to reading it because my German is still very rudimentary... almost non-existent, as a matter of fact...

    I generally prefer 'normal' books, though. I'd rather do it 'old-school' -- looking up unfamiliar words in a dictionary, putting them down in a notebook and so on. But if there are books for studying Russian in this way, they may prove very useful because of the stress -- in 'normal' books it's not marked.

    As for contemporary Russian authors, I think books written as early as the beginning of the 20th century can be considered modern enough. Or at least those that were written from the 1950s onwards. Well, Оля will correct me, if I'm wrong, I'm no philologist, but their language seems quite contemporary.

    I actually don't read modern authors, I'm not yet done reading classics, but the one book I heard a lot about is "Bury me behind the skirting board" by Pavel Sanaev ("Похороните меня за плинтусом" Павел Санаев). A screen adaptation has just come out, but I haven't seen it yet. Here is an excerpt from the book -- http://ruskino.ru/pavel/povest.php. Apparently, it's an autobiographical novel describing the author's horrible childhood with his autoritarian grandmother. I suppose it's somewhat depressive and it might be a bit difficult.

    Therefore, I'd rather recommend reading some children's stuff, like short stories by Viktor Dragunsky or Nikolai Nosov -- they're fun, easy and short.
    http://www.lib.ru/PRIKL/DRAGUNSKIJ/denis.txt
    http://www.lib.ru/NOSOW/fantaz.txt
    Alice: One can't believe impossible things.
    The Queen: I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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    Re: Ilya Frank Method for Language Learning?

    Quote Originally Posted by starrysky
    Оля will correct me, if I'm wrong, I'm no philologist
    Guys..... I AM NOT EITHER!!
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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