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Thread: A question for those Russian Experts at the University Level

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    A question for those Russian Experts at the University Level

    I'm enrolling in grad school in the fall, and I'm going to take one (or both, possibly) of these courses below. The only problem is I'm not a language/linguistics major, and my sucky college Russian courses were just "beginner, intermediate, advanced" as opposed to breaking it down into specialized courses -- so I really don't know what the difference is with these. Can someone explain it a bit more clearly, and let me know what they think would be the more beneficial of the courses? They both sound hideously boring, but I could use the exposure and practice, I know. It sounds like grammar is more applicable to daily situations, and structure is more theoretically involved?
    They are:

    Advanced Russian Grammar
    A comprehensive review of Russian grammar on an advanced level, emphasizing reading and writing skills.

    and

    THE STRUCTURE OF MODERN RUSSIAN
    Synchronic analysis of Contemporary Standard Russian phonology, morphology, and morphophonemics.
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

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    I started the beginners Russian course.

    The first course is basically a more normal Russian course. E.g. reading and writing, bettering your ability to use and understand the language.

    The second is more about the intricate workings. Phonology is interesting.


    Personally I'd prefer the second. If you are worried about your level, I'm sure the college will be able to offer a diagnostic test.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TATY
    I started the beginners Russian course.

    The first course is basically a more normal Russian course. E.g. reading and writing, bettering your ability to use and understand the language.

    The second is more about the intricate workings. Phonology is interesting.


    Personally I'd prefer the second. If you are worried about your level, I'm sure the college will be able to offer a diagnostic test.
    I know my level roughly -- somewhere between "sucks" and "really sucks" (actually something like intermediate high). But back to the point at hand. Based on what you're saying, it seems like the Structure course is more of theoretical study -- something a bit more abstract than a conventional language course. In other words, I probably wouldn't get as much out of it in terms of applicable material to my daily use of the language? Or do you think I'm totally off base there? (It also seemed like it was a lower level course, since it required only a very basic -- first year -- background in the language).

    Let me pose this question a bit differently. If my primary intended use of the language is for research/reading, then which course do you think woudl better serve me?
    Заранее благодарю всех за исправление ошибок в моём русском.

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    If I were to decide which of these two courses to take, I'd most likely go for the first one. It seems to have much more to do with what you really need. It looks like the second course is intended for someone who wants to become a language specialist. It's really not so important to learn phonology, morphology, and morphophonemics if your prime goal is to attain fluency in Russian. What is your level now? I'm asking because if it turns out to be advanced already you will probably find the first course, as you said, hideously boring and you won't have gained anything new after finishing it. But it may be a good way of keeping up your Russian. For example, quite a lot of attention will be turned to developing and improving your communication skills, so you'll have to speak a lot. If you speak a lot in a foreign language, it's hard for you to forget it. I think that Advanced Level is something that can both keep up and improve your Russian.
    If you're already Advanced (something like Upper Advanced) and want to study something new, you could apply for the second course. But beware that you might have too much useless info. I mean that you'll learn too much about the structure of the language but you won't be taught how it works and how to use it.
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    Re: A question for those Russian Experts at the University L

    Quote Originally Posted by Barmaley
    It sounds like grammar is more applicable to daily situations, and structure is more theoretically involved? .
    Exactly

    Take the first one.

    A couple of years ago I attended university courses on the subject that sounded just like your second option. I can still recollect these horrible, tedious lectures devoted to morphology, phonology, and other herology sort of things, when I was hopelessly trying to overcome sleepiness

    I came to realise some curious facts about my native language that you guys have to study before using (like sometimes before declining a noun you should think whether it is animated or not) and also learnt an original system of transcribing words and something about the sounds but other more complicated facts eluded my brain.

    What I mean is it's kind of metaphysics that can be really hard to catch even when you're a native speaker and know what it all must be about.

    And grammar itself is so innofensive, so perfectly nice. I really enjoy it studying grammars of different languages.
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    It depends on what Barmy is interested in and what he wants to get out of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barmaley

    Let me pose this question a bit differently. If my primary intended use of the language is for research/reading, then which course do you think woudl better serve me?
    What kind of research are you going to carry out? If you intend to use Russian for reading, you'll probably need to know the structure of the language. It's good when you know how words are derived and collocate. You can get all this if you take the second course. To read well it's necessary that you have a wide vocabulary and profound knowledge of grammar. As you can see, both courses provide you with what you want. But you need to read a lot regardless of which course you'll take if you want to be able to read well in the future.
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    Re: A question for those Russian Experts at the University L

    Quote Originally Posted by Barmaley
    I'm enrolling in grad school in the fall, and I'm going to take one (or both, possibly) of these courses below. The only problem is I'm not a language/linguistics major, and my sucky college Russian courses were just "beginner, intermediate, advanced" as opposed to breaking it down into specialized courses -- so I really don't know what the difference is with these. Can someone explain it a bit more clearly, and let me know what they think would be the more beneficial of the courses? They both sound hideously boring, but I could use the exposure and practice, I know. It sounds like grammar is more applicable to daily situations, and structure is more theoretically involved?
    They are:

    Advanced Russian Grammar
    A comprehensive review of Russian grammar on an advanced level, emphasizing reading and writing skills.

    and

    THE STRUCTURE OF MODERN RUSSIAN
    Synchronic analysis of Contemporary Standard Russian phonology, morphology, and morphophonemics.
    For you, it goes without saying, it is better to take ARG thing. You're just a person who wants to get toughened in Russian. I don't now neither your language skills level nor your ability to follow the destiny's path of linguistics, and in accordance to this I would recommend you to start with the grammar. In future, it will be clear what is of interest to you, and who knows, maybe it is something like phonology or something else. Personally, I think morphology can be easier and more interesting for non-specialists.
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    I have been attending an English descriptive grammar classes, which is pretty much about morphology, phonetics and phonology. If the Russian classes are going to be anything like that, I can tell you, from my experience, you might find it incredibly boring. I mean, it does have some interesting aspects, but most of the time it's studying about useless things, that you in no way are ever going to use in practice. At least that's how I, and 98% of my peeps, feel about it. I already shiver at the thought of me having to take Russian descriptive grammar in two years time.

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