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Thread: Sharing experiences and helping each other (spin off from another thread)

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Sharing experiences and helping each other (spin off from another thread)

    Unfortunately I have to interrupt this discussion and give an urgent English lesson to Ito-ogo. And submit a Russian exercise myself.

    I don't have this too
    (should be: either) I can't explain why, unfortunately.

    But I will try to give an example and translate it to Russian for practice. (correct me if I am wrong!)

    I have no red hat. (У меня нет красного шляпы.)
    I don't have a blue hat either. (У меня нет красного шляпы тоже.)


    I have a a blue hat! (У меня синяя шляпа!)
    I have a
    blue hat too! (У меня синяя шляпа тоже!)

    Aha, I think I realise why you made a mistake with this.

    I swear, this is harder to say in Russian than in English because of the complication with genitive etc. That is SOO complicated.
    Last edited by Hanna; September 20th, 2010 at 07:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Actually the too / either rule is very simple: you use "too" in positive sentences and "either" in negative ones.
    Спасибо за исправления!

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  3. #3
    Hanna
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    Swedish has the same system as English for this, and so does German I think, right? I remember school exercises about it, but it is not exactly complicated.So this one is trickier for Russians, I guess.

    I don't think I make any grammatical mistakes in English anymore (??.... hmm.... ) but if I am tired I sometimes lose track of when to put an -s at the end of a verb.

    I was in Germany last week actually, for work, and I was discouraged when I noticed that I still understand more German (which I never studied) than Russian.
    I refuse to give up with Russian though, but Lord knows it's hard work. I really respect people who have managed to reach fluency.

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    [I]Unfortunately I have to interrupt this discussion and give an urgent English lesson to Ito-ogo.
    Oh, no, Jo, no! I liked English so much for its simplicity but you gradually make of it second Russian.

    (correct me if I am wrong!)

    I have no red hat. (У меня нет красной шляпы. - feminine)
    I don't have a blue hat either. (У меня тоже нет красной шляпы.)


    I have a a blue hat! (У меня синяя шляпа!)
    I have a
    blue hat too! (У меня тоже синяя шляпа!)
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  5. #5
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Swedish has the same system as English for this, and so does German I think, right? I remember school exercises about it, but it is not exactly complicated.So this one is trickier for Russians, I guess.
    No, in German it's simply "ich auch", "ich auch nicht".

    I don't think I make any grammatical mistakes in English anymore (??.... hmm.... ) but if I am tired I sometimes lose track of when to put an -s at the end of a verb.
    Not to rain on your parade, but you do. But that's only to be expected. I do, too. Heck, even the native speakers do.

    I was in Germany last week actually, for work, and I was discouraged when I noticed that I still understand more German (which I never studied) than Russian.
    I refuse to give up with Russian though, but Lord knows it's hard work. I really respect people who have managed to reach fluency.
    Last week, a colleague of mine put through a phone call to me from a woman the language of whom she could not identify. It turned out to be Russian and the moment I found out I forgot all I know. I have been teaching myself Russian for almost two years, but my speaking practice still counts in minutes. I am embarrassed by what I said then and how I mangled it, but we did at least get to the point where I realized she wanted our fax number and I could give it to her in a way she obviously understood because we finally received that fax.

    I am not giving up either, I am trying to get better.
    Спасибо за исправления!

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  6. #6
    Hanna
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    Yeah, I agree; native English speakers are actually often worse at English grammar than non-native speakers. It's pretty shocking, really. I have no doubt that you speak better English than a fair number of native English speakers.

    I live in England as you know. (temporarily!)

    When I first moved here, I kept apologising about my English at work. But then my boss said: Stop that for goodness sake, your English is better than mine! Others said similar things.

    And the insane thing is that he might well have been right. Some of the emails he wrote had bad punctuation, spelling mistakes etc. Same thing with people in my team; many of them make several mistakes in just one email. When all this became clear to me, I totally stopped caring about improving my English.

    The other thing for people to be aware of: English people are practically disappointed if someone comes from continental Europe and doesn't have a noticable accent! It took quite a while until I realised this. Earlier I had thought that I had to get rid of all traces of accent, and I worked quite hard on it, very nearly succeeding. But there is no real benefit to it in England. The only benefit that I can see is not always having to answer the question "where do you come from?".

    A friend of mine (Swedish) has worked in Germany for quite a long time. She told me that the situation there is not the same as in England. It's not OK to make grammatical or spelling mistakes at her level (She is a mid level manager in IT, same as me). People often correct her. Same thing in Sweden and probably in Russia, I suspect. I have no idea why the UK is different in this respect, but it is. Nobody cares if people make language mistakes, particularly if they are foreigners.

    But being "rude" according to English standards is a different story..! That is completely unforgivable... And according to the English almost all other nationalities in Europe are "rude"..... In particular the French (in general) and the Germans because they are too straight-to-the-point...
    And unfortunately school books in English doesn't tell people how to be "polite" according to English standards. I could rant on about this for a very long time!!!
    LOL

  7. #7
    Hanna
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    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    Oh, no, Jo, no! I liked English so much for its simplicity but you gradually make of it second Russian.
    Thanks for the corrections!
    This is crazy though! I have studied Russian now, for almost 1.5 years, and I cannot even seem to say sentence like "I do not have a red hat" correctly!!!

    Honestly, I am not sure if I have taken water over my head with this "project"!!

    But the more I learn about Russia and the CIS countries, culture etc... the more I want to learn Russian.

    Initially it was just a hobby project for business/tourism reasons... and because it annoyed me that I had failed it in school....

    However, now I feel rather passionate about this!! I *really* want to learn to speak Russian!
    Stopping now would be pathetic. The skills that I have now, I could probably use for tourism but I couldn't have any sort of serious conversation, and it would be useless for business.

    If languages were games, Russian would be chess and English would be.... three-in-a-row

    That said; I agree with you, it-ogo that English has some challenges. Unexpected speech patterns and expressions are the worst. I think.

    The way to get over it is to start reading almost only in English..
    Basically immerse yourself in English. Anything you'd normally read/watch/listen to in Russian, do it in English instead.

    I think that's how some people who speak perfect English without living in an English speaking country have done it. Like bitpicker and translationsnmru

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Yeah, I agree; native English speakers are actually often worse at English grammar than non-native speakers. It's pretty shocking, really. I have no doubt that you speak better English than a fair number of native English speakers.
    it's because it is hardly ever taught as a subject any longer! They mainly care if you can read. Grammar and spelling are no longer taught. It is read, read, read.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    The other thing for people to be aware of: English people are practically disappointed if someone comes from continental Europe and doesn't have a noticable accent! It took quite a while until I realised this. Earlier I had thought that I had to get rid of all traces of my accent, and I worked quite hard on it, very nearly succeeding (would have used succeeded). But there is no real benefit to it in England. The only benefit that I can see is not always having to answer the question "where do you come from?".


    And unfortunately school books in English doesn't don't tell people how to be "polite" according to English standards. I could rant on about this for a very long time!!!
    LOL
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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  9. #9
    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    I disagree: no native speaker needs grammar lessons in school to learn the language. Children should know how to speak their native language correctly long before they get their first grammar lessons. Grammar lessons in school show you how the language works internally and give you the words to talk about it, but at that point the child should already speak the language perfectly. The problem is that parents fail to understand that they need to correct the child when it says something incorrectly. Children acquire the grammar of their native language instinctively. School lessons can teach orthography and writing style, they may increase the vocabulary (as reading does), but the internal rules of the language need to be understood instinctively at a much earlier age - mostly even before the child even enters school.

    My Russian once got corrected by a two-year-old who even lives in Germany and therefore learns both Russian and German natively, and you can observe how she develops the structure of Russian for herself, for example by making far too many verbs reflexive, and she then learns how it works when her mother corrects her. I expect she'll be fluent by four or five, probably in both languages.

    My sons spoke perfect German before they even entered kindergarten. Speak sensibly with children, drop "child-speak", correct their mistakes and they will learn all they need to know.
    Спасибо за исправления!

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  10. #10
    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna
    The way to get over it is to start reading almost only in English..
    Basically immerse yourself in English. Anything you'd normally read/watch/listen to in Russian, do it in English instead.

    I think that's how some people who speak perfect English without living in an English speaking country have done it. Like bitpicker and translationsnmru
    Я пытаюсь читать и слушать все на английском, но говорить и писать так и не смог научится. Например, всю эту ветку я прочитал подглядев в Lingvo лишь пару раз, но, черт возьми, я даже не могу тебе нормально ответить на английском. Так что я не думаю, что чтение/просмотр/прослушивание как-то способствует развитию разговорного/письменного английского.

    Вот еще интересное наблюдение: я уже давно пытаюсь на слух воспринимать песни и записывать их в блокнот. Потом я скачиваю текст с интернета и сравниваю, насколько правильно мне удалось распознать слова. И тут такая странная штука. Я на 90% понимаю только Эврил Лавин (Avril Lavigne). У нее что, какой-то акцент особенный? Вот для кого английский родной, скажите мне, у кого более правильное произношение: у нее или скажем у Тарьи Турунен (Tarja Turunen, ex-Nightwish), если никогда не слышали Тарью, то вот еще примеры: Сандра Насич (Sandra Nasic, Guano Apes), Кристина Скаббия (Cristina Scabbia, Lacuna Coil), Эми Ли (Amy Lee, Evanescence), Шерон ден Адель (Sharon den Adel, Within Temptation) ну в общем-то продолжать можно долго.

    Эх... Попытаюсь написать все то же самое, только по-английски. С упрощениями, конечно же.

    I try to read and listen all in English, but I still can not speak and write. For example, I have read all this thread with slightly help of Lingvo, just one or two times, but, heck, I even can't answer to you in normal English. Therefore I don't think that reading/watching/listening are improving my speaking/writing skills.

    One more intresting thing: I try to listen various songs and write down recognized words in my notepad. After that I search lyrics in the Internet and compare my text with the original text. There is one mysterious thing. I can understand up to 90% Avril Lavigne's pronounciation only. Does she have any accent? Native English speakers, I would like to ask you, who have more correct/clear pronounciation: Avril or, for example, Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish). If you never heard Tarja I have many another examples: Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Amy Lee (Evanescence), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) and so on.

    Ну вот, ровно пол-часа позора и меня, возможно, кто-нибудь поймет.
    P.S. что-то я ни одного артикля не использовал, сейчас куда-нибудь вставлю.
    English as a Second Language by Jeff McQuillan and Lucy Tse.

  11. #11
    Hanna
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    @delog
    I once had the same problem as you with English, when I was a teenager, still in school. Even though I knew English and had used it briefly on holidays I did not want to speak English with native speakers (there were many at my school). I avoided them. I felt embarrassed because I thought that my pronounciation was bad and that I was making grammatical mistakes.

    Then, my father moved to Singapore. I went there for a few school holidays. The main language spoken there is a kind of "street English", called "Singlish". Somehow it was not emparassing to speak English with the Singaporeans. After I had started speaking with people I realised that it was not so bad. I realised that I was able to say anything I wanted and that a few mistakes didn't matter. After that I felt ok to speak English with native English speakers.

    Perhaps the trouble for you is that you have no opportunity to practice with native English speakers. I don't know how to solve that. Does anyone have ideas on how to get training for those who rarely meet native English speakers?

    Personally I think it's unfair that the language of one particular country (countries) should be the "world language" and everyone else should have to make the effort to learn that language.

    I would prefer if the world language was a neutral language instead; something that was everyones and no-ones at the same time, and easier to learn than English. Esperanto for example. I know it's never going to happen, but I think it's a nice idea. And the dominance of one language also means that its' culture, values and politics of the English speaking countries get spread. Everyone knows what's going on in the USA; but people know a lot less about many other large countries. People across the world watch channels like CNN which presents a US/Anglo world view.

    About my own English now..... Well, it's definitely good enough for my needs: I write reports, proposals and business letters, hold presentations and chair meetings. I have other problems in my career but my English is not one of them.

    If I ever wanted to write a book or write poetry, I wouldn't do it in English though. I would write it in Swedish.

    I would really want to be able to speak Russian (and also German) but I do not think I could reach a standard that was good enough for business.... within the next 10 years, if ever!

  12. #12
    Почтенный гражданин Misha Tal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Personally I think it's unfair that the language of one particular country (countries) should be the "world language" and everyone else should have to make the effort to learn that language... And the dominance of one language also means that its' culture, values and politics of the English speaking countries get spread.
    I agree on the cultural point, but when you think about it, it's difficult to make up a language with an easier grammar than the English grammar. I don't have a clue about Esperanto, but I think the English language is adequately straightforward. At least for me, English is five times easier than Russian.

    When I had just started studying Russian (roughly two years ago), the grammar looked really mind-boggling. Practically every general rule has an exception, and there are also exceptions to the exceptions. Very few people might be able to get around to all these grammatical twists and turns. Imagine what it would be like if Russian was the world language. Frankly, I would prefer to stick to my chessboard.

    But to my surprise, I'm finally starting to feel more familiar with the language. After two years of struggling with the case system, it now looks so comforting that I can almost forget about word order! It's even an advantage over English.

    Another feature that makes Russian more easily "speakable" is that there's a whole lot of filler words, suffixes, etc. How would you make the difference between "Вот, вас-то я действительно живой не думал видеть" and "Вот, вас я действительно живой не думал видеть" in English? It's not even a difference. It's a slight deviation. I suppose the only way to make it felt in English is tone of voice.

    For me, HUGE trouble is the Russian verb system. It has it's merits, but it's heart-breakingly complicated. I guess once I get the verbs down, I'll be good to go.

    Generally in my opinion, it's a good thing that the Russian grammar is so complex. Makes the entire language more expressive. But as people call it in quantum physics, there's a giant potential barrier at the beginning. One needs tremendous motivation to get passed it, and then, hopefully, comes the downslope.
    "If in the end, Misha, you are destined to lose this game, there is no need for the reason to be cowardice!"

  13. #13
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by delog View Post
    who have more correct/clear pronounciation: Avril or, for example, Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish). If you never heard Tarja I have many another examples: Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil), Amy Lee (Evanescence), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation) and so on.
    the only one of these I know of is Amy Lee and she pronounces very well on the album Fallen. These are pop/rock "artists" so the pronunciation can vary from good to unintelligible. Get country or folk if you want to hear words sung clearly.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  14. #14
    Почтенный гражданин delog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sperk View Post
    the only one of these I know of is Amy Lee and she pronounces very well on the album Fallen. These are pop/rock "artists" so the pronunciation can vary from good to unintelligible. Get country or folk if you want to hear words sung clearly.
    Well, now I have listened Amy's Fallen very intently. Her speech is quite (but not perfect) intelligible when she drawl like in "Bring Me to Life" this part (approximate start 2:15) "frozen inside, without your touch without your love darling, only you are the life among the dead" - this is easy to understand, but when she sings at normal speech rate I must be all ears to recognize something.

    I found some more singrers that I can understand without particular effort. These are Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) and Celine Dion. Do you notice something? Avril, Chad, Celine... They are all Canadians!!! It seems that Canadian English is more understandable for Russian speakers.
    English as a Second Language by Jeff McQuillan and Lucy Tse.

  15. #15
    Увлечённый спикер
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    I would really want to be able to speak Russian (and also German) but I do not think I could reach a standard that was good enough for business.... within the next 10 years, if ever!
    With great interest I watch to this thread ) In my opinion, you have all of you need, isn't it true? You will enough 2 weeks to speak russian more fluently, then any other )
    In our culture and spirit there are many mysterious things, so amazing. For our business-men and business-women your wish to listen them is more important then your language skill (I guess, it's right not for russians only).

  16. #16
    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barsuk View Post
    with great interest I watch to this thread ) in my opinion, all you have is all of you need, isn't it true? you will enough 2 weeks to speak russian more fluently, then any other )
    in our culture and spirit there are many mysterious things, so amazing ) our literature is nothing in comparison whith our tales (or fairytales -- my English is not enough to correctly image my mind For our business-men and business-women your wish to listen them is more important then your language skill (i guess, it's right not for russians only, yeh
    Welcome here Barsuk!

    Could you please write your posts also in Russian? Sorry, but I for example can not understand what you were trying to say.

  17. #17
    Увлечённый спикер
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampada View Post
    Welcome here Barsuk!
    Could you please write your posts also in Russian? Sorry, but I for example can not understand what you were trying to say.
    Извините вы меня. Пожалуй, это было ошибкой с моей стороны -- пытаться излагать мысли на таком уровне владения языком )))
    Итак,
    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    @delog
    I would really want to be able to speak Russian (and also German) but I do not think I could reach a standard that was good enough for business.... within the next 10 years, if ever!
    Я с большим интересом просмотрел всю эту ветку. Мне кажется, что у вас, Hanna, есть всё, что вам необходимо, не правда ли? Вам достаточно будет пары недель, чтобы говорить по-русски быстрее многих других. В наших культуре и душе столько загадочных черт, таких удивительных. Для наших бизнесменов и бизнес-леди ваше желание выслушать их -- гораздо важнее, чем ваш языковой опыт (хотя, я полагаю, это справедливо не только для русских ).
    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
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