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Thread: (Another) Beginner (asking for advice...)

  1. #1
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    (Another) Beginner (asking for advice...)

    Hello, I'm very new to this all (both the forum and in learning Russian). And learning Russian was a very sudden thing, but now I am really liking it (though I only have a very basic knowledge of the alphabet).

    I have searched around the forum to see if my questions could have been answered in another topic, but I wasn't very satisfied with the answers, so hoping my questions will be better answered (for me at least) now. ^^

    So my main question is, as a beginner, what should I start by doing? I have several materials now that I can use, so if anyone knows these and knows a good way to use them and complement them, I'll apreciate any advice:

    An older version of Russian for Beginners by Charles Duff (Textbook)
    The Russian Pimsleur program (though I haven't exactly enjoyed this same program in my study of Japanese, so hoping this one will not disappoint me)
    And a Russian Grammar

    So what I have heard is the normal thing to be done is follow the textbook and review things I don't quite understand on the grammar, while using the audio course for listening and speaking abilities. Is this good?

    Oh, and also note I don't have access to a class. There seems to be only one in my area, though I'm not quite sure it's still going on this year, but it's very expensive anyway and almost impossible for me to take it.

    So yes, I'm a self-learner. In both Japanese and Russian.

    I find my motivation falling drastically at times, so I thought that taking another language would also do me good in that area, as if I get frustrated at times with my study of one of them I can find motivation in studying for the other.

    I talk too much.

    I appreciate *any* advice.

    спасибо!

  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин Winifred's Avatar
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    I may not be the best person to answer this, I've been learning Russian V-e-r-y slowly for years. Pimsleur is good for driving around and listening to the language. Rosetta Stone is fun, and teaches you words like "elephant" right away.

    I suggest using the Pimsleur tapes, and working through a good grammar book. If you try yours and do not like it, look through the thread on textbooks elsewhere in this forum. Then stick to it every day, even if just a bit.

    And read this forum, with a dictionary beside you, even if you don't feel like making everyone correct your mistakes all the time. I recommend also the book: 501 Russian Verbs. It simplifies finding verb forms that are hard to find in dictionaries.

    Good luck, and see you around this forum, hopefully.
    Correct my Russian, please! Пожалуйста, исправьте мои ошибки!

    Помогите мирy oдним щелчком ! Help the world with one click!
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  3. #3
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    The only thing I like about the Duff textbook is that it is a convenient size and is easily available. It's really a pretty bad textbook. But it's better than nothing at all.

    I started with the same materials, plus a wife who had two years of Russian in college. I would encourage you to listen to the Pimsleur stuff a lot to get started. Putting that together with the textbook will help get you started.

    Another thing you can do is a language exchange. There are several sites (including this one) where people look for cross-language pals. Offer to help someone with their English. Try to learn just a few words or expressions in Russian each time you interact with them. Learning just a few words at a time is really the best you can do.

    Keep chipping away at the grammar. You will learn the grammar when you really use it yourself, not from studying the rule in the book. Just try to find a few things you would like to to saying in Russian and ask someone to help you say them the right way. Then you can check your grammar book to see which sorts of grammar things were involved.

    The book I've been referring to the most has been Langensheidt's Pocket Russian Dictionary. It has very good and well organized grammar tables in the back.

    Case endings are one of the trickiest things for me (and perhaps will be for you). I recommend taking them one at a time and really learning them. Don't try to learn them all at once. It helps a bit if you've ever learned another language with case endings.

    English speakers learning Russian can be a good resource as well, since they have dealt with the same situations you will be dealing with.

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    Oh wow... maybe I should just find another textbook then. I do have one that is free online, but unfortunatly not complete. It seems easy going at the start so maybe I'll go through it before starting another book.

    I'm not English, so maybe I shouldn't try a language exchange with my English abilities, but I'd be happy to help anyone with Portuguese.

    I can't recall hearing about case endings. But since I don't know much of the terms used in English for grammar parts, maybe I have heard of it and can't recognize it through that name.

    Thank you for your answers.

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    Почтенный гражданин Winifred's Avatar
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    Hmmm, believe it or not, there is someone in my class who knows Russian quite well and is learning Portuguese. I'll see if I can get him on this forum and point him in your direction!
    Correct my Russian, please! Пожалуйста, исправьте мои ошибки!

    Помогите мирy oдним щелчком ! Help the world with one click!
    http://www.thehungersite.com/clickTo...s_home_sitenav

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winifred
    Hmmm, believe it or not, there is someone in my class who knows Russian quite well and is learning Portuguese. I'll see if I can get him on this forum and point him in your direction!
    спасибо!

  7. #7
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    Buy the "New Penguin Russian Course" for beginners.
    Ingenting kan stoppa mig
    In Post-Soviet Russia internet porn downloads YOU!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TATY
    Buy the "New Penguin Russian Course" for beginners.
    I have heard very good reviews on the book, but to be honest I'm trying to avoid buying it.

    I'm a fanatic for books and I tend to buy lots of book on the language I'm studying and then not use them at all. So since I already have one book now, I'm going to stick to it, unless I realize I don't like it.

    Also, the reviews I read on Amazon for that book say it's for serious students, and even though I am always serious about the language I study, I don't exactly want to major in Russian. I simply want to achieve a nice level of fluency on it at my own pace. Not feel obligated to study it. I have plenty of time until Russian will become a necessity for me.

    That's the idea I have on the book. If it's wrong, please correct me.

  9. #9
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    The Penguin book is the best introductory textbook I've seen. Mr Brown's explanations are clear and easy to understand. In some parts of the book he separates materials for more advanced learners into a little box or something, so you can ignore it the first or second time you read it.

    Really, any textbook is only worth as much as you are willing to use it. It's good to have a book with lots of exercises in it and just work on them. It's hard to learn the grammar or vocabulary just by looking at the book--you have to find some way to use it. That's the nice thing about the Pimsleur tapes--they are interactive and make you use every word they teach you.

  10. #10
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    Not all books are equal.

    I aquired a lot of Russian textbooks in the first year or so that I was learning Russian, because I am lazy, and buying books made me feel like I was doing something when I was actually doing nothing.

    Anyhoo, the Penguin book is streets ahead of anything else I've seen. The explanations are better, the pacing is better, the choice of example vocabularly is better, and it is just more 'complete' in terms of grammar - unlike other beginner texts, you will find yourself going back to it to check points of grammar long after you have progressed beyond beginner level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotcher
    I aquired a lot of Russian textbooks in the first year or so that I was learning Russian, because I am lazy, and buying books made me feel like I was doing something when I was actually doing nothing.
    This sounds exactly like me.

    I will see if I can order the book. Unfortunately, I can't order online through international companies... Like amazon and so. But I can ask a Portuguese company to try and acquire the book and then I can order it easily from then.

    It doesn't seem expensive and if it's that good it must be easily found. Maybe they can get it for me.

    Thanks.

  12. #12
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    this is what i did, but motivation is always the key- in anything! 6 years down the line i still take time every day to read and review words (being in moscow makes that easy tho).
    so you should have these things:

    a good dictionary
    a phrase book
    a grammar-intensive and, usually, boring book (penguin is excellent)
    a light, non-in depth book (ie russian in 3 months)
    and maybe a 3rd inbetweener, i used ty russian w. tapes
    a exercise work book if you can get one.
    maybe a verb reference book as its always nice to check!

    the rest is up to you, by having 3 books, knowledge is consolidated and by the time you reach the gen plural in the 3rd book, it should have been bashed into your head already

    listen to the radio, print and translate the lyrics to songs you like
    find a strat. for learning words that works for YOU! i used to make flash cards and word lists, now i make word lists (i probably have about 70 pages worth with me now!) make a system to review them. they say it takes about 30 days for something to become a habit, sit down, listen to russian radio and review the lists/chosen method.

    when you start getting more comfortable, start printing articles/something interesting and begin translating and keeping track of new words.

    that, i guess, would be my advice. i used to sit down, listen to the radio, work thru the book units/tapes then translate the new words.

    good luck!
    Не откладывай на завтра того, с кем можешь переспать сегодня
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    Wow! Thanks very much! That is great advice.

    I will certainly look into it throughly.

    I always thought that maybe having more than just one textbook was good, because if one didn't explain something in a way it was understandable, the other one would probably do the job of clearing it. Guess this does happen to some people.

    Thanks again!

  14. #14
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    Just today I found a book I have been looking for for a while: Barry Farber's How to Learn Any Language.

    Mr. Farber's method is very much like what Lt Columbo mentioned above. He recommends starting on a boring textbook (the Duff/Makaroff is fine for this) and reading and trying to learn the first five chapters well.

    Then get a phrase book and use it both to learn useful phrases AND to try to pronounce things correctly. Most phrase books have a decent pronunciation guide in them.

    Then, when you are ready to move on to chapter 6 in your grammar book, get a Russian newspaper or magazine. Start with the first paragraph of the first article. Highlight every word you don't know. Look them up in your dictionary and write them down. If you can't find them in the dictionary, keep them in a question file to ask someone when you get a chance. Since you are on this forum you can just ask about them here.

    Take some time to try to learn those words. Work on chapter 6 of your book and keep looking at your phrasebook. Then go on to the second paragraph of your article. Same procedure: highlight all the words you don't know. It should be a lot less than the first paragraph since there should be some of the same words. Don't get distracted by some other article that looks more interesting to you, just keep working through the same one.

    Just keep doing this, make or buy flashcards to study while you are riding on a bus or waiting for an elevator or whenever you have a minute. Doing those things plus trying to communicate in Russian when you can is all you need to do. Grammar rules then become wonderful because they help explain some of those things that are confusing in your reading.

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    Oh, that sounds great! Thank you!

    Now I have some use for my boring book. :P

    In my library I only found a book on Russian. It's a novel by Tatyana Polyakova, entitled "Barishnya i huligan". Suppose I could use that instead of a magazine.

    And from my Japanese study I do have some papers to do flashcards. =P Also, I'll be going to college by bus for at least a month. Should be at least a 20 minute trip. So it works well.

    Thank you again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TATY
    Buy the "New Penguin Russian Course" for beginners.
    Thanks to Lampada directing me to this thread I have just ordered this book via Amazon.



    сэи, if you have any problems getting this book I will be happy to post a copy to you from the UK. Feel free to PM me if you wish too.
    More madness than method but it works for me.

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    Thanks, that's really nice of you.

    I haven't tried ordering it yet. I'll try and follow what paulb said, meaning, using my current book. ^^ If I see it really isn't working out and I need something else, I'll try ordering that book.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by сэи
    Thanks, that's really nice of you.

    I haven't tried ordering it yet. I'll try and follow what paulb said, meaning, using my current book. ^^ If I see it really isn't working out and I need something else, I'll try ordering that book.
    Well mines on it's way to me now so if you want to ask anything about it feel free. Good luck.
    More madness than method but it works for me.

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