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Thread: How Did You Begin Learning?

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    Новичок CrimsonRaptor's Avatar
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    How Did You Begin Learning?

    Good day!

    As a complete novice to the language, I am interested in finding out what techniques, strategies and approaches now-intermediate and advanced students of Russian used when they first began learning. In other words, when you first began studying the language, what methods did you use? How did you motivate yourself? What did or did not work for you?

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    Властелин iCake's Avatar
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    Don't know if learners of other languages are allowed to comment here But since you're clearly asking people who've had experience with learning a language, I'll dare share what it's been like for me.

    I dabbled in grammar first to get some grasp what the language is all about. When I was somewhat good at it, I moved on to expanding my vocabulary. I did it, well, still am doing by reading some adapted texts at first, then started to take on more complex writing. When I got to the point where I could understand about 70% of pretty much anything I managed to put my hands on I decided to concentrate on listening comrehension. Mind you that I'm not talking about overcomplicated stuff like scientific articles or whatnot, just simple reads any native speaker would comprehend. Anyway, listening comprehension was mostly trained through watching movies, TV shows, youtube videos, podcats etc. Whatever I did I always stuck to one simple rule though, no captions or subtitles, even if I couldn't understand anything at all. In fact, at the beginning I couldn't make out much, usually not even a single word. But it all started to clear up rather quickly and now I rarely have any problems hearing what's being said, even if it's a completely new word for me. I'm more than sure it's a direct result of refusing to resort to subtitles.

    The things I also stuck to were these:

    - practice your language everyday, even if it's as short as 15 minutes. 15 minutes a day will do more good than a whole, but a single day of studing per week.
    - when the mood to say "to hell with all this" struck me, I just told myself that I'd accomplished far too much to slam on the brakes now. Gotta appreciate my time and effort.
    - using a monolingual dictionary. Nothing helps learn a language more than it does.
    - if you don't like what you're doing, find something else to do. You have to enjoy it to actually learn something, otherwise you'll get bored and will not remember anything useful.
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    Новичок johngalt's Avatar
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    I started out using Pimsleur, then found rosetta stone. Then after reading some posts here, I discovered that some experienced speakers feel rosetta has too many limitations.

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    I started on the internet with learning Cyrillic and then branching off from there. Essentially, a crap-ton of google searches and practicing on my own in the car, at home, whathaveyou.
    xXHoax likes this.
    Я просто пытаюсь учить русский язык.

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    Новичок CrimsonRaptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johngalt View Post
    I started out using Pimsleur, then found rosetta stone. Then after reading some posts here, I discovered that some experienced speakers feel rosetta has too many limitations.
    I see. Thank you for your feedback!
    I have heard of users of Pimsleur, and, based upon such information, I believe the <i>Pimsleur</i> series is particularly good for learning pronunciation and articulation. (Mostly due, of course, to the audio CDs.)

    Quote Originally Posted by iCake View Post
    Don't know if learners of other languages are allowed to comment here But since you're clearly asking people who've had experience with learning a language, I'll dare share what it's been like for me.

    I dabbled in grammar first to get some grasp what the language is all about. When I was somewhat good at it, I moved on to expanding my vocabulary. I did it, well, still am doing by reading some adapted texts at first, then started to take on more complex writing. When I got to the point where I could understand about 70% of pretty much anything I managed to put my hands on I decided to concentrate on listening comrehension. Mind you that I'm not talking about overcomplicated stuff like scientific articles or whatnot, just simple reads any native speaker would comprehend. Anyway, listening comprehension was mostly trained through watching movies, TV shows, youtube videos, podcats etc. Whatever I did I always stuck to one simple rule though, no captions or subtitles, even if I couldn't understand anything at all. In fact, at the beginning I couldn't make out much, usually not even a single word. But it all started to clear up rather quickly and now I rarely have any problems hearing what's being said, even if it's a completely new word for me. I'm more than sure it's a direct result of refusing to resort to subtitles.

    The things I also stuck to were these:

    - practice your language everyday, even if it's as short as 15 minutes. 15 minutes a day will do more good than a whole, but a single day of studing per week.
    - when the mood to say "to hell with all this" struck me, I just told myself that I'd accomplished far too much to slam on the brakes now. Gotta appreciate my time and effort.
    - using a monolingual dictionary. Nothing helps learn a language more than it does.
    - if you don't like what you're doing, find something else to do. You have to enjoy it to actually learn something, otherwise you'll get bored and will not remember anything useful.
    Thank you very much for the excellently detailed reply! Though there is no universal strategy to learn every single language in the same manner (for example, Mandarin and Spanish would be learned in moderately different ways), the principles and patterns are still mostly similar. So your general pattern went: Grammar -> Vocabulary -> Reading Comprehension -> Listening Comprehension? At what point did you begin to speak the language aloud, if I may ask?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedFox View Post
    Hm, a most interesting site, indeed! I shall bookmark it. Thank you for sharing!

    Quote Originally Posted by alexei90 View Post
    I started on the internet with learning Cyrillic and then branching off from there. Essentially, a crap-ton of google searches and practicing on my own in the car, at home, whathaveyou.
    The Internet is a wonderful reserve of free knowledge, isn't it? Haha! Yet it seems to have worked! Why fork out hundreds of dollars for a complete textbook when much of the material is available for free on the web?

    ----

    I do have another question for those willing to answer:
    How long did it take you (from beginning to learn Russian seriously) to reach intermediate and/or advanced levels of fluency? (Of course, "intermediate" and "advanced" are very subjective terms, so, if you cannot draw such a distinction, then simply: how long did it take you to be able to speak and write the Russian language well?)

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    I enrolled in a secondary school Russian class where my classmates were Grade 9 to 12 plus two of us adults. The teacher taught me first how to write longhand and memorize names and numbers. I was bored not only because of the school curriculum which infused memorization but also because the teacher speaks in Russian. I had a good time watching videos of Russian history, World War 2, the October Revolution and the like. After a few weeks, I dropped out and went all alone by myself. I really devote at least 15 minutes reading and re-reading Russian declension and grammar. But most of my time is devoted to reading non-fiction.

    I want to do business with the Russians. I believe that aside from Spain and other countries, Russia can trade with Cuba. I really want to help them because the US trade embargo has really punished them harshly for no reason except that the "US invaded their shores and was humiliated because they lost to the Cubans". Dry foods and canned goods are what I intend to export to Cuba. A Russian middleman is all I need, fluency in the Russian language, then hopefully I get rich and pick a lady for marriage from Russia whose ladies I have presumed to all be decent given their culture and decent, strict maternal kins who imbued them with Christian values and infused discipline. I already have someone in mind. She's left.

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    I started with alphabet, but still don't know cursive.
    then took one rule and practiced it at least for a week.
    at the same time I concentrated on listening and watching YouTube videos.
    then I found penpals from Russia to learn slang and practice speaking

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