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Thread: Hi! Russia Bound

  1. #1
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    Hi! Russia Bound

    Hi! I'm a 34 year old woman from the States who is heading to Russia to learn Russian. I will be mostly in St. Petersburg, but I'm interested in finding out cool and local things.. along with must sees for any tourist.. willing to travel throughout Russia as i do have long weekends from my school schedule.

    Regards
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  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин Serge_spb's Avatar
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    Hi there,

    Check out the map of St. Petersburg https://maps.yandex.ru/?source=serp_...83%D1%80%D0%B3

    You should be interested in 3 districts:

    1. Central (Центральный район), explore it pretty everywhere starting from Nevsky Prospect and you`ll find lots of interesting stuff without any guide
    2. Petrogradsky (Петроградский р-н), Petrogradskaya or Gorkovskaya stations, I recommend the southern part
    3. Vasileostrovsky (Василеостровский), the subway st. is under recconstruction, but the island is withing walking distance (or bus) from Nevsky pr \ Central dstr. I recommend the south-eastern part.

    Do not go alone in other districts if not necessery.

    Are you familiar with some russian? What are you interested in?
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    for events.
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    I do. I will say Im an advanced beginner.. but I am going to the Benedict School to take private tutoring in Russian for 3 weeks. I have a friend who lives on the island.. I know this because she says that I will be there during White Nights.. and it's hard for her because the bridge lifts during the evening and she lives on the island.

    I have a variety of interests.. mostly for this trip culture.. as I believe culture is about learning the language. I'd like to see some of the touristy stuff but also some the off beaten path stuff.. and I'm looking to join in a bit with the local scene as much as possible. I'm pretty social. So something that would be appropriate for a woman my age who may go alone in the later afternoon or evening. I'll definitely take a look at this map and may purchase one to have on my person for travel.

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    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    as I believe culture is about learning the language.
    What a nice little superstition!
    My 10+ years of learning English have left me assured that language is only a step #1 to learn foreign culture.
    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medved View Post
    What a nice little superstition!
    My 10+ years of learning English have left me assured that language is only a step #1 to learn foreign culture.
    That is not a superstition. I am a speech language pathologist and language is the manifestation of our cognition and how we see the world. Our language and even the minute grammatical, semantical, and syntax structure is a representation of our culture as our culture plays a large demand in how we see the world. You cannot effectively learn a language and communicate effectively if you do not understand the culture.. I assure you it leads to a lot of misunderstanding and shuts down the communication system.. because communication is not just about the words you use alone but your ability to effectively communicate your wants, needs, and ideas to the other person.. if the person does not receive that message in its purity.. you have not communicated effectively.

    And superstition? I'm not talking about black cats crossing your path, sweeping your house on New Years, or walking under a ladder... those are all superstitions... perhaps you did not effectively communicate what you were trying to say?
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    Властелин iCake's Avatar
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    jcfromga

    I think Medved just wanted to say that culture and language are not one and the same entity. Sure they both develop in concert and have a ton of influence on each other, but at the end of the day, we simply can't deny that there are many more factors that affect a culture's development than just language. Just remember a quite famous or imfamous, depending on which way you want to look at that, "Two nations divided by a common language".

    About the proper usage of the word superstition... I would think you would know that people just love playing with words, using them in creative ways and effectively giving them new meanings. That said I really like how Medved applied the word in there. Superstitions are not about black cats, broken mirrors and whatnot, they're about beliefs that have little to no rationale behind them and saying that "culture is about learning the language" is one of such beliefs in my opinion and that opinion, much like Medved's, is derived from many years of experience. Not to say that I'm all superior because I have big baggage of learning, it's just a conclusion I've come to and the path wasn't exactly a straightforward one. Talking about language and culture, you sure can learn one without the other if you want to, moreover you can actually get quite good at your targeted object of interest, although, I do believe that you must eventually expend your effort on both to become great at one

    Staying more on-topic, I wish you the best of luck with your Russian adventure. Learning a language can be quite an entertaining ride and an illuminating one, which I'm sure you'd agree on.
    I do not claim that my opinion is absolutely true.
    If you've spotted any mistake in my English, please, correct it. I want to be aware of any mistakes to efficiently eliminate them before they become a habit.

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    Властелин Medved's Avatar
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    Sorry for the wrong word, I didn't mean to cause any confusion.

    Okay, let's call it a misbelief (even though I'm pretty sure you did understand what exactly I was trying to say).
    My thought was that culture is way wider than just learning the language. Through language you can understand some basic, key features of our "cognition and how we see the world". That's true and that goes without saying. I'm talking about further processing of our local reality and how we sense it.

    It can't be denied that there are some specific Russian common local habits, standard behavior patterns in certain situations, jokes... What I'm talking about is that these things are beyond the language and at the same time, they are undoubtedly an important part of the culture. Yes you do need to know the language to feel such things and their reasoning, but the language is simply a means to understand them, not an ultimate goal. The fact that you know the language well doesn't mean that you know the culture well. That's what I wanted to say.

    To be more specific, I can't help but mention a few funny facts from my biography.
    When I met my wife and when we started dating and I got acquaintant with her family and her surroundings I literally opened for myself yet another layer of the Russian culture. I live in a small town near Nizhniy Novgorod and she comes from a village about 20 miles away from it.

    When I got around her place I learned some weird old beliefs, like that about the water to become holy in the night of the Christening; we had to stand a whole line to ladle a bottle of holy water out of that well near their house that midnight. That night, it came as a great surprize for me and that was something new I learned, that I hadn't known before. There were tons of new words used by the older people there (either just local/regional or obsolete but still in use), many habits, much more that I learned when I got the hang of their lifestyle. Although ... we (oh, wow!) spoke the same language, lol! Isn't that culture? Yes it is.

    That's what I mean by saying that culture is something more than meets the eye just a language.
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    Another month ends. All targets met. All systems working. All customers satisfied. All staff eagerly enthusiastic. All pigs fed and ready to fly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by iCake View Post
    jcfromga

    I think Medved just wanted to say that culture and language are not one and the same entity. Sure they both develop in concert and have a ton of influence on each other, but at the end of the day, we simply can't deny that there are many more factors that affect a culture's development than just language. Just remember a quite famous or imfamous, depending on which way you want to look at that, "Two nations divided by a common language".

    About the proper usage of the word superstition... I would think you would know that people just love playing with words, using them in creative ways and effectively giving them new meanings. That said I really like how Medved applied the word in there.
    I can appreciate the feedback, but will just say as a native speaker... using that word in that manner was confusing.. because it wasn't correct and is not used in that way. English has lots of words that seem like synonyms but only in certain circumstances.

    MedVed, I actually thought about what you said and later thought that perhaps you meant 'misconception'. I would have replied sooner, but alas, I was super busy with work yesterday.

    So, just a small example.. And I think there may be a bit of confusion about what I'm saying.. but this is a highly researched area for us who work in the linguist world. I see lots of people who do not speak English as a native language offend English speakers.. and the difference really gets down to the culture influences of the native language. English is not always the most direct language. It can be evasive (which creates a lot of misunderstanding for non natives). We play with words a lot to share only what we want to. There is no gender, no marker for subjective. So, I've seen foreigners ask questions for clarification but the English speaker often could find that invasive or reflective of a lack of trust.. one of the obvious is when my Russian friend would ask her girlfriend about who she was by manipulating the pronoun his/her because she would say something like 'I went to lunch with a friend.' That is completely acceptable for English speakers... and when he would say something like 'what does SHE do for a living?' it came off to the girl that he didn't trust her and was fishing for information. That would cause a lot of problems.. when he could have just been clarifying because gender is a marker for him and he is still learning English... also, when foreigners speak very directly, it comes off as highly offensive.. and many languages are much more direct than English. That's where I see the biggest issue... but anyways, I would love to continue on this vein, but alas, I have another busy day with my company.

    I look forward to my time in Russia.. I'm working on not smiling on the streets but it is super hard for us Americans. I hope the day is treating everyone well.

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