Я учу русский язык
Monday, May 21, 2012 7:15:47 AM
I buy a lot of books about learning languages. If I am ever wondering what to do with my time, I could get them down adn start teaching myself Mandarin, Russian, Polish, Maori, Japanese, Arabic, FInnish, Portuguese and a good handful of others. Of course owning the course isn't the same as learning the language.
I started trying to learn some Russian about five years ago, with a book called "Russian Made Simple", I think from the 60s or early 70s. It was actually pretty good - but unfortunately I left it somewhere in Australia and have never remembered to find it again. Since then I've acquired a few more books, including "Teach Yourself Russian", and a set of cassettes with a book that are an advanced course. I even got another walkman (after sending mine to Russia) so I could listen to them, but haven't got into them yet.
This time, I am using a book called "Ruso por Ejercicios". It is a Soviet-era textbook, I believe originally produced in Russian, and it works on the very simple principle that if you repeat things often enough, they stick. So far I have typed out about 50kb of exercises (that's about 25 pages printed reasonably large, I think).
Then I was on a plane (my computer generally doesn't fit in a plane seat with me) and started writing by hand. I discovered that it is much more comfortable for me to write longhand - I don't have the cyrillic letters on my keyboard, and I don't touch-type. Since which, I filled up 20 pages with my tiny messy barely-legible write-only russian (I have a different handwriting style for things I want to read later than for quick notes to myself, in both english and russian).
I'm also working through the "Teach Yourself" book, and through a website of russian lessons that are far funnier than the tourist stories of Teach Yourself… or the extremely dry exercises. They use interactivity sensibly, and work through all the grammar bit by bit, rather than the associative vocabulary-based approaches sold by people who think that it is better to learn exactly the way children do (i.e. spend 3 years without being able to make a proper sentence).
But if I don't get back to work on it, I'll still be saying goo-gooo-ga in 3 years...