How to learn a language online

How to learn a language online

wayne parry

LEARN RUSSIAN ONLINE - FOR FREE

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  UNDERSTANDING THE PEOPLE

A VISUAL GLIMPSE OF WHERE RUSSIAN IS SPOKEN

 

As an introduction, we should first look at a few images of where the language is spoken. This is a language spoken not only by those in Russia but also in neighbouring Ukraine and Belarus, totalling 144 million native speakers. This includes many speakers in Kazakhstan, Moldova, Estonia, Latvia and other parts of the ex-Soviet Union.  In Kyrgyzstan it is still a co-official language and it still has considerable influence in countries such as Mongolia where it is the most popular foreign language taught in schools.

On top of the Russian speakers in what was once known as the USSR, there are over 750,000 Russian speakers in Israel who are mainly Russian Jewish migrants and large communities of Russians living in the United States, Germany, Brazil, Canada and many of the ex-Soviet republics. In all there are over 114 million speakers of Russian as a second language, and when added to the number of native speakers, this number totals more than 258 million speakers. It’s no wonder that Russian is considered one of the official languages used by the United Nations.  

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE RUSSIAN IS SPOKEN

ST. PETERSBURG

 

In this step we take a closer look at the language by visiting a place where it is spoken. St Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia and a major tourist attraction because of its many beautiful buildings. The Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum are the most visited of these buildings. Not only does a visual tour of a city make us want to go there, it reminds us of why we’re learning the language.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  A PART OF A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

THE MOSCOW METRO

 

In previous blogs we have looked at a typical market where the language is spoken and where the language can be seen visually. The Moscow Metro is such an iconic part of the city and like all forms of public transport, there are plenty of signs to be seen. Most interestingly, the Moscow Metro does not have signs in other languages – only in Russian. This makes it somewhat unique compared to metro systems all over the world, where there are usually also signs in English.     

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

 

Russian television has experienced something of a boom in the last ten years, due mainly to the relaxing of media ownership but also because of its huge audience of native speakers. The variety of programmes is immense and this is an essential step for understanding how those speakers behave in different situations. Television is a fun and insightful way to follow characters and see how they interact with others in their native language. Here is a list of some recent favourites.

 

My Fair Nanny (Моя прекрасная няня) – based on the US sitcom, The Nanny, but with a Ukrainian nanny living in Moscow

Russian Translation (pусский перевод) – set during the Soviet era diplomatic tactics in South Yemen

One Night of Love (Одна ночь любви) – period drama set in St Petersburg

Daddy’s Daughters (Папины дочки) – sitcom about a therapist’s family

SPETS (Cпец)  -  real life drama about the Mafia in a Far Eastern Russian town

The Idiot (Идиот)  -  period drama set in Tsarist Russia

U.E. (У.E.)  -  crime series about a retired colonel and a money laundering case

The Cadets (Курсанты) -  series about cadets in World War 2, during the Battle of Stalingrad

The Little Golden Calf (Золотой телёнок) -  adaptation of the 1931 novel about a petty criminal who strikes it rich

Urban Legends ( Городские легенды) -  series about unusual occurrences in Russian society

Young Wolfhound (Молодой Волкодав)  -  fantasy action series set in the European Dark Ages

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE:  FOOD

RUSSIAN CUISINE

 

Visiting a Russian restaurant, whether in Russia or abroad, is an interesting way to explore its food and learn more about what Russians eat. This is a vital part of the process of learning a language and one we should definitely not avoid. Besides, who would want to avoid this part? Here’s a delicious list of some typical dishes around the Russian speaking world.

 

ENTRÉE

 

Okroshka  -  cold soup of raw vegetables and fermented rye bread

Shchi  -  cabbage soup

Botvinya  -  beet soup

Ukha  -  fish broth

Rassolnik  -  hot cucumber soup

Solyanka  -  pickled vegetable soup popular all over Eastern Europe

Lapsha  -  noodle broth from Tatarstan

Shuba  -  dressed herring

Olivier Salad  -  known also as Russian salad

Borscht  -  Ukrainian beetroot soup

Shorba with Baursak  -  Kazakh style soup with fried salted dough

Morkov po-Koreiski  -  Korean carrots, a spicy salad dish from Sakhalin

 

MAIN

 

Pelmeni  -  meat dumplings served with Smetana (sour cream)

Kholodets  -  pork aspic

Vareniki  -  Ukrainian stuffed dumplings

Kotlety  -  pan fried meatballs

Shashlyk  -  meat barbecue from the Caucasus but common all over Russia

Pirozhki  -  stuffed meat pies

Blini  -  think pancakes served with ham, cheese and mushroom (different from dessert blini)

Kotleta po-Kyivsky  -  stuffed chicken cutlet from Ukraine (Chicken Kiev)

Plov  -  Uzbek rice dish otherwise known as Pilaf in other parts of Central Asia

Draniki  -  Belarusian potato pancakes

Qistibi  -  Tatar style potato flat cakes

Peremech  -  Volga style meat turnovers

Sarburma  -  Crimean lamb pie

Chuchvara  -  Uzbek style mini dumplings served with pickled vegetables

 

DESSERT

 

Syrniki  -  curd fritters with honey and apple sauce

Vatrushka  -  cottage cheese cake with fruit and raisins

Kefir  -  Turkic fermented milk drink

Chakchak  -  honey drenched pastry balls from Tatarstan

Kissel  -  sweet berry soup served with semolina pudding

Sushki  -  tea bread that looks like a bagel

 

 

 

 

STEP SIX:  HOW TO PREPARE THE FOOD

BLINI (RUSSIAN PANCAKES)

 

One of the easiest dishes to make for this language is blini, which can be sweet or savoury. In this recipe it is a savoury blini with ham and cheese. Often referred to as a crepe in other parts of the world, blini is a popular street food found all over Russia. This step is necessary to learn how to follow instructions and to further understand how the food is prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN:  MUSIC

LISTENING TO POPULAR MUSIC SUNG IN RUSSIAN

 

The amazing thing about Russian popular music is its expanse. A major hit not only guarantees instant success in Russia but can spread to other countries such as Latvia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova and wherever else the Russian language is appreciated. Many singers from those countries have broken into the Russian music scene as well. Dan Balan (Moldova), Vera Brezhneva (Ukraine) and TT34 (Belarus) are only some examples. One of the positive legacies of the break-up of the Soviet Union is the music that still links all of these republics. Here’s a list of some recent releases.   

 

Москва  -  DJ Smash & Винтаж (Vintage)  Combination of two well known dance acts

Я тебя тоже нет (Je T'aime)  -  Ева Польна (Eva Polna)  Popular female pop singer

Всё решено  -  Elvira T  Another popular female pop singer

Спектакль окончен  -  Полина Гагарина (Paulina Gagarina)

Так не бывает - Дима Билан (Dima Bilan)  Currently the most famous male singer in Russia

Вы ше - Нюша (Nyusha)  One of Russia's most successful female singers

Хорошая песня - Митя Фомин (Mitya Fomin)  Male singer of more alternative styles of pop

Bсё хорошо - Марк Тишман (Mark Tishman)  Recently popular Russian male pop singer

Лабиринт - Дискотека Авария (Diskoteka Avariya)  One of the pioneers of Russian house music

Ты мой герой - Инфинити (Infinity)  Russian dance act

Реальная жизнь - Вера Брежнева (Vera Brezhneva)  Ukrainian singer who is very famous in Russia

Кареглазая - Фактор 2 (Faktor 2)  Russian hip-hop duo currently based in Germany

Просто любовь - Любэ (Lyube)  Russian rock band that dates back quite a while now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT:  SPORT

APPRECIATING SPORTS AND HOBBIES THAT THE LOCALS ARE INTERESTED IN

 

 

Sport (like music and food) is an integral part of culture that often defines a society. Understanding what entertains the native speakers, whether it’s a traditional game or a pastime that has been handed down for hundreds of years, is an important part of learning the language and the culture behind it. In this part of the world, football (soccer) is popular but due to the climatic conditions of most regions where Russian is spoken, other sports such as ice hockey and ice skating are enjoyed. Here’s a clip of a Russian boy who’s quite good on his skates. 

 

 

 

STEP NINE:  FILM

WATCHING MOVIES IN THE LOCAL LANGUAGE

 

The Russian film industry is not as large as some other linguistic regions but it is still a huge industry and each year, several blockbusters are released to the general public. Moscow is, by far, the centre of the movie making world for Russian film.  It’s important to try to watch these movies without subtitles in another language as that will slow down the process. Try to watch them with Russian subtitles or no subtitles at all, and little by little, you’ll start to understand the gist of each situation. Here’s a list of some recent releases.

 

 

 

Returning to the A / Возвращение в «А»  -  story about 2 Kazakh soldiers in Afghanistan

Burnt by the Sun 2 / Утомлённые солнцем 2  -  the sequel to the original World War 2 action movie (Russia’s biggest budget movie ever)

The Edge /  Край  -  Russian war movie set on a runaway train

Strayed / Заблудившийся  -  Kazakh thriller set in a remote part of Kazakhstan 

Ward Number 6 / Палата № 6  -  Russian movie set in a mental asylum where three patients plan a trip 

Mermaid / Русалка  -  story about a girl who can make wishes come true and who travels to Moscow

12  -  a jury of twelve must decide the fate of a Chechen boy who has been accused of murder 

9th Company / 9 Рота -  Russian war movie about Afghanistan

The Return / Возвращение  -  Russian drama about two boys whose father suddenly returns

Tulpan / Тюльпан  -  story about a young Kazakh man who must find a wife (dialogue also in Kazakh)

 

 

STEP TEN:  PEOPLE

SKYPE

 

Obviously it is through people that we will improve the language and there is no better way than communicating with native speakers. That might be slightly difficult if you’re in a place where there are few speakers of that language. In that case, it’s always a good idea to look for native speakers on websites for language exchange partners like these ones below.

 

The Mixxer   http://www.language-exchanges.org

My Language Exchange   http://www.mylanguageexchange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP ELEVEN:  WORK

UNDERSTANDING LOCAL WORK CULTURE

 

Working in the country where the language is spoken enables us to improve our vocabulary tremendously, provided we’re in a work environment where that language is spoken. Learning some work vocabulary also gives us a sense of worth and encourages us to stay longer in that country, if that is the intention. 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE:  RELATIONSHIPS

HOW THESE SPEAKERS INTERACT

 

Sometimes we also need to understand the social problems associated with a particular language, even if it’s a rather uncomfortable topic. Quite often, the mass migration that occurs from east to west (usually from Central Asia to Eastern Russia) can cause conflicts between communities and this clip looks at a typical conflict between Russian police and Uzbek migrants.

 

 

 

 

Blog Stats

  • Total posts(12)
  • Total comments(3)

Forgot your password?