Tristano's log 2016:Things! (now Russian and Dutch)

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Tristano
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (sorry I don't know how to call this log to keep it updated, lol)

Postby Tristano » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:35 am

LadyGrey1986 wrote:Tristano gefeliciteerd met je aanstaabdr vaderschap!


Dank je wel @LadyGrey :) Ik hoop om een prima vader voor mijn kleine lieve tweetalige dochtertje te zijn :)
Gefeliciteerd en succes met jouw Arabisch en (straks genoeg denk ik) Perzisch trouwens! Ik wil zo graag die twee talen in de toekomst leren maar ik ben een beetje geïntimideerd door de Perzoarabische script (zonder klinkers :'( ) en de feit dat ik meerdere Arabische dialecten zou moeten leren. Oh en natuurlijk heb ik te veel andere talen dat ik ook wil leren :P
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (sorry I don't know how to call this log to keep it updated, lol)

Postby Tristano » Wed Nov 09, 2016 12:08 pm

Yesterday I participated to a pregnancy course with my girlfriend full of (as one can expect) Dutch pregnant women and partners. Of course I was the only foreigner, but I could manage to understand almost everything was said and participate in the discussions. 8-)

Russian: I see that there are three conjugation patterns which are unpredictable, so that I have to learn the infinitive form together with the stem. Nice pain in the 455.
Cyrillic is not for a single moment a problem. I'm of course slow when it comes to read it but I guess that the first time that I learned to write italian I wasn't quite ready to read at a great speed about medical universitary papers either. So: good enough.
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (sorry I don't know how to call this log to keep it updated, lol)

Postby Ogrim » Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:27 am

Tristano wrote:Russian: I see that there are three conjugation patterns which are unpredictable, so that I have to learn the infinitive form together with the stem. Nice pain in the 455.
Cyrillic is not for a single moment a problem. I'm of course slow when it comes to read it but I guess that the first time that I learned to write italian I wasn't quite ready to read at a great speed about medical universitary papers either. So: good enough.


What material do you use to learn Russian? Just curious what your approach is. I started with what I call an "old-fashioned approach", using Linguaphone and Colloquial Russian, supplementing with Assimil later on.

As regards Russian verbs, I recommend you to learn both the imperfective and perfective form of the infinitive at the same time and as early as possible. Although many follow a regular pattern, there are an important number of verbs where you cannot predict the perfective form based on the imperfective.

Reading Cyrillic is just a matter of practice. I now read it just as fast as I read Latin script, but of course I was also slow in the beginning.
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (sorry I don't know how to call this log to keep it updated, lol)

Postby Tristano » Thu Nov 10, 2016 12:33 pm

Ogrim wrote:What material do you use to learn Russian? Just curious what your approach is. I started with what I call an "old-fashioned approach", using Linguaphone and Colloquial Russian, supplementing with Assimil later on.

As regards Russian verbs, I recommend you to learn both the imperfective and perfective form of the infinitive at the same time and as early as possible. Although many follow a regular pattern, there are an important number of verbs where you cannot predict the perfective form based on the imperfective.

Reading Cyrillic is just a matter of practice. I now read it just as fast as I read Latin script, but of course I was also slow in the beginning.


Hi Ogrim! So, my approach is even more old-fashioned than yours.
I have little time to dedicate so I want to learn it as slow and easy that I can, as I want to avoid the frequent burnouts I had with Dutch.
I started The New Penguin Russian course and I bought a grammar (The Oxford Russian Grammar and Verbs). I want to get exposure to the spoken language through music in this first phase. I want to have a grasp of the grammar first and then fill my knowledge in with words en expressions. Once I can enjoy reading I can concentrate more on speaking, but as far as I understand Russian pronunciation is much less difficult than English and comparable with French or Dutch for an Italian speaker, so I'm not in a hurry (I also have the impression that it will be less difficult than Dutch and English to get to decode the sounds properly).

I want to avoid to study in a very dry way with flashcards, but on a second thought can be useful to do it for the first batch of words (300, 500, 1000 or 1500 I don't know yet. The New penguin russian has a vocabulary of 1500 words) and then acquire the rest with exposure.
Since my first concern is to understand and not to know, I can skip all the latin derived words. Assimil will support me nicely after The new penguin Russian I think.

I'm more than open to advice! There is no such a thing as a difficult grammatical rule for me; I'm much more scared by irregularities. What did you find to be the most annoying features of the language? (as a comparison, for Dutch I find the prepositional system very painful since I can't simply guess it but I have to learn many different meanings of the couple verb/preposition)
How did you deal with it?
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (sorry I don't know how to call this log to keep it updated, lol)

Postby Ogrim » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:50 pm

Tristano wrote:I'm more than open to advice! There is no such a thing as a difficult grammatical rule for me; I'm much more scared by irregularities. What did you find to be the most annoying features of the language? (as a comparison, for Dutch I find the prepositional system very painful since I can't simply guess it but I have to learn many different meanings of the couple verb/preposition)
How did you deal with it?


Ok, this might be a longish post but I can't resist your invitation to give some advice :geek: . This is just my own personal experience though, other Russian learners here may have found certain things easier or more difficult - but hopefully it can still be helpful for you.

Russian pronunciation is not that hard, unless the abundance of consonants scare you. However, there are two things you should pay special attention to. Vowel degradation and stress. Basically most vowels "degrade" when unstressed, so e.g. Russian О is pronounced a, Е is pronounced lke i when in an unstressed syllable. Therefore the phrase Я не говорю по-русски (I don't speak Russian) will sound something like ya ni gavaryo pa-russki. I still sometimes have to correct myself from pronouncing the negaitve particle не as nje insted of ni.

Stress: It is almost impossible to predict where the stress falls in a Russian word, you need to learn it when learning the word. In courses stress will often be indicated by an accent mark, the vowel in bold or similar, but when you get to read the real thing, there will be no accent marks. If your only purpose is to read, then it is not so important, but for speaking it is. And of course, the accent will also determine how you pronounce the vowels.

Nouns, adjectives and numerals: They all decline, all the time, in six cases. I was used to dealing with cases from German and Latin, but I still sometimes find it hard to get the right endings and the right case. The system is relatively regular, but as always there are exceptions, and the devil is in the detail. I have found that, although it is boring, doing written drills is the most efficient way to learn the different case endings and use them corretly.

Verbs are not terribly complicated in Russian, the tense system is quite simple compared to Italian or Spanish, but you have the aspect (imperfective/perfective) to deal with instead. However, the only thing I've really struggled with are the verbs of motion (like to go, to run, to ride, to drive etc.), which in their base form appear as a "threesome". It would be too much to go into details here, your grammar should hopefully explain it to you in a sensible way. Thereafter, it is really a question of practice to get it right.

Vocabulary in general: Being your first Slavic language it is much less transparent than learning a Germanic or Latin language, but once I got past the beginner stage, I discovered (with the help of my teacher of course) that there is quite a logical system of word derivation in Russian. From a simple root they can create a whole set of words with related meanings, be that nouns, verbs or adjectives, by adding prefixes and suffixes. As for prepositions, most of them double up as prefixes for both verbs and nouns, and once you've learnt the basic meaning of a preposition you will see the logic in their use as prefixes as well to give a root word different meanings.

Like you I don't have problem with grammar, and I don't know if anything really annoys me, but certainly for me the most challenging part is to get your cases and case endings right, and to understand the way the verbs of motion works. As for exceptions and irregularities, you just have to deal with them - there are quite a few in Russian, but not scarier than other languages.
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (sorry I don't know how to call this log to keep it updated, lol)

Postby Tristano » Fri Nov 11, 2016 9:03 am

Ogrim wrote:Ok, this might be a longish post but I can't resist your invitation to give some advice :geek: . This is just my own personal experience though, other Russian learners here may have found certain things easier or more difficult - but hopefully it can still be helpful for you.


Thanks @Ogrim! Sure it is!

Ogrim wrote:Russian pronunciation is not that hard, unless the abundance of consonants scare you.


It doesn't ;) Actually I find the abundance of vowels of English much scarier. Or not, because I can manage to be understood using maximum 9-10 vowels :twisted:

However, there are two things you should pay special attention to. Vowel degradation and stress. Basically most vowels "degrade" when unstressed, so e.g. Russian О is pronounced a, Е is pronounced lke i when in an unstressed syllable. Therefore the phrase Я не говорю по-русски (I don't speak Russian) will sound something like ya ni gavaryo pa-russki. I still sometimes have to correct myself from pronouncing the negaitve particle не as nje insted of ni.

Stress: It is almost impossible to predict where the stress falls in a Russian word, you need to learn it when learning the word. In courses stress will often be indicated by an accent mark, the vowel in bold or similar, but when you get to read the real thing, there will be no accent marks. If your only purpose is to read, then it is not so important, but for speaking it is. And of course, the accent will also determine how you pronounce the vowels.


Yes that I noticed and it is no good news. But I think I will get used to it.

Nouns, adjectives and numerals: They all decline, all the time, in six cases. I was used to dealing with cases from German and Latin, but I still sometimes find it hard to get the right endings and the right case. The system is relatively regular, but as always there are exceptions, and the devil is in the detail. I have found that, although it is boring, doing written drills is the most efficient way to learn the different case endings and use them corretly.


No problem!

Verbs are not terribly complicated in Russian, the tense system is quite simple compared to Italian or Spanish, but you have the aspect (imperfective/perfective) to deal with instead. However, the only thing I've really struggled with are the verbs of motion (like to go, to run, to ride, to drive etc.), which in their base form appear as a "threesome". It would be too much to go into details here, your grammar should hopefully explain it to you in a sensible way. Thereafter, it is really a question of practice to get it right.


I'm not scared :) Indeed I just think it will make sense at a certain point.

Vocabulary in general: Being your first Slavic language it is much less transparent than learning a Germanic or Latin language, but once I got past the beginner stage, I discovered (with the help of my teacher of course) that there is quite a logical system of word derivation in Russian. From a simple root they can create a whole set of words with related meanings, be that nouns, verbs or adjectives, by adding prefixes and suffixes. As for prepositions, most of them double up as prefixes for both verbs and nouns, and once you've learnt the basic meaning of a preposition you will see the logic in their use as prefixes as well to give a root word different meanings.


This is indeed the biggest part of the job. I learned it the hard way studying Dutch, where I can't just modify Italian with some foreign words to look like I'm actually speaking the language (and doesn't work especially if someone is talking to me).

Like you I don't have problem with grammar, and I don't know if anything really annoys me, but certainly for me the most challenging part is to get your cases and case endings right, and to understand the way the verbs of motion works. As for exceptions and irregularities, you just have to deal with them - there are quite a few in Russian, but not scarier than other languages.
[/quote]

Thank you very much! I find your message very reassuring. I studied pretty irregular languages so far, as it seems that irregularity is an inner feature of romance and germanic languages. At the end it was just fine and 100% perfection isn't my goal. Being able to understand and answer and be understood is my goal. (In a very dry and impersonal description, something between B2 and C1. Less is too less, more requires too much work and I'm lazy)

May I ask you another question? What is the reason that pushes you to learn Russian and how do you use it and enjoy it?
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (now Russian and Dutch)

Postby tarvos » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:20 am

не actually sounds more like nyi to my ears... it's palatalized too.
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (sorry I don't know how to call this log to keep it updated, lol)

Postby Ogrim » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:03 pm

Tristano wrote:May I ask you another question? What is the reason that pushes you to learn Russian and how do you use it and enjoy it?


Explaining the reason, or reasons, is not that easy, but I´ll try. From a purely linguistic point of view, I have always wanted to learn a Slavic language, and Russian being the biggest by far and with a lot more resources than languages like Czech or Bulgarian it felt like a natural choice.

More important is the access to Russian culture. Already as a teenager I started to enjoy the books of Dostoievsky and other classics :ugeek: and the idea of one day being able to enjoy this literature in the original is very appealing. Then there is a whole contemporary culture to be explored, and very little of it reaches us in the West. You need to go and look for it and for that you need the language. Post-Soviet literature, music, film and theatre is very rich, but without Russian you are excluded from enjoying it.

Finally, I work in an international organisation of which Russia is a member state, and although I don't really need Russian for my work, it is still an advantage. That is a minor consideration though. More important is also the access to Russian media - without entering into politics I must say that it is very interesting to see how world events are interpreted and commented upon in Russian newspapers and TV stations. I think that, in order to have an "enlightened" view of politics and events, you need to listen to all sides of the argument, and to avoid the filters and interpretations that come with translation, you need to know the language to go directly to the sources.

I use Russian mostly passively. I read a lot, both literature and news - the latter mostly on the web. I watch news on TV whenever I can, and I use Youtube to look for modern Russian music, TV series, comedy, anything that I can enjoy. I am still far from a level where I can effortlessly understand everything I listen to, but I do believe that the more input I get, the better I am getting at understanding. My active use of the language is basically limited to one class per week, but we are only two students, so I do get a lot of opportunity to talk during that hour, and the teacher is really excellent.

Sorry for taking so much of your log writing about myself - I won't make a habit of it. ;)

tarvos wrote:не actually sounds more like nyi to my ears... it's palatalized too.


Tarvos, you are right of course, it is a palatalized sound. I did not pretend to give an exact phonetic transcript, but I should have made that clear.
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (now Russian and Dutch)

Postby Tristano » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:51 pm

Ahaha don't worry @Ogrim, I enjoyed reading your comments.

I think that Russian is one of the languages that can open to a wider understanding of the world. Other two are Chinese and Arabic, and I desire indeed to learn both (but consider those for "heavyweights language learners").

It's impressive to see who differently people from different countries think differently about a lot of things, even the most simple and natural.
The shift of culture with Russian is massive, but I could notice the effect even learning languages more closely related to each others.

And from a linguistic point of view (since I'm also a language nerd) learning Russian is gold, as it is a very big language and member of the populated and with high degree of intelligibility slavic family.

I can really relate to your reasons.
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Re: Tristano's log 2016:Things! (now Russian and Dutch)

Postby Cavesa » Fri Nov 11, 2016 7:23 pm

It's weird how many threads we make on French or Spanish books, or tv series, or movies and how few on the Russian ones, despite the fact we've got both Russian learners and Russian natives in our community. It would be awesome to have those too, as I am quite likely to start Russian during the next few years (quite likely means "whether time allows it" and start means "no clue how far I will get")
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