smallwhite wrote:You seem to find Russian much, much harder than everyone else on the internet and on this forum
You're kidding, right? Most people who try to learn Russian give up! The small number of Russian learners on the forum should probably already be an indication of how difficult Russian is! People dabble and unless they have some particular personal reason or interest they give up, because it's just such a beast of a language. Most Russian learners on the forum are intermediate - advanced learners who have lived in Russia for a year at least and need it for work or university. They obviously don't complain right now, because they did all their complaining already some a while back! There are always a few who dabble and maybe continue, maybe give up, but among the recent beginners Fortheo just posted a rant in the Russian Study group about how frustrating Russian is and how there seems to be no progress! This is the experience of most Russian learners. In fact, even those who stick with courses over years often get stuck or never develop any level of comprehension. There were whole generations of East Germans who studied Russian for 7 or 8 years at school without getting beyond "My name is ... I'm x years old ...". In fact, of a whole generation of East Germans learning Russian in school I only know a single person who managed to learn Russian: My dad. He actually learned it not from the classes but from Russian Sci Fi books with the exact same method I'm using now. The only difference is that the poor man had to use a paper dictionary! And boy did he go
when he actually arrived in a Russian speaking country after 10+ years of classes (7 in school, several years of university classes) and realised that he didn't understand a single word of what people were saying! Apparently, Russian women all speak at lightning speed - like my mum - and Russian men seem to have a whole arsenal of shoes in their mouth - his words, not mine! 10+ years and no listening comprehension! And he actually speaks quite nicely according to my mum, although apparently he never understood verb aspect despite learning Russian for 10 years in grammar heavy courses and speaking it for more than 10 years at home. He will get it right for frequent verbs, but for infrequent ones he might make mistakes apparently. Verb aspect, that's how Russians catch spies, my Dad says!
So, no, it's certainly not my method. Any other method would also be counter-productive for reading comprehension altogether. It's basically the only method to even get to any kind of reading comprehension without a dictionary before you're old and grey and have lived in the country for a while. Well, apart from maybe learning the most frequent 10-15,000 words with Anki brute force, which would probably be your choice.
As for the rest of the internet: Most of what you read on Google comes from folks selling some kind of language learning snake oil and they obviously want you to buy their stuff instead of giving up before starting in the first place. I'm not finding it harder than these people, I simply don't lie about it! Articles like "Russian is not as difficult as you think" usually come from people who already spent several years on it and lived in a Russian speaking country for a while. Sure, in 5 years I'll probably find it hilariously easy too! If you look beyond the folks selling their snake oil and actually find some serious websites they usually start with "Learning Russian takes time" and they are sprinkled with "Try to be patient" or "Don't get discouraged" and "This is actually much less confusing than it looks in the beginning". Well no, it actually remains just as confusing and illogical, it's just that after a while your brain adjusts to all the weirdness and it will simply seem easier.
So Russian is hard, and I simply admit it. I'm not particularly thick or inept with languages. I even got degrees to prove it and learned French in 3 months. And it's still hard for me! I even have a significant advantage having grown up with it. It doesn't really help me beyond the sound system though - I only remembered stuff like "apple", "cow", "dog", "milk" or "bicycle" maybe. These are surprisingly infrequent words in regular conversation when you're not a 5 year old anymore!
Trust me, for most people out there, Russian is a beast. Although quite possibly to you the difference between Greek and Russian might seem negligible coming from an entirely different language altogether. I would suggest you try it out and see how you get along with it. Maybe it's easier for you than for the rest of us? I'd actually be really interested in the outcome of that experiment!
smallwhite wrote:, and you're just at reading.
Actually, reading is usually tackled last in Russian, because it's the hardest skill. It needs the most vocabulary, the sentences are much longer than what you encounter in spoken language, the word order is also much wilder and there are difficult constructs that appear much more frequently in written language. Also, there is a danger that reading might kill your pronunciation because stress can't be predicted from how a word is written. I'm not "just" at reading. What I'm doing is actually immensely successful and I'm already
at reading, something that most learners only tackle after having reached B2 production. Reading is only an easy skill in languages with lots of cognates.
smallwhite wrote:Could it be your method? Or the books?
The books ... well, I have to admit that Russians don't complain about the quality of the translation which is a sign that it actually has quite a number of thoroughly Russian characteristics. Maybe a little harder than a bad translation of a children's book, which I wouldn't even want to read. And for me this pretty much IS a children's book: I read the whole series in German when I was 8! It certainly isn't War and Peace or some such high brow stuff, pretty regular genre fiction. I'm not sure I can go any lower than that with material for natives. Native children's books are definitely more difficult than this one, because they are less close to the English sentence logic.