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neofight78
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Mon May 02, 2016 11:44 pm

Arnaud wrote:Wow, what an update !!
Best of luck in your project, you really deserve it ;)


Thanks Arnaud :D

Now for a slightly more mundane update...

So after my break in Russia and Easter the following week, it's time to get back into a fuller study regime and of course catch up on the flashcard backlog. Today being a bank holiday I managed to get about 3 hours worth of flashcards done, although it's only made a small dent. It think it'll take 2-3 weeks to catch up depending on how much study time I get in.

Recently I've started watch "Кая я стал русским", it's kind of ok. Not brilliant but watchable IMHO.



I've decided that really good teachers are hard to come by, and when you do find one after a while circumstances change meaning that you can no longer work together. Anyhow, I've got a half hour lesson booked for Friday with a new tutor, we'll see how it goes. Maybe I'm just fussy, I don't know but here's my criteria for a good teacher:

  • Is adaptable and listens to what the student wants - a lot of teacher have a fixed idea of how they want to work and ignore your requests
  • Writes new words, constructions and corrections in the chat window - so few teacher seem to be able to do this
  • Is interesting and pleasant to talk to

Somehow it doesn't seem like a tall order once written down, but hey ho!
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Tue May 10, 2016 11:55 pm

Continuing to chip away at the flashcard backlog, several decks are already back under control but not all of them.

When I've been exercising I've been listening to Russian podcasts, however I'm not sure how useful that's been. Having been mooching around ЛитРес, I decided to plump for an audiobook. This time a non-fiction book, as they are significantly easier to understand. Anyhow, I chose the following well known title:

07137134_cover-audiokniga-stiven-kovi-sem-navykov-vysokoeffektivnyh-ludey-moschnye-instrumenty-razvitiya-lichnosti-5009075.jpg
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So after two half hour sessions, I think this is working better. My mind can tend to wander a bit, but with an audiobook there is more context and the pace is slower, so I can easily tune back in again when my concentration returns. So far I am pleased, although in reality I don't know how effective extended listening will be for me (Any experience of this, anybody?).

Friday's (actually it got moved to Thursday) session with the new tutor went well, so I've booked another one for this week. Sometimes things go well initially and then fizzle out, so it will need a few more sessions before I know if we are a good fit.
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Wed May 11, 2016 11:34 pm

Ok, so a few more details on my recent trip to Russia and my plans for the future...

One thing that I neglected to mention earlier was that I contacted a local recruitment agency about the possibility of working in Russia at some point (i.e. how realistic is this idea?), mentioning that I intended to come in September. To my surprise some interviews were hastily arranged. Firstly a technical interview at the agency itself (all in English), I guess to check that I was half decent and then later with two local companies. The first proper interview went quite well and was conducted about 50/50 in English and Russian. My main barrier at this stage is that I've still not really spent much time learning how to talk about programming in a detailed way in Russian. I've started chipping away at some of the terminology but it's still early days. Overall it went quite well. The second interview was mostly in English although we did talk a little in Russian. This time it went really well and we talked for about 2.5 hours which is always a good sign, and they also seemed to be quite aware of the process for hiring a foreigner. They said that they possibly wanted to send me a technical test to do when I got back home, but overall I felt pretty confident.

Anyhow, a week later (and back home in the UK) and no news. Which in the IT world at least means you've struck out. The agency followed up for me and the feedback was that they were indeed interested but that quota for foreign workers had already been fulfilled for this year. I'm 50/50 on whether this is the genuine reason or not, but in any case I suspect the reason for a lack of success was down to the fact I'm a foreigner, the only question being is it really about quotas, or perhaps it's about language or doubts about how seriously I intend to move to Russia. I was intensively interrogated on this later point in the second interview! :lol:

The mini job search having come to an end, I contacted the university this week to formally start the process of signing me up to the course. I've already sent of some basic required information and I have a small test to complete to help assess my level, so I'll probably tackle this at the weekend when I have a bit more time.

Of course the next thing to think about is what I am going to do with a flat's worth of stuff! :lol: It's going to take some time to sell/loan/store everything...
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Mon May 30, 2016 12:47 pm

I am hoping that by the end of the day, I should be caught up with all my flashcards with the exception of my sentence deck. I guess it'll take another week to get that one under control.

On extensive listening front, a reasonably long road trip means I've finished my first audiobook (does that count as my first book generally? :oops:) and I'm onto my second:

21233355_cover-audiokniga-nik-vuychich-zhizn-bez-granic-put-k-potryasausche-schastlivoy-zhizni-18113269.jpg
21233355_cover-audiokniga-nik-vuychich-zhizn-bez-granic-put-k-potryasausche-schastlivoy-zhizni-18113269.jpg (90.38 KiB) Viewed 815 times


Again, it's along the self help lines. It's not great work of literature of course, but then that's the point, it's relatively easy to understand. Indeed I am quite pleased as it's easier to understand than the last audio book and my level of comprehension is pretty high.

I've finished watching как я стал русским, any recommendations on what to watch next? Whilst I'm talking about serials, I've created some cards using subs2srs from Шулер (I watched it some time ago). Given there are Russian and English subtitles that seem to be in sync it's not a bad candidate. I've not being using subs2srs for a while, mainly due to time constraints, so I'm going to keep the number of new cards a day pretty low.

In terms of studying language related to my profession, it's become clear to me that's it's going to take quite a while to get to a competent level. But as always, the key will be to keep chipping away and one day I'll wake up and it will all be easy. It's just a shame that won't be next week :lol: As I mentioned before I got some vocabulary lists with audio made up for me as a kickstarter. I've already got all the C# terms in Anki and reviewed, I'm currently working my way though the SQL list. Of course these lists are only a launch pad, so I've started reading a C# book in Russian. I've got hold of both the English and Russian versions which is handy. I'm not sure whether I'll read all of it, or how I will read it, but at least initially I'm reading intensively in LingQ as with all my other reading. As I go through key terminology is getting added to my Anki deck. My feeling so far is, that outside the technical stuff, the vocabulary is fairly limited, so hopefully I'll pick up speed at some point.

07086610_cover-pdf-kniga-anders-heylsberg-yazyk-programmirovaniya-c-klassika-computers-science-4976946.jpg
07086610_cover-pdf-kniga-anders-heylsberg-yazyk-programmirovaniya-c-klassika-computers-science-4976946.jpg (95.27 KiB) Viewed 815 times


I'm also thinking ahead as to how I will start to activate this technical vocabulary given that your average online tutor won't understand any of this stuff, and with language exchange it's hard to find someone who will work on what you want and the way you want. Potentially hiring a dev on upwork could be the way to go, but of course I'm not sure how good they'll be at corrections. Anyhow, there's still time to mull this one over.

I'm still getting daily practice on all the four major skills with WhatsApp, and I'm continuing to intensively read with LingQ. I need to start thinking about having a bit of a push with grammar as I've not done a lot with that recently and it's probably lagging behind. It's at that dangerous stage where I know enough to speak and understand, and it's a bit too easy to ignore more elegant was of saying things or those lesser used constructions.
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:44 pm

Studies have been ticking over nicely this week. Still catching up on the sentence deck, but steady progress has been made.

Texts I've been intensively reading and listening to this week.

  • Lastest chunk of Цвет Волшебства
  • Article from kid's encyclopaedia on how heat gets transferred
  • A news report from Первый Канал on a round the world balloon flight
  • Two chunks from the C# book
  • Даниил Хармс - On Phenomena and Existences No 1

I'm continuing to feel that I'm making good progress on my reading, it's slowly feeling easier and, more importantly, enjoyable. When studying the C# book it's quite weird to think that I probably have to expend less effort in understanding it than your average Russian speaker would. But of course that's only because of it's technical nature and my knowledge in this area.

I don't think I've mentioned this for a while, but I've been having lessons on a Saturday where we read texts related to Orthodoxy. The vocabulary tends to be obscure and there's some old fashioned style language, but I'm slowly getting a grip on it. I felt pretty good about today's text as I had a pretty high comprehension level. Although it has to be said it's one of the less difficult examples.

I've also been continuing to listen to Жизь без границ when I go for my evening walks, and I'll put it on in the car later when I go to see my friend in Birmingham.

TV wise I've picked up the second series of Метод Фрейда again. Each episode is fairly long and given that I watch it whilst eating dinner, it takes 2-3 days to get through each one. I am watching with English subtitles as it's not study time, but rather relaxation time, following the something is better than nothing approach.

Future wise the contract for the university course has arrived in my inbox so that'll need signing and sending off. September is rapidly approaching so I need to start organising things!
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:43 am

It's been a while since I last posted, but hopefully this entry will make up for the period of silence. In truth, I've not done much active study since my last post. Mainly because I've been super busy, however I've continued to use Russian socially.

Of course one of the major things that was keeping me busy was preparations for my move to Russia. Anyone who has moved knows it's a lot of work. If you're moving to another country you can times that by ten! Everything has to be sold, given away, stored or taken with you as part of your baggage allowance. I finished work three weeks before my departure date and it was barely enough time to get everything sorted.

I arrived in Novosibirsk in the wee hours of Sunday morning, and somehow managed to get bitten by a mosquito. I got some sleep and then late afternoon went out to get my Russian sim card reactivated. By the time I'd got back two more bites had manifested themselves. I had quite a big reaction to the three bites, nothing that caused too much discomfort, however it does leave me a bit worried about the summer when the insect population will be rampant. Hopefully I'll have developed a bit more resistance by then. On the upside this has distracted me from worrying about the up coming Russian winter :lol:

On Monday, I went to the University to get registered. There was a prearranged meet up with a student who guided me around. Going to the international office to register my arrival was fortunately straight forward. However, I experienced my first dose of Russian bureaucracy and slow moving queues when I went to get my pass. I'm didn't notice what time I joined the queue, but I think I waited around 2 hours, and there was only about a dozen students ahead of me when I turned up. A total pain in the proverbial, but I don't suppose it will be the last time I shall encounter this phenomenon in Russia!

Once I got back home from the University I promptly fell ill, and I'm only just beginning to feel human again now. I'm still not eating much but the initial fever has gone and I seem to be heading in the right direction. My first lesson is tomorrow morning at 9. Hopefully I'll be well enough and sufficiently adjusted to the timezone to show up for it! The only plus sides to this rather disappointing start, is that I've lost some weight and I got some practice in at the doctors on Tuesday. I was quite pleased that I understood pretty much all of what the doctor said with only a few exceptions. I shall flatter myself by presuming that these were all medical terms that perhaps even uneducated native speakers might not understand. :P

I'm keen to get my study routine up and running again, but I just haven't the energy yet. Also how the university teaching is going to factor in is still unknown. There are 12 hours a week class time, but I don't know how much homework will be given out on top of that. The content will have a bearing too. The inside information I have about the teacher is that they are good but somewhat traditional. I was sent a test by the university during the summer, and I've seen on the timetable that I've been classified as B2-. I guess this is a symptom of the fact that exams in Russia are fairly grammar heavy, and my study is fairly grammar light. I keep musing that I should study grammar more, perhaps now is this time. However, on other fronts I'm sure I have improved since sitting the B2 exam. My teacher tells my speech and writing is much improved. It's a while since I've done any Anki reviews so maybe I've forgotten a lot but think I must have learned another 1,500 words since too.
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby MamaPata » Mon Sep 19, 2016 2:41 pm

Ah, the fun of moving to Russia! :? Are you enjoying it? How are the classes? I've been reading through your log and it's very impressive how much you fit in!
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:23 am

Gosh, nearly three weeks already. So far I have been enjoying life here, the uncharacteristically hot weather being a big factor. 8-) It's the end of September and it's still better than a British summer. I guess autumn and winter will have to kick in before too long though. :roll:

The classes are ok, a bit on the traditional side, but then I think that's perhaps not such a bad thing as it will complement my self study. There's quite a lot of homework, so despite not working there's still not enough time in the day to get all the studying done that I'd like. I guess if there were 50 hours in a day, that would still be true though :lol:

I have 4 hours of classes 3 times a week. Monday tends to be grammar, and phonetics (yuck!). Wednesday is more writing and speaking, with Fridays being reading focussed. For reference here are the textbooks we are using:

Какой падеж? Какой предлог?
Обсуждаем глобальные проблемы, повторяем русскую грамматику
Чистая грамматика
Россия: Характеры, ситуация, мнения 1

The last book is the only one of any real interest. It has adapted excerpts from various classics of Russian literature. Not a bad introduction to such an intimidating realm :)

In my own reading and study I've been covering the following texts with audio over the last two weeks:

  • Excerpts from a C# textbook
  • Excerpts from a SQL textbook
  • An obituary for Victor Korchnoi
  • News extract about the Brexit result (yes, I've picked this up again after quite a gap :lol:)
  • Иосиф Бродский - Письма римскому другу (Poetry)
  • An extract from Обломов (Classical Literature)
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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Sun Sep 25, 2016 3:06 pm

A couple of thoughts to share today.

Recently in one of our classes we did a listening test, which was pretty hard. The speech itself was reasonably slow and clear and I understood good chunks of it. My problem was that the language is just not the kind of Russian I encounter in my studies. However, I am told it's standard Russian, which winds me up no end :oops: . So I'm looking to incorporate some more higher register stuff with fancy terminology. However, it seems to be rather hard to find on the internet (at least for me). Anyhow, the first text I've dug up is Ересь — не ругательство, not sure how well it fits the bill but hey ho. Any recommendations of where I can find more highbrow newspaper type stuff would be appreciated.

I tend to have 3 texts at time that I study intensively on LingQ. I have plenty of material in the queue which is a great problem to have. I'm really getting into reading the language now, well from a motivation and enjoyment point of view - I'm still not sure about my reading skills :lol: Anyhow, I'm beginning to resent technical texts taking up one of these slots, so I might start taking a different approach for these. I'm thinking of switching to Readlang and using the flashcard export for the terminology I need to learn. I'm not sure the intensive reading I do on LingQ is all that necessary because once you discount the terminology the language in programming texts tends to be fairly straightforward. I also want to find something that's a bit easier to import. I'm looking at using some articles from habrahabr.ru but whilst you can search by topic there seems to be no way to find translated articles which is a pain. For specialist topics dictionaries are not all that reliable so having an English version can make it a lot easier to decipher things.

On a positive note I revisted a clip that I first encountered in a lesson not long after I passed the B1 exam (if memory serves correctly). At the time I understood very little, but know I understand practically everything. Nice to know that progress is occurring, even if it is over a long period of time! :)

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Re: neofight78's Wayward Ramble to Russian Fluency [TAC 2016]

Postby neofight78 » Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:31 pm

Yikes, another long gap between posts. Just goes to show that giving up your job doesn't mean you have any more free time, at least if you are trying to get your head around the Russian language!

On the vocabulary front I've now got over 6000 words in Anki that are mature. I'm also making steady progress towards 7000 which is my goal in terms of reaching a C1 level. Although of course there's a lot more to C1 than vocab!

I try to wind down at the end of the day with a bit of film watching, with most films taking several days to complete. As this is relaxation, I cheat and have English subs switched on. Recent titles include:


There's more to update on, but it's late here. Will try to follow up in the next day or two...
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