Questions about Russian Courses

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tangleweeds
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Questions about Russian Courses

Postby tangleweeds » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:33 am

tl;dr: I wanna learn Russian.
* Where can I (in the US) get a good price on Assimil Russian (for English speakers)?
* What other courses should I look at? I like grammar, native speaker recordings, and text to read along as I listen.

I've acquired a new Russian friend, so I've been playing with "Learn Cyrillic!" phone apps, and trying to find the best price on Assimil Russian (for English speakers). Amazon itself wants $175! Sellers on Amazon want ~$100. Assimil's listed price is currently about $75 USD. I paid a lot less (on Amazon) for New French with Ease. What are my other buying options?

Are there online foreign language media retailers I should know about, maybe something like YesAsia.com but for Europe? I don't mind ordering things from afar if it's advantageous; a transatlantic package is way more fun than another Amazon Prime box. 8-)

Teach Yourself also has a newish (2013) "Get Started in Russian Absolute Beginner Course" that has yet to receive an intelligent review on Amazon. Considering that my first attempt at Russian (2010) went >!splat!< against the steep learning curve, and Assimil Russian was said to advance quickly, I wonder if gentler beginning might be good to start. Has anyone seen/heard this in person?

I'm also curious how different the current iteration of the standard Teach Yourself [Complete] Russian (Daphne West) is from previous iterations, as TY tends to recycle content. If older versions have more grammar then I can hunt them out.

Other course recommendations are very welcome too. I do best with approaches that have bilingual texts (paper or ebook) with clear audio, plus enough grammar to keep my geek-brain feeling grounded. But I also welcome any suggestions that have native speaker audio to mimic, and/or comprehensible text at a novice level (I'm one of those that needs to see things written out to remember them).
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby Xmmm » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:55 am

I got my Assimil course here: http://www.schoenhofs.com

For Russian my best resources other than Assimil are Glossika and LingQ. Duolingo is okay (it does have the advantage of being free).
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby Arnaud » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:26 am

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Last edited by Arnaud on Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby smallwhite » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:11 am

tangleweeds wrote:and text to read along as I listen.


russianforeveryone.com
Note especially "Listen and read along" which is "Step 5", and click on the blue Russian words.
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby neofight78 » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:58 am

There's a good free online course he with plenty of audio: http://learnrussian.rt.com
You can find answers to the exercises here: http://www.explaura.net/learnrussian-rt-com/

Regarding grammar Schaum's Russian Grammar is a nice halfway house between a course and a full reference. I also quite like the Teach Yourself "Russian Grammar You Really Need To Know".

If you hit a steep learning curve last time, and this is understandable with Russian, I think it would be worth getting a teacher to help and who can also adapt to whatever your style/needs are. Also if they are any good they should be able to dig out a whole bunch of resources for you that are not readily available elsewhere. I'd like to recommend my own tutor Tatiana, but of course feel free to shop around. If you like audio and text together she also does a couple of podcasts with transcripts here and you can get the rss streams if needed here.

I hope that's good for starters. Russian is hard but incredibly awesome, so enjoy the ride! :D
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby neofight78 » Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:03 am

Oh, I forgot: LingQ has a bunch a material i.e. text + audio, but avoid the official LingQ courses and go straight for the stuff created by the tutors on the site.

This is probably better for the intermediate learner but you could give школа жизны a try, there's a whole heap of articles with text and audio there.
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby Speakeasy » Mon Nov 23, 2015 12:05 pm

If you respond well to the audio-lingual method / FSI-basic-style of language learning, that is, the massive repetition of sentence-pattern drills, then you might wish to consider "Modern Russian" by Dawson. Here is a link to a discussion thread on the HTLAL: http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/fo ... 40601&PN=2
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby tarvos » Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:58 pm

Arnaud wrote:
tangleweeds wrote: What are my other buying options?

You can only buy the book and find the audio in a library (cough, cough)... :lol:
Otherwise you can consider Ruslan, it's a good course for russian, imho, in 3 volumes (see my log for further infos)


I hated Ruslan with a passion...
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby Speakeasy » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:40 pm

Two additional comments:

Beginner's Russian
The U.C.L.A. offers a multi-media introductory course in Russian via their website: http://www.russian.ucla.edu/beginnersrussian/ which you can FREELY access by clicking on the "Student's Corner" line of their webpage. While it would be "possible" to follow the course without the aid of the
accompanying textbook (http://www.amazon.com/Beginners-Russian ... ian+course) which, to a certain extent, serves as a user guide for the online course, given the very low price, I highly recommend that a student purchase it. I have looked at the Customer Reviews on Amazon and, from my own experience with the course, they reflect the positive comments of genuine users. In my view, the one very negative review concerning the functionality of the website is not completely invalid. That is, yes, you might have to adapt to a few quirks; nevertheless, the course itself is a very solid low-level introduction to the Russian language. As the author's point out, by the end of this course, you won't be reading War and Peace in the original; however, you will have taken a huge, important step in the learning process.

Assimil Russian
I have the Assimil courses for all of the languages that interest me: German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, and Russian. Like many members of this forum, I truly enjoy their approach to teaching. Nonetheless, I support the oft-stated criticism of the Assimil method as to the weakness of the explanations of grammar. In addition, the pace or learning-curve of some of the individual courses can be breathtakingly steep. In my view, the latter comment applies to Assimil Russian and, for this reason, given the availability of so many other options for learning what-is-for-native-English-speakers a difficult language, I would not begin my studies with Assimil Russian. Rather, I would begin with some other very basic method and use Assimil as additional practice material.
Last edited by Speakeasy on Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Questions about Russian Courses

Postby Arnaud » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:42 pm

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