Modern Russian I and 2 by Clayton Dawson

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BOLIO
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Modern Russian I and 2 by Clayton Dawson

Postby BOLIO » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:42 pm

After completing FSI Fast and another true beginner course, I would like to tackle Modern Russian. My question deals with the amount of time to complete 1 and 2. If I am spending an hour to 90 minutes every day, any idea how long?

My only experience that may equate to this course is FSI BASIC SPANISH. There I did each Unit at least three times and moved on. I did not truly master each section but felt comfortable with it. Is it recommended to drill it and kill it or just have a good understanding and move forward.

Thanks in advance,

BOLIO
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Re: Modern Russian I and 2 by Clayton Dawson

Postby Speakeasy » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:32 pm

Modern Russian 1 and 2
I am absolutely thrilled to see a discussion thread of "Modern Russian 1 and 2" by Clayton Dawson! My only hope is that this thread will not degenerate into -- yet another -- debate of the merits and the faults of the audio-lingual method of language instruction.

FSI Basic Russian
The FSI (Foreign Service Institute) was a co-sponsor of the project that ultimately led to the publication of the "Modern Russian 1 and 2" series of texts and accompanying audio recordings by Clayton Dawson et al. This major project was undertaken and completed at a time when there existed almost universal support of the audio-lingual method of language instruction amongst American academia. All of the sources that I have consulted on the Internet over the past ten years report that the FSI, rather than developing their own separate course, adopted the Dawson text for instruction of their students. For anyone who is familiar with the FSI Basic Spanish, FSI Basic French, FSI Basic German and other such courses, a review of the "Modern Russian 1 and 2" books could easily provoke an reaction of "déja vu" as to the methodology and the presentation of the materials.

Time to Complete
Given that you have had the experience of studying Spanish with FSI Basic Spanish course, and that you actually had the stamina to persevere to the ultimate completion, in my view, you have already displayed the capacity and willingness to complete the "Modern Russian 1 and 2" course. Thus, a question as to the time required to complete this course seems to be more a matter of one's ability to learn the Russian language. As you are probably aware, the FSI estimated that it would take approximately 1,100 hours of contact time with the these materials in a classroom with an instructor, six-to-eight carefully pre-screened students, six hours per day, five days a week, plus access to supplementary materials. As far as I understand, the three hours per day of after-class review and practice were not included in the FSI's aforementioned estimate.

I'll be frank here; I worked "on and off" with the "Modern Russian 1 and 2" course over a two-year period. My enthusiasm and motivation soared and plummeted. I love the audio-lingual approach, particularly at the Beginner-to-Intermediate level, after which even I would admit that one simply has to remove the training wheels and get into the traffic. I believe that my failure to complete the programme was due to my "being a visitor" to the Russian language, whereas my "unreserved passion" was permanently fixated on the German language. What does my experience tell me about your project? Well, I believe that you could "skim" the Modern Russian course, at rate of 90 minutes per day, in about a year; but this could easily be said of the Assimil Russian course or any other content-rich course.

Complete Set of Materials for Modern Russian 1 and 2
My understanding is that the complete set of course materials includes the following:
Modern Russian 1
Modern Russian 1 Workbook
Modern Russian 2
Modern Russian 2 Workbook
Modern Russian Instructor's Manual*
Audio Recordings**


*It is very important that you acquire a copy of the “Instructor’s Manual” because “Appendix A: Supplementary Pronunciation Drills” contains the texts accompanying the "sound drills" that are scattered throughout the student textbooks; the sound drills are keyed to specific Lesson Numbers in the textbooks. I find it quite odd that these very important drills were not included directly in the students’ textbooks!

**The audio recordings accompanying the “Modern Russian 1 and 2” course by Clayton Dawson are still available for purchase as CDs or cassettes via Amazon, et cetera. However, MP3 audio files are freely available via Indiana University's CeLt website. Here is the LINK: http://www.iu.edu/~celtie/russian_b09.html Please note that the "File Description" contains a list of the audio files. For the most part, the audio files are complete. If I recall correctly, a very agreeable feature of this set of recordings is that someone has taken the time to segment them into smaller sections. Unfortunately, there has been a “double posting” of some of the audio files and, as a result, some of them are missing from the set. I cannot recall which ones are so effected; however, you will easily recognize which ones are missing and, if you send me a Private Message, I will dig through my collection and forward you the files.

HTLAL Discussion Threads
Update/Edit: I conducted a quick "G-Search" of the HTLAL using "Modern Russian" as my search criterion. As I am sure you can appreciate, the search yielded a fair number of discussion threads, some of which made only a passing reference to the Dawson course, whereas others contained simple recommendations of this course as an introduction to the Russian language, most of which I have chosen to omit from the list below. Although many of the discussion threads that I included below do not explain in any particular detail how the course is structured, the benefits of using it, et cetera, I suspect that most commentators were working from a "common knowledge base" that the audio-lingual method was adopted for this course and that there was "shared agreement" as to the effectiveness of this method; hence, no need to discuss the "obvious" merits of these materials. I have included a link that makes mention of the "Princeton Russian course" as these materials, while conceived for classroom use, are freely available and represent an opportunity for additional practice. I have not searched the HTLAL for references to the "DLI Basic Russian course(s)" because I assume that you are aware of it/them and the opportunities that it/they represent. If there seems to be a preponderance of discussion threads wherein I have made comments, please be aware that this is only a passing illusion...

"Modern Russian 1-2" by Dawson et al
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=40601&PN=3

Modern Russian 1 & 2 by Clayton Dawson
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=14982&PN=29

Recommended Russian audio course?
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=39451&PN=8

Russian Resources Request
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=38841&PN=8

Which of these Russian programs is better
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=19683&PN=73

Complementing Pimsleur Russian with what?
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=22745&PN=63

Reorganized Princeton Russian Course
http://how-to-learn-any-language.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=25690

EDITED:
Inclusion of links to a selection of HTLAL discussion threads.
Addition of a Complete Set of Materials.
I have undoubtedly made a few typographical errors and, should I come across any, I will re-edit this post so as to correct them.
Otherwise, I think I'm done here!
Last edited by Speakeasy on Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:24 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Modern Russian I and 2 by Clayton Dawson

Postby blaurebell » Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:29 pm

I'm actually about to start with Modern Russian tomorrow! I have the book and the workbook for Modern Russian 1 and the audio version I have is 50h in total, mostly Russian. There are two versions of the audio apparently, one version with some English in the files, the other with mostly Russian I believe. The drills are the same, so the shorter Russian only version of the audio seems more efficient. Depending on how many passes it takes to feel comfortable with the drills it would take between 50-150h to cover just this audio material. How long you will need in actual days depends on how much of it you can bear in one go. I will try to make it through with a maximum of 2 passes doing 1h a day, but I might have to adjust along the way if it gets too difficult or boring.

If you're planning to buy the books, try to find a used copy of the original edition, since the new prints seem to be made from photocopies and the cyrillic might be hard to read. It's likely that you'll pay more for the workbook and you can probably skip it if you get your writing practice from somewhere else. Both textbooks are about 500 pages long each and most of it is just transcripts of the drills plus a few grammar explanations here and there. There are also cursive writing and reading exercises in the textbook that you can skip if you don't feel like writing by hand. Since there is no answer key to any of the exercises putting things on lang8 for corrections will imply typing anyway, which is why I will skip the cursive writing. I will practice the reading though, seems useful. The workbooks are about 150 pages long and I will skip all the "answer in full English sentences" exercises.
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Re: Modern Russian I and 2 by Clayton Dawson

Postby BOLIO » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:17 pm

Thank you both for the responses.

@blaurebell, I am watching your thread concerning this course. I am interested to see how you are working the course since you are very advanced compared to where my starting point will be.

@speakeasy what a post. Thank you for your efforts and resources. I will use all you have offered.

I am entering a solid intermediate level with my Spanish....at least I am really enjoying the listening and reading vs treating everything as studying. I usually set aside 3-4 hours of Spanish a day. I will carve out 45-60 minutes a day for Russian and am in no hurry. I will approach this differently than FSI Spanish. There I felt like I was in a race. I could get immediate feedback from my wife and friends who are native speakers. My work gives me opportunities to use Spanish as well.

Russian is different. There are native speakers in my area but not at every restaurant, dry cleaners or countless other businesses at my back door. Also, I will try attempt to have the material mastered to a higher percentage than I did in Spanish FSI. Before, 80-85% meant move ahead. I am thinking that I might try for a higher percentage. I am excited. Thanks again.

Russian will be approached differently. I will wait to speak for a while but listen from day one...just the opposite of Spanish. Thanks again for the input.
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Re: Modern Russian I and 2 by Clayton Dawson

Postby blaurebell » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:21 am

BOLIO wrote:@blaurebell, I am watching your thread concerning this course. I am interested to see how you are working the course since you are very advanced compared to where my starting point will be.


I think this course would actually be quite hard for a complete beginner. It just throws you in at the deep end, introduces 2 or 3 grammar concepts each lesson, past and present, cases, all in very quick succession. If you start on this and feel entirely lost, I suggest you do Russian World 1 on youtube first - don't follow it beyond the first course, it's super slow paced and the book it follows is much more boring than Modern Russian. It does a good job at explaining the alphabet and introducing all the basic grammar, present, accusative vs prepositional, conjugations and so on. If you still feel lost with Modern Russian after that, go through half of Duolingo first. Also, the language and cultural information is outdated. Putting my exercises from the workbook on lang8 I get lots of comments about how certain verbs aren't really used anymore and that nobody has to queue anymore nowadays, stuff like that :lol: It's a bit funny and interesting when you know, but you might say strange things if you use this as your only resource. For more current language the newest Assimil and Duolingo are good sources I'd say. The cultural observations in Assimil are spot on. I do think the drills in Modern Russian are helpful though, with lesson 3 and 4 I made hardly any mistakes in the written exercises after doing the audio drills.
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: 92 / 100 Дэвид Эддингс - Обретение чуда
: 7017 / 35000 LWT Known

: 7498 / 10000 French Pages
: 42 / 150 French native audio
: 127 / 150 peninsular Spanish audio


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