31 August 2005

"Cyrillic flash cards"

I found a site with a free database for creating your own Russian-French or Russian-English flash cards. You have to have a database software like Microsoft Access to use the file.


Boy, I'm slow

I realized the other day that I had a bunch of unposted comments! For some reason your comments were being moderated and I had no idea. I hope I've fixed that problem now.

I guess I took a 2-month break from my Russian lessons. I had no motivation during August for book work. Now that the weather is a little less humid and cruel, I am feeling more energetic and ready to hit the books.


Postcards from Minsk: The symbolic city gates in the railway station square

Сiмвалiчныя вароты горада на Прывакзальнай плошчы

There's a clock tower on the left; the coat of arms is on the right.


05 August 2005

It's that time of the year...

It's hot. Really hot and muggy out. And you know what that means:
It's time to buy school supplies.

I am no longer a student, but the really hot and muggy weather makes me yearn to visit Office Depot and buy a 5-subject notebook and some new pens.

So today I decided that I should sign up for the Russian 101 class at my local university. I briefly doubted my decision because then I would no longer be self-acquiring this language, but...


I went to the University bookstore first and checked out the textbooks for the class. It's a text called Голоса that is a (used) hardback, a workbook, and some CDs. Cool.

Next I went to look at the Fall class schedule. They have a class offered on Mon/Wed from 11:30 - 12:30. Really cool! I can go during my lunch break.

Lastly, I went to the money office to find out how much undergraduate tuition costs.

OK, I'll stick to self-acquired.

I bought the textbooks anyway. I can use them on my own!


04 August 2005

Frequency word lists, are they helpful?

I spied a book on Amazon today, Russian Learner's Dictionary: 10,000 Words in Frequency Order. In fact, Amazon is recommending it to me (surprise!). And it does, indeed, look like a great book for me.

Do frequency word lists really help beginning learners? I definitely need some help on acquiring new Russian vocabulary, but I have been working under the assumption that it is best to learn vocabulary in context.

From John Dingley in the Canadian Modern Language Review:

There is much in RLD which is to be applauded and which, I am certain, will ensure that the work is widely used. This is not just a list of words. It contains much useful and necessary grammatical information, such as noun stress patterns. There is good cross-referencing, especially with respect to verbal aspectual pairs. The English glosses are succinct but adequate. Contextual examples are given for the first 600 words, which is helpful; I would have liked to see this exemplification for all entries. At the end of the book (pp. 309-429) there is an index giving the words in alphabetical order, which, again, is a most useful feature of the book.
Perhaps frequency word lists are helpful when learning a language with the assistance of a teacher. Would a vocabulary list be helpful to me as I learn on my own?

Recently my lack of vocabulary was made very evident to me. A colleague, who had learned of my Russian hobby, came by my office to ask me to translate an airplane flight manual that he had acquired (along with the airplane). I, of course, knew NONE of the words in the manual except "Section 1." My colleague seemed disappointed in my lack of Russian language abilities. He even seemed downright downtrodden. I spent some time looking up words in the dictionary in order to decipher the text, but this was not what he had intended by asking for my assistance.



03 August 2005

Funny English

Lynnora gives some funny English sentences from Belarussians who speak English as a second language. I'm certainly not laughing at the speakers... I know EXACTLY what it feels like to say something totally ridiculous in a foreign language because I have no alternative way to express my thoughts.
I particularly enjoyed Lynnora's second sentence.


Postcards from Minsk: The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Sts. Simon and Helen (The Red Church)

Касцёл Св. Сiмяона i Алены

It was built in the early 20th century under the sponsorship of the Vainilovich family who wanted to immortalize their children Simon and Helen who died unexpectedly of an unknown disease. At one point, the Cathedral was set for demolition, but it was saved by being renovated into a movie theater. Today it has been given back to the Roman Catholic Church; masses are said in Belarussian.