Passed the 3rd Checkpoint
I passed the 3rd checkpoint yesterday, and I really like the course. Here are my impressions so far:
There is a long string of lessons where the cases are being introduced that just kick my butt! They're getting easier, but the first time through, and even the first couple of times strengthening, have been very difficult. I know that they will get easier with time, but wow!
Typos were a major problem, especially at the beginning. I've been touch-typing the QWERTY keyboard for a long time, and I'm now touch-typing the ЙЦУКЕНГ keyboard, but I'm so much slower in Russian. I'm making fewer mistakes now, but this will take many people a lot of time to get used to.
Russian spelling! Wow! So many of the Russian vowels sound similar. It takes a while to get used to. The listening exercises can be tough. Of course, the endings are important because they determine the case.
It's exciting to be in a beta course, but it can be frustrating when you normally say something one way, and the course won't take it, but it will take another phrase that means the exact same thing. At the same time though, I find it interesting, because there are so many regional variations of how people say things, even among English speakers. I know that the team is working hard on those reports too :-).
It's interesting how individual courses vary in their personalities. For example, German is now including sentences about Duo wanting to be a penguin and a horse eating a holy potato, while Russian is including sentences about Belarus and Kazakhstan (hopefully I spelled that last one right). I like the variety.
The course is great so far, and I'm guessing that I learned more so far than I learned in a year of high school Russian... or at least, I probably learned almost the same amount. They did spend an entire month (out of a 9 month school year) going over the alphabet though. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the last half of the course. Thank you Team Russian!
One of the things I've appreciated as I get to the bottom of the tree (six skills left! so near yet so far!) is that there are very few really long skills - there were a few ten lesson skills down the bottom of the Esperanto tree that sapped my will to live and slowed me right down. I don't know why several smaller skills feels easier to stick with than one long one, but it does. I'm on Science, which I think is the last long skill at nine lessons; fortunately I think the subject matter will make this one not feel too deadly!
I feel like the Russian tree is generally more serious in tone than some, though there have been some great silly sentences and (intentional or not) fun allusions in a lot of them, too.
Also there are some really random but fun skills; like the history skill, which is history and fantasy, so you learn shooting a bow and shields and swords, but you also get wizards and dragons! :D
(I wanna be a wizard!) Yes, I agree with you flootzavut about it being easier (In my opinion.) to go through lots of shorter skills rather than longer ones. Heck, I have a hard time even getting through the seven lesson skills. (I am seriously two skills away from the second checkpoint, but they're so hard! At least for me, because I grew up speaking English, a language as different from it as Russian is very hard for me to learn.)
I think it also depends on what words and things are being taught in the lesson - some of them seem really short. I know some of the lessons in later skills have like 14 answers till the end, and I just did a lesson in 'science' I got through in 9-10 questions? (I think the number it shows at the end is one less than the actual number of questions?) It probably also helps at this point it's mostly vocab being taught, apart from participles I seem to have largely got past the grammar lessons, and the vocab lessons just seem shorter, I don't know if that's just my perception!
There's something about knocking down several short skills that I think just feels like you're making progress, where a skill with ten lessons feels like it's going on forever. One thing I do - and it might not suit everyone, I realise! - I tend to mix and match when there are several skills on one row. I don't always sit down and work my way through one and then move on to the next but I do a lesson from one and a couple of lessons from the next, and it just seems psychologically easier somehow!
Russian is tough, hang on in there. I'm very, very out of practice, but I do kinda sorta speak Russian, so in theory at least this is 'revision', which helps a lot I have great respect for people who started from scratch or from not very much and are still going strong, and even moving through the tree at a pretty fast lick. You're doing great, don't get discouraged! :)
Thank you so much, and good luck to you too! I've been trying to learn Russian for a little over a year now, using lots of different sites and finding the best resources. I wish I had someone to talk to around where I live that can speak the language, but hardly ANY people around where I live do speak it. The only person that I know personally that does is my cousin Margaret, who is much older than me. She lives in America like I do, but she went to college in Russia and so she speaks the language fluently. The only problem is that she lives in New York city, and I live in central Maine, so I'm about three states over from her. Although, my Grandpa (Margaret is on his side of the family.) said that he's going to talk to her and ask if she can send me a letter or something with some tips on how to speak the language and stuff. We're also probably going to get together soon, because (At least where I live, time zones might change this.) Christmas is only about a month away. sigh But then there's the fact that (Again, at least where I live.) Christmas advertisements have been up since a MONTH before Halloween. - . -
The history skill sounds like fun! Although it sounds a little out of place, it does make a little sense. All of the fantasy books that I read with bows and arrows also have the dragons and magicians. If you read medieval history books, some of them have some pretty incredible events thrown in that are written as if they were fact.
"Russian spelling! Wow! So many of the Russian vowels sound similar." It is a major point in Russian - words are rarely written down as they sound (though it's a breeze to read them). That's what the Russian children are taught in schools for several years. How to tell what is the first letter in "облака" and why it is so etc.
So, you are going down the same road that we, natives, went down in our days. Good luck to you!
I passed the first checkpoint a few days ago, and I'm still getting kicked around by certain things.
Especially differentiating Это from Эта, or when to use Моя etc. It's all just so difficult to remember.