Which alphabet do you use?
Since I just started a topic about encouraging to learn Cyrillic, I would like to gather some data on how many people actually use the Latin transcription.
So please tell me in this poll which system you are using: http://goo.gl/1FC2Hm
I know this is not necessarily representative for the majority of the learners, but it might nevertheless be interesting. Also, did you know Cyrillic before starting the course? Or did you have to learn it from scratch. If so, was it difficult for you?
Edit: Thank you all for your answers! We got some very interesting results there. I already suspected that most people would use Cyrillic but almost everybody? Seems like my fear was unnecessary. :-)
I use Cyrillic. I did learn Cyrillic when I first became interested in learning Russian a year ago or so... So, I did know it before I started the course but I still had to learn it from scratch, just not with the course. I found it to be pretty easy, one or two hours of work maybe until I was reasonably familiar with the letters?
I already knew Cyrillic before I started the course, I've read enough that I can read Cyrillic letters as easily as Latin. In fact I find it difficult to read Russian when transliterated. Besides, I hate transliterations. Russian is a beautiful language but it was made to be written in Cyrillic. It looks so ugly when transliterated.
I agree, the transliteration is also often quite off. I would prefer that the course would skip it altogether because in real life no one is using the transliteration and one must learn the alphabet. Or maybe it does stop using it at a later stage? I just started the course and haven't obviously progressed much yet. Of course, I have previous knowledge of Russian so maybe I'm being a bit too harsh towards people who find Cyrillic impossible.
It's pretty bad most of the time. Privet and da are about as obvious as it gets. But a lot of the ch and shch, sh, zh don't look very nice in a latin alphabet. (Don't have the Cyrillic alphabet installed so I can't show you which characters they are but mostly the ones that look a little like our w).
It beats me, how anyone can learn a language not using its alphabet. The idea looks terribly wrong to me.
I've been taught French at school, taught myself English and now am learning German. Every time I started with the alphabet.
How can you read Russian, not having mastered alphabet? And what's the use of learning a language if you cannot read a text in it?
In Russian there is an idiom: "начать с азов" - "to start with A's" (Az is the old name for the letter A), meaning "to start learning/explaining something from the very basic concept". As one can see from the idiom, the basic concept of Russian language is considered to be the alphabet.
I am using Cyrillic -- I didn't know it coming in, but when I started the course I also downloaded TenguGo's Cyrillic learning app. It's pretty easy, actually.
I use Cyrillic. And I've been able to read Cyrillic since I was young - learned it from a book on languages in my father's bookshelf. Even when I didn't know any Russian to go along with it :)
For typing, I use a Firefox add-on called "Transliterator" which lets you switch any text input box to another language. It comes with a couple of dozen transliterations, one of which is a phonetic Russian one, so I can type the letters "yashchik" and it comes out as "ящик".
Ah, this sounds very useful to me! I've been pretty dumb about figuring out how to get my computer to type in Cyrillic, so I've been doing the Latinised version - it's really difficult because when I try to put Duolingo into Cyrillic and type what I hear in Latin, I just get it wrong over and over (writing Y instead of I or vice versa, etc, it's never exactly right), so I put it back into Latin so that I can actually get through the exercises. It's really frustrating though because it means I'm not really learning Russian properly, just a phonetic version. I can't really read Cyrillic - I can generally read people's names (I read Russian sport websites a lot) but aside from that nothing. I want to learn though! I'm going to get that add-on! Thank you!!
You might need to move your tongue around a bit. The sound х is a velar fricative. Velar means it's prononuced in the same position as k and g, and fricative means it's a hissing sound. Try modifying the sound slightly, but keep the same basic technique. I hope it helps you! (It's also the same sound as the ch in German, if that helps any.)
The letter ъ separates a hard consonant from a soft-indicating vowel. For example, if I wanted to combine об and ект, I would get обект (not a real word). But what I wanted the б to be hard? The е is making it soft! I would have to put a hard sign in there. объект (object). The hard sign is pronounced like a slight pause. Long enough to keep the letters separate. It's almost like saying two different words, об and ект, in rapid succession. Remember that the б still has to be hard, and so you still need that slight pause provided by the ъ.
I use Cyrillic. I learnt this when I was young (not yesterday…). I had a challenge with the keyboard, though. First I started to use ЙЦУКЕН keyboard set on my Mac, than based on hints received from other users I switched to phonetic keyboard set. I suffered a lot with ЙЦУКЕН keyboard set during the first days, and I am so happy to get rid of it. Phonetic keyboard set works perfectly for me, after few weeks I can type with ten fingers. Overall I enjoy using Cyrillic letters - gives a lot of fun. Transliterated text looks really odd, I did not even consider using it.
Knew Cyrillic from when I took Russian as a beginner in my first year of university, although I didn't maintain the language at all. It wasn't tough, although my pronunciation of Ы probably still leaves something to be desired.... I imagine with the kind of spaced-repetition systems available now, like Anki, it would be extremely easy for people to pick it up without putting in much effort.
If you're not enjoying the phonetic approximation way of doing things, I strongly suggest getting transparent stickers for your keyboard, so that you can have both Latin and Russian alphabets available on the same keys, switching between them during lessons with one click of the floating language bar. If you do this, make sure that the Cyrillic letters are a different colour to your Latin letters, as otherwise it could get messy/confusing to look at.
I knew absolutely no Cyrillic, but the video and the image linked in the intro page to the course really, really helped. I started with the Russian alphabet from the first lesson after getting a decent grip on the phonetics, I don't see much point in learning Russian without the alphabet, as I've never seen Russian transliterated anyway.
I am using Cyrillic exclusively. I decided to start learning Russian just a few days before the course went beta, and found some videos that helped me get familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet in preparation for the duolingo course.
It's a struggle reading Cyrillic, but I'm getting there. I switched the switch to transliterated characters one time, and thought that it looked like a completely different language, so I immediately switched back to Cyrillic.
I have found that hovering over a word to hear its pronunciation when I forget the sound of a Cyrillic letter to be much more helpful than relying on transliteration.
I use both, I try to exercise cyrilic but I keep changing between them to try to match the latin version with the cyrillic version I plan on using only cyrillic in the future, but before I fully learn the alphabet and how to speak it that's too hard..
EDIT: I had never tried to learn cyrillic in my life. I exercise the first few lessons every day, when I feel I 'grasped' both the vocabulary and the cyrillic, I move on. It's a very slow process :p
Do you use a Mac? If so when you choose the Cyrillic keyboard you can also click the keyboard language button and choose "show keyboard viewer."
If on Windows, maybe there's a similar feature, or you can get a picture from the internet of the layout and use that as a reference :)
Or if you want to spend a couple dollars and wait a couple days, maybe you can buy some stickers to put on your keyboard or a keyboard dust cover that has the other language.
Practice makes perfect! You'll slowly get faster at typing it. I bet you weren't so fast at typing when you first started English. :)
I use Cyrillic and I learned it by myself before starting the course though I'm still very slow at reading. Didn't know how to type in Russian at first but got used to it fairly quickly because Duolingo forces me to type in Russian all the time which is nice. It's really fun to type in Russian!
I'm using Cyrillic. I have studied Russian long long time ago so I knew the alphabet coming in, but I never learned to type it so typing is an entirely separate problem. But I think using Cyrillic is a much better idea if you want to take your Russian studies seriously (using transliterations just doesn't make sense to me).
Is there no "Keyboard" in your "Settings"? Major janguages has long ceased to be a headache on big OS's. Just remember that you do not need to change the interface language of your system. What you want is to just add a language and a keyboard layout to your input methods.