I Finished the Russian Tree!
Woo hoo! I finished my Russian tree tonight! It was my goal to have it done by tomorrow, but I figured that I was so close to getting it done that I might as well just finish it today. Prior to this course, I had done a year of high school Russian (so long ago that I had forgotten how to read Cyrillic or write the cursive Cyrillic alphabet though), and I did Rosetta Stone Russian 1 last summer. This is my third completed tree.
I left my impressions of this course after I passed the third checkpoint, so here are how my impressions have changed over the remainder of the course:
Typing is getting a lot easier. Occasionally, I will press the wrong key, but I don't have to think about it much any more.
Russian spelling is getting easier. It is still difficult, but my ear is getting better, and occasionally I will hear the ь after a letter or something and type it right, and I'll be all excited. Of course, with repetition, I'm learning the more common words without having to sound them out.
The earlier exercises seem to be accepting more correct answers. Yay! The last few skills seem to be the most buggy, but I would imagine that that would be a result of fewer people getting the chance to send in reports from there yet.
The more I see of Russian, the more it seems that the way the language works together makes sense. Like the way that similar words often have similar roots, or how you can change the endings to some words to turn nouns into adjectives or adverbs. I'm still trying to piece it all together, but I like it so far.
Thank you Russian team for this great course! Now the challenge is to get my tree golden again. I stopped strengthening when I realized that the Thanksgiving holiday would make finishing the tree this month with a golden tree almost impossible.
I've been studying Spanish for three years at the moment, and I still don't understand 100%, although I can often pick out the topic and some details (just for comparison).
I still have a long way to go with Russian. When I am trying to construct conversations in my head, I can come up with a lot of sentences in my head, although sometimes a simple word might elude me. I definitely need to practice more, but I have plenty of resources do do that with.
Right now, I'm doing a challenge where I am listening to 150 hours of Spanish and reading 5000 pages of text in 20 months. This is the last month, so I've already done most of the challenge. The next challenge starts in May 2016, and I'll probably do the challenge with Russian. It's amazing how much your language skills can grow when doing a challenge like that.
You sign up through Twitter. When you are done reading or watching, you report to the Twitter bot, and it adds everything up for you. 50 pages counts as 1 "book", and 90 minutes (podcasts, movies, etc.) counts as one "film".
It's run by some people from how-to-learn-any-language.com. It's possible that they might change the rules for the next challenge (the challenge for 2012/2013 required 100 pages for a "book" which is a lot harder). They're likely to discuss the rules of next year's challenge sometime before it starts over on those boards.
You can sign up for more than one language too. I may or may not also sign up for Spanish, since I plan on reading the Bible in Spanish next year, but if I do, my main focus would be to do the Russian challenge, since that's the language that I want to work on. My goal in Spanish will be to primarily maintain what I already have, and slowly improve as I use it for doing things that I might normally do in English.
Oh, I usually only register the books I read after every 50 pages. It's too hard to count otherwise. I get National Geographic in Spanish, and since they're approximately 100 pages an issue, I count those as 2 "books". For movies, I just look up how long the movie runs and put that in. For podcasts, iTunes tells me how long they are. When I listen to the radio, I write down when I start listening and then calculate it from there. I usually add the audio up and tell the bot how much I did at the end of the day.