https://www.duolingo.com/EranWhetst

A Comment About The Russian Course Structure

EranWhetst
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Hi, I didn't know where to post this, so I hope one of the creators or contributors of the course will see this. First of all, thank you very much creating this course! It is really awesome! So I began learning Russian and reached the "Where is it" skill. It has a very informative "Tips & Notes" section, but I had a problem with this skill because it is placed before the skills that teach about the different cases in Russian. Many people don't even know what cases are, not to speak about how to form them in Russian. You just used words like accusative and dative and "prep." which I had to figure out their meaning by myself. And again, not to speak about figuring out how to form the different case conjugations. I just saw that there are lessons about the Russian cases, so maybe it solved the problem if the "Where is it" skill would just be placed a little later in the course.

Also, are words going to have their genders written under them, like in the German course?

Thank you very much for listening. Even if you are not one of the people who are capable of changing the course, comments that might explain why is it like this are welcome.

3 years ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
garpike
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It would be nice if the case(s) of a particular word were put in parentheses after the definition on mouse-over. The Polish course does this and it's very helpful.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clive.Thomas
Clive.ThomasPlus
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This would certainly help a lot. At the moment I have no idea what the cases are.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clive.Thomas
Clive.ThomasPlus
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Not entirely related to your comment, but just about Russian in general.

I have no prior introduction to Russian, the Duo course is my first and only exposure to the language.

I have read that Russian is one of the more difficult languages to learn, and I would have to concur. I find the changes in especially the nouns almost disturbing - of course I am used to verbs conjugating, this is true for most languages. However, the Russian change in nouns still makes no sense to me whatsoever - I can only hope that this will become clearer later in the course. At the moment it seems almost random.

One of the wacky cases is when in some sentences the nouns seem to resemble the plural form, but end up being singular anyway. Pretty strange. Results in guesswork for me most of the time.

My attack at the moment is simply to wing it - much of the time I look at the Russian sentence and my eyebrows shoot up. Wow. Simply alien. Lots of wrong answers.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
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Your confusion is probably related to the behaviour of nouns like мама, кошка, неделя. This class of feminine nouns has identical endings for Genitive singular and Nominative plural:

  • Singular GEN.: ма́мы, ко́шки, неде́ли
  • Plural NOM.: ма́мы, ко́шки, неде́ли

Many of them have identical forms in Genitive singular and Nominative plural. Note, however, that such overlap may or may not occur for any given noun because some nouns belong to stress patterns with different stress in these forms:

  • Singular NOM. : сестра, река́, земля́, страна́, война́, жена́
  • Singular GEN. : сестры, реки́, земли́, страны́, войны́, жены́
  • Plural NOM. : сёстры, ре́ки, зе́мли, стра́ны, во́йны, жёны

The second point is how nouns behave when combined with numbers. As Russian used to have Dual number (which then was replaced by Genitive singular), the system is rather counterintuitive to an English speaker:

  • 1 cat = одна кошка
  • 2 cats = две кошки
  • 5 cats = пять кошек
  • 21 cats = двадцать одна кошка
  • 22, 23, 24 cats = двадцать две (три, четыре) кошки
  • 25 cats = двадцать пять кошек
  • a lot of cats = много кошек
3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/toomath
toomathPlus
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Another strategy is never to own enough cats to need anything beyond кошки!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clive.Thomas
Clive.ThomasPlus
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Thanks for the detailed reply. I had guessed that something like this was happening - unfortunately for me, the cases in German (closest to this that I know) are not my strong point.

The word "counterintuitive" is an excellent one. I do find it that :)

I will press on and hope that (similar to the German) I get a kind of a feel for it as time passes.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
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By the way, no one will say you are silly if you just carry around a handy table of endings. You do not even have to include everything. Genitive, Accusative and Prepositional are probably those you need the most. ESPECIALLY Genitive because it is one of the most used cases in Russian.

We try to go easy on adjectival endings, though. The oblique cases for adjectives and numbers are only addressed closer to the 4th checkpoint.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cherub721
cherub721
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You could try using this course on memrise http://www.memrise.com/course/378212/duolingo-russian-full-audio/ It's not perfect, but I do try to put in a lot of examples of the changing cases and explain how/why they changed. Plus, it has great audio from Shady_arc.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Clive.Thomas
Clive.ThomasPlus
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I will definitely try this. Thanks for the link.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pvtilburg
pvtilburgPlus
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I want to take the opportunity to thank you both for your work! Using this Memrise course as a supplement for the Duolingo course helps a great deal!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cherub721
cherub721
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I'm glad it's helping!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EranWhetst
EranWhetst
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Don't be scared of people saying some languages are hard to learn. It is both not accurate and subjective. If you've learned German, it shouldn't be so hard for you to understand the concepts of the conjugations of Russian words. As one who speaks Hebrew, English, Esperanto and a little German, so far I don't really find it hard to understand those concepts of Russian, so the difficulty of a language is very dependent of who's speaking.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LauraElizabethR

I'm not advanced enough to be dealing with cases in Russian yet, but I totally second your comment about genders. I'd completely forgotten that Russian nouns have genders until I realized I was learning multiple ways to say "my." Especially since there are no articles, which is usually how I (and I presume other people) remember noun genders.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
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Attaching "my" or "this" to a noun is probably the easiest match you can find to learning German nouns with an article.

Unfortunately, it will become pretty pointless after a hundred or so nouns because, unlike in German, in Russian you can tell the gender of most nouns if you know their dictionary forms (which you usually do).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/duckmaestro

It would be a huge help if the "Words" section that Spanish/German has came to Russian too, including showing the gender of each word.

3 years ago
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