Vocab & Cases Study
So I have been banging around with Russian for a few months now. I've recently discovered Duolingo and I really enjoy how things are done, but the whole "case / declension / variable ending" thing is just killing me.
As such, I thought I would ask how everybody deals with this. I have a pro account with Quizlet, which is fine, but as I come across different endings for words I feel obligated to make more cards which quickly turns into a mess (plus it's boring).
I get that there are general rules for the endings, but I have trouble memorizing things raw, so I need to use them. I thought about scraping individual cards and creating sentences instead, but I haven't decided yet. Anyway, some insights will be appreciated :)
Спасибо in advance!
Hi there! I understand how you're feeling, and I think cases are the hardest part of learning Russian. It is one of those things, the more you use cases the more natural and habitual it becomes, and soon enough you do it without realising :)
Sometimes, reading from textbooks and computers does not always help. Duolingo is great because it is interactive, therefore you use the cases. I approached it from this angle. I would dedicate a whole week to one case. So for example, this week is my Instrumental case week. I print out a sheet about all the case endings and stick it on my wall and constantly look at it. I make flash cards to test myself. But do you know what the most important thing is? To use what you have revised! Putting it into use, and writing sentences and using it is so important, as not only are you inlcluding it into everyday use, you are understanding why you need to use it. So making up sentences and maybe using cases to speak to native speakers is the BEST idea. And then at the end of the week, TEST YOURSELF! :)
I study a different case every week and go back around in a circle, so I am revising all cases numerous times. It is very easy to let them slip. But soon they become habitual.
So don't worry, just keep digging away at them, and take your time learning them, and make it as fun as possible and interactive.
Take care and good luck!
You give some excellent advice! Your strategies require self-discipline, but they are very effective.
Well, thank you very much :) It definitely takes self-discipline which is the tricky part, but i find if you stick to it, you do see results fast. But people learn in different ways. I learn quicker by constantly exposing myself to the same things. :D Thank you for your compliment. :)
I first learned prepositional because it was easiest. Then instrumental, which isn't that bad either. First the singulars then the plurals. Later on I tried to learn the conjugations like театр,театра,театру,театр,театром,театре. Then I try to find expressions to learn like "идём с нами". And finally I'm practising on Duolingo.
Borrow all the Russian courses you can find at your nearest library and read the textbooks through. Practice, practice and practise on Duolingo. Whenever someting is to hard, google it, read about it, learn small parts of it, or learn the main rule only. Still to hard? Leave for some time and learn something else. Get back to it in a week or a month.
Find your own way to learn. Learn from different perspectives and with different metods. Make up your own methods.
If nothing helps get yourself a Russian spouse and start over. ;)
I'm really struggling with the Russian cases, and I think it's mostly because I still haven't found/made a nice set of materials to practice the cases at the same time side by side. For example, the Duolingo skill tree (like most resources) groups sentences by case, so that you get a bunch of words in genitive, or a bunch of words in instrumental, etc., but hardly ever get to see the same word in nominative, genitive, instrumental, etc. in close succession. I think that grouping exercises by case makes learning when to use the case more convenient, but makes learning how to decline the words more difficult.
It's certainly a more difficult approach than how I managed to wrap my head around the 15 cases in Finnish, where I spent more time early on looking the declensions for a word side by side, and with some sort phrases for chunking if it was convenient. Actually, I find chunking more effective than just rhythmically chanting words in some sort of fixed case order. Once the declensions felt natural and fluent, and I could relatively quickly put a new word into a certain case, then I could move on to getting used to knowing which case I am supposed to use in a sentence (which is taking me years, but it's much easier to focus on that when I'm not also distracted by having to think about how the individual words change, too!).