A Quick Question
I am about 1/3 through the course, and I have been working on it since it first came out. I am having a bit of trouble with, well, everything. Would it be helpful to use a "cheat sheet" for spelling, tenses, cases, etc., or should I just keep slowly plowing through and via repetition learn it? I have heard pros and cons for both, but it seems that learning a new alphabet as well as a language is throwing me off. I didn't have as much trouble with the Greek alphabet, but that might be because my familiarity with Latin smoothed over a lot of the vocab, cases and tenses. Perhaps writing things down would also help.
I have also started the reverse tree to help cement things. I am only learning Russian right now, while trying to maintain gold on French and German. I have learned that only one new language at a time is the best way for me!
Я люблю русский язык и я учусь его!
Well, use a cheat sheet for things you have trouble with, and also try working on those things. Then slowly start solidyfying cases and endings that are most common.
If you want to stick to the correct forms automatically, I think there is no way around drilling these things specifically, removing every other variable. Say, you have trouble choosing the correct case with в/на. To fix that, you can note as many places as you can, and repeatedly try saying things like Я в Москве / Я еду в Москву or Я на площади / Я иду на площадь.
I try to struggle with something a bit, then look it up if I can't figure it out - either on a cheat sheet or in a dictionary or .... I liked making a cheat sheet for my case endings on nouns, adjectives, etc. because it helped me organize it in my mind. (Also, I have never been a good "memorizer," more of an "understander.") I think I would find just trying to knock things into my head by repetition very tedious and unenjoyable. And I don't see the point of trying to fill in an answer when I haven't a clue - it makes more sense for me to look something up and try to figure out a way to remember it.
To automate speaking and understanding, I will need that repetition, but a lack of forward progress would be very frustrating to me.
But that is my style of learning. You don't have to follow a format - experiment with different things, and see what works for you.
Best of luck!
PS You can also look on Memrise for some vocabulary and case practice flashcards.
I personally believe that "dumb repetition" is the least effective learning method. It's good to repeat and memorize things you already know/understand, not things you have no idea about, otherwise you will not know how to deal with similar cases when you meet them later. I also believe that the best way to learn is to make your own notes of everything, organizing it in your own way and to use all channels of perception - listening, speaking, writing, tapping, typing, staring etc.
So...why not use a cheat sheet that you made yourself? Write down everything you have trouble with, make your own notes and then refer to it when you feel you are stuck. It will be easier for you to recall your own writing and you will have better navigation in it.
Hello. I only started about 5 months ago myself, so I may not be in the best position to give advice. However, having just been through the same process myself very recently, perhaps the opposite is true.
My advice would be to try the following:
(1) Use this site (http://www.russianlessons.net/grammar/nouns_genitive.php: all other cases on the left) to work out the relevant declension by following the step-by-step instructions. This process will give you the correct answer more often than not.
(2) Try to remember the words where the step-by-step approach doesn't work. With those words, all the declensions are available here (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D1%81%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0%B0%D0%BA%D0%B0). So, whenever you come to use an "exception" word, you learn to look here instead.
(3) Once you've got that down to fine art, learn how to put feminine nouns ending in "а" into the accusative case.
(4) When you've done that, learn how to put feminine nouns ending in "я" into accusative.
(5) Then remember that masculine and neuter inanimate nouns don't change and neither do feminine nouns ending in the soft sign.
(6) And then, VOILA, forgetting plurals and the animate nouns (which will be dealt with when you move on to Genitive anyway), you've just learnt your first case.
(7) Enjoy a beer or three, or a falafel, if you prefer.
(8) Recover, and repeat this process step-by-step, one case and one declension at a time, until you: (a) completely lose your marbles; or (b) decide that this is, in fact, quite a rewarding process (since rewarding small achievements often makes you feel good more often). Hopefully it'll be (b), and if so, I guarantee within 2 months this whole thing will look quite possible, and, if you're very lucky, might even start to seem natural.
(9) Enjoy having amazed yourself.
You have clearly described what appears to be a set of effective strategies. Thanks for sharing the steps and the links!
It would not be a good idea to use a cheat sheet, since you might never learn that way. A subtitled film works really well also. You would watch it in the language you're learning, but have the subtitle in your fluent language. Hope this helps!
Once you have acquired some familiarity in a given language, using the subtitles in that language can be very useful to understand spoken dialogue that may not be comprehensible, and still reinforce your learning. I did this with French and Spanish movies and TV programs on Netflix, and found it to be a very effective strategy. Using the subtitles in my fluent language at that point would probably have hindered, rather than helped, my learning.
I think you ask an excellent question! I found that organizing and writing the vocabulary, conjugations, declensions, et cetera in a notebook was very useful for me, even if I did not use it as a "cheat sheet". Learning through repetition has its benefits, but I would find it to be an inefficient learning process without some systematic ordering of the information on my part.
I compiled a lot of notes while going through the course, and since completing the tree I am revising them for greater clarity while I redo a lot of the lessons.
I have been thinking about you - and I think if you are not yet very familiar with the Russian alphabet, you should find a YouTube alphabet video that you like and study that separately. It will really hold you back a lot to not know Cyrillic quite well. You don't have to quit studying Russian, but take 10 minutes every day to just study the alphabet (writing it is really good for you). Try to have a break between that and your Russian - so it is like a separate subject. (Mind you, I still occasionally write, say, the Russian "р" as the English "p" - but if I stop to think, I know it.) You will learn it well very quickly and everything will go better.
Another thing that is helpful for me, and that I am so frequently forgetting to do, is to say every sentence out loud. It is another way to get it into your head.
Good luck - it's a fascinating language!
You are right. I have done a Memrise course on the alphabet, but I still have a bit of trouble with some of the letters. I thought that knowing the Greek alphabet meant I really didn't have to study the Cyrillic as much, but there are still quite a few differences.
I do say the sentences out loud. I made that a habit when I started Duo and it is certainly helpful.
Thanks for the tips!