https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

How I first got into Russian... and why I'm picking it up again. Maybe ;-)

Some things just fester on, in the murky backwater of your mind, for decades. You think you're over them, but you so aren't...

http://multilingualbychoice.blogspot.com.es/2016/10/is-russian-worth-another-go.html

October 16, 2016

47 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

Yup. :-) I was broken up with Russian for about half the time you've been apart. We've been back again for about a year now. He needs much more attention than my other languages. But it's going way better than it ever was before.

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I'm delighted to hear it. If you have any special tips for keeping him sweet, pls share ;-)

Gosh, a four-digit streak...!!!

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin

May I join your club?
My current relationship with Russian has become a bit wonky; I admit to having ignored him for the past few weeks. He can at times turn rather complicated, but your post made me realise I should not give up on him so easily.
I also have fond memories of a previous relationship with Russian, back in the early 1980s. He's not easy to get rid of and turns up again unexpectedly, it seems.
(And kudos to you for that brilliant post you wrote!)

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Yes, please - I was feeling very lonely in my club all by myself.

On my way home this afternoon I bumped into a friend who ditched Russian FORTY(!) years ago. We went for an impromptu drink and I flashed my Duolingo app at her. I could see her eyes gleaming as she recognised some of the words... that Russian sure knows how to get his claws in real deep! It'll only be a matter of time before she joins the club.

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin

We might end up in some kind of harem...

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

...either that or boot camp...

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Zeitschleifer

At first it almost looked like a group of cheerleaders

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

He's not easy to get rid of and turns up again unexpectedly, it seems.

This is very, very true. I have seen it many times.

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

No other special tips here than be tenacious (cf. the streak ;-) ), and don't let the difficulty get you down. A Duolingo friend has resorted to learning Greek to make Russian seem relatively easier, but I'm not that crazy yet.

Lingvist.io and Memrise have been useful. I've definitely not gotten very far yet, but it's great to see that one year of dedicated learning gets you much further than three plus years of half-heartedness. There's a vague shimmer at the end of the tunnel...

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I've just requested an invite from Lingvist to their Russian course. I did the French one and sent them loads of feedback. I hope that'll sway them to give me a free ride on the Russian. Whoaaah! ;-)

October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

It seems different people get access to the Russian course at different times. I've had it for a week or so, but others have had it for longer. It shouldn't take long for you to gain access to it, I think.

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Tattamin

I got it today, yay!

October 21, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HalJam
  • 1510
October 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I see... your friend is my mother, am in a love-hate relationship with your spouse (sorry!) and your mother is my ex who still does pretty much everything for me ;-)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HalJam
  • 1510
October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

These relationships are sounding increasingly odd.. :-p

Since I have a very comfortable relationship with your "mother" (albeit one that only started in my teens) I feel I have to point out at verbiage isn't really specifically related to verbs.

Russian verbs are indeed horrible! I've come to accept that I won't really understand aspect or verbs of motion properly for a while yet, so I just keep learning new words for now and don't even worry too much about that stuff yet. I'm sure it's a very elegant system once you understand it.

German is like a childhood friend: we used to be closer, but then your mother took over and although we'll never lose touch completely, we just see each other occasionally. German's funnier, more relaxed cousin Dutch is messing up my relationship with German a bit.

French used to be a stroppy and snooty acquaintance, but Duolingo and later other resources have brought us closer, and now we have a businesslike -- and at times even warm -- relationship.

Estonian is my intellectual cousin, and Spanish is just a fun, party loving friend, who unfortunately doesn't get taken as seriously as he should be.

I don't yet know how my relationship with Russian is going to turn out, but I'm glad we're talking again. Well, Russian is writing and I'm reading, a bit.

I'd say we all seem to be in need of a bit of language therapy -- but I have the feeling this is the language therapy right here! X-)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HalJam
  • 1510
October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

Never let the truth get in the way of a good mnemonic! :-)

Yup, some things in Russian (and in Dutch) make more sense now that I know some French...

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I'm staying well away from those "horrible" verbs. At least for now. I guess once I get to them, they will make the French ones seem easy and that may be a pay off ;-)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

Yup, French already seems a bit easier (what, no cases -- except for with those pronouns?) in comparison. So that's an added benefit to learning Russian! :-)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HalJam
  • 1510
October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

I fear you may be right... my teacher spared us the more vexatious aspects of this language... I guess her objective was to keep the class going rather than having us run for the hills ;-)

Pls don't ruin my/our honeymoon period, I'm begging you!

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MissCamden

I like everyone in this bar.

A while back, I tried putting into words my relationship with every language duo offers, in the order it added them and had to like, stop after three : I had way too much to say about each & definitely sounded in need of some serious therapy, lol.

Russian & I are struggling right now. It's a real shame because I have been wanting to learn it since our brief dalliance back in '97! Mastered cursive and print scripts in one afternoon ( oh, to be young again ) & launched myself at it with an assimil method & a terrible transliterated phrasebook.

I think I lasted three weeks or something.

During the ensuing 20 years I never once stopped believing that I would one day try again and that my learning was simply on hold, lol.

I was over the moon when Russian joined the duo family and threw myself at the course enthusiastically.

This is one of my fondest duo memories actually. I couldn't read it, I couldn't write it, I had no idea what the heck was happening and just spent a lot of quality time in google translate spelling out the words.

Several memrise Cyrillic courses later, things started making sense. Kinda.

I was initially attracted to Russian through its reputation of being hard. Russian hard = yes good, me wanna learn.

So struggling through the basic lessons did not bother me that much. My brain very much expected the struggle and there was this exhilarating relief of finally finally learning Russian.

Since I only use the app, so far my Russian study has been entirely devoid of grammar and it's starting to show / hinder me.

2/5 through the tree, entirely gold and I have the most tenuous grasp on everything. My reading is super subpar, my spelling is worse and I cannot pronounce anything to save my life.

The official memrise courses taught me adjectives are entirely beyond me.

Oh, and I can't gender any of the words I've learned ( i.e. I actually do not know those words, sigh ).

I know what I should do. But if German taught me something, it's that the grammatical approach can be deadly. It resulted in staying away from German for years so I'm pretty much stalling instead.

I currently cannot give Russian what I need to give it in order to succeed at it.

Especially since other languages have caught my fancy instead, namely Hebrew and Korean.

My attraction to Hebrew is 50% Hebrew 50% Mazzorano's voice lol. I am fascinated by this language. I have to learn so slowly in order to retain anything oh my god. It really showcases the minutiae of language learning.

Also my initial reaction to the language was wanting to nope away from it as fast as I could.

My brain literally went : stop trying to force this weird script on us, it makes no sense, we are NOT learning it.

And then my contrary mind went to town and now Hebrew is my fav.

And then there's Korean. So far it's been both the ultimate mind ❤❤❤❤ and the best joyride ever.

Attended an actual class for a few months because I couldn't make head or tails of it. 3/5 through the reverse tree and I am very much still going through the passive phase, just trying to get my bearings and a sense of how the language is organized.

I've just started tackling verbs in their most basic forms and well. Korean verbs. I am just staring at the wiktionary conjugation charts in awe and trying not to panic at this point.

I must be 10 years away from being low intermediate & I LOVE IT.

So yeah, I am sure Russian is simply feeling super neglected right now and is just taking it out on me. It's OK.

I love the new duo dictionary function. Patiently waiting for them to add gender for Russian and Hebrew words. It will help a lot.

So will the Russian Tinycards deck, whenever it shows up. I cannot wait to tackle spelling properly.

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Hi there! I quite like this Russian resource - It's very basic, starts at the very beginning, and every lesson comes with a grammar explanation/point:

http://www.russianforfree.com/lessons-russian-language-03.php

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/MissCamden

Thank you. I'll make sure to check it out!

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/KellyF12

Best of luck with your Russian!

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Thanks! I have him on a slow burn....

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/KellyF12

Slow and steady wins the race! :)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

This has to be one of the best discussions I've ever read :-D It took me a while to really make up my mind, but I will now happily confess to being head over heels in love with Russian :-)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

We should start a support group: РАОБЙ (Рussian Аgainst Оur Бetter Йudgement)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

I'm still not sure whether we picked Russian or Russian picked us, though...

(I had never encountered these sorts of Soviet Russian jokes before I read about them here on Duolingo a while back, but this whole thing with learning Russian that is emerging in this discussion really supports this way of thinking...)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

I fully agree. I had actually just decided myself that when people asked, I was going to stop trying to explain why I picked Russian, and just say that Russian picked me!

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

Why - it's more fun trying to entrap all your friends and neighbors!

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

There's a guy in my German book club who mentioned an interest in Russian a couple of weeks back... oh boy, am I gonna get him tomorrow :)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

I tried... :-( I had several colleagues interested in starting the Duolingo Russian course with me when it was set to come out. In the end, the team was fellow Duolingo user Moomingirl (from across the world) and I.

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

LOL I love it :D

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/pj1506

I liked your blog and your taxonomy of polyglots... Russian is a great language..

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Thanks :) I have a suspicion that my teacher skirted around the really difficult issues for two years...or maybe my mind has blocked them... or probably both ;-)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

The skirting around makes me think of the Michel Thomas style of teaching: The stuff they teach is all good and well, but they lean so heavily on cognates in the vocabulary that you might come away thinking you can express a lot, whereas you've never encountered many of the most common words or grammatical concepts in the language.

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Something that Duolingo is also guilty of ;-)

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

I find this only in the very beginning of (those) Duolingo courses (I've done), where they're just establishing the sounds of the language.

But at least the Spanish<-->French courses could indeed simply have had more content by skipping many of the (to me) pretty obvious cognates... Although I was hardly the target audience for those courses, so who am I to judge.

October 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit

I haven't had a long term relationship with Russian the way some of you have, but having had a break I had to go back to him. I was away for just 100 days while I flirted with Polish, but I'm back and he is being nice to me, letting me understand things that seemed impossible before I ignored him for over three months. And he had better keep being nice. I can always go back to Polish.

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

It's good to be on a break sometimes :)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit

It really is. I was having so much trouble with verbs in particular before the break, but it has improved so much! They feel so familiar now instead of the strange objects they seemed before. Maybe I need a break from Welsh...

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/annika_a

Aaah, that's why the Russian verbs are so confusing... Because I haven't taken a proper break from them yet! :-p

(Just putting my fingers in my ears and going la-la-la doesn't count as a proper break.)

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/SimoneBa

Or from any one of your 18....!

October 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/bookrabbit

oh I'm usually having a break from most of them (and they are always much easier when I go back) but Welsh I haven't finished the tree for yet. so I'm looking for an excuse as it really is harder to remember vocab for than the other more interconnected languages but I don't like to leave it incomplete. but I suppose it does have the benefit of making Russian seem easier in comparison.

October 17, 2016
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