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https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon

Russian cases

Cumeon
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Hello.

Does anyone know tips or know a method of learning Russian cases. Because the forceful learning through Duo is just seriously not working for me. Sheer endless practice does nothing. I'm level 15 and I don't feel like know anything.

Thanks.

1 year ago

26 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/ignatznkrazy
ignatznkrazy
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I learned Latin declension and conjugation and Russian declension and conjugation years ago and more recently Spanish conjugation all the same way--by memorizing the charts. Stare at them, say them aloud, sing them, copy them over and over, write them out by memory when you have free time. This is how I did it. I still remember Latin 1st and 2nd declension after several decades because of this. There will still be a gap between memorizing the charts and accessing the appropriate word form when speaking, but memorization is step one.

You should also supplement with Memrise.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon
Cumeon
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sigh... Thanks.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ignatznkrazy
ignatznkrazy
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Yeah, it can be tedious, but it really doesn't take as long as it might seem at first. Break it down into manageable chunks. Think about the sort of units you might cover in a class. Do one declension for two weeks then maybe focus on another for the next two. It gets easier.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon
Cumeon
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Thanks but. This is way too time consuming. It's just not for me.

It does get easier but skip a day or two and you're at ground zero.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Robert252247
Robert252247
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That's how all learning works. The brain automatically starts erasing whatever it has "learned" after about 32 hours if it has not been used or reviewed in that time. One thing that might help is that the feminine case endings are often the same for different cases, so maybe start by learning the cases for feminine words first. Then once you have a handle on that, work on Masculine and neuter (which are often the same as each other).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeffrey855877
Jeffrey855877
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Russian case-grammar is particularly difficult, because it's not just a question of remembering the case endings, but also remembered the word-relationships which call for a particular case ending.

The original post makes a point that Duo's approach is not very user-friendly when it comes to cases. I really agree with that.

I posted a discussion comment about this, but got no responses. I asked whether the Russian course couldn't be modified to make learning cases easier.
https://www.duolingo.com/comment/23831310

In that comment, I posted an example of what I was talking about:

Моя кошка. Мой мальчик видит мою кошку. Мальчики видят моих кошек.
"My cat. My boy sees my cat. The boys see my cats."

"Моя вода. Мой мальчик дает воду моей кошке"
"My water. My boy gives water to my cat."

My comment is based on recollections of doing similar things with French in high school, learning the different conjugations, article and adjective agreement with nouns, etc. There's a good reason for this technique, and it's not completely outdated.

I think that Duo could be structured much better to facilitate implanting language into the mind of the users. Repetition is a significant part of that, and Duo just doesn't do that enough. It's not an immersion course, and seems haphazard and incomplete in many ways.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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@ Jeffrey

I see what you're saying about repetition. One issue that pops up with having something like "Моя кошка. Мой мальчик видит мою кошку. Мальчики видят моих кошек." as a single "sentence" in the course is that it makes timed practice an extremely difficult endeavor. (Excessively long sentences are a constantly critiqued feature of the Hungarian tree for example.) And for things on which a person simply needs repetitive drill, timed practice is certainly a reasonable way to go about it for many. Of course, the timed aspect isn't for everyone; the core of the matter is just seeing more Russian sentences more often. I don't disagree that the process might be facilitated if there were a more focused effort to use the same nouns to teach all the forms of a case. I could also see the utility of "case review skills" that would explicitly drill forms of different cases; however, it probably bears noting that such a thing would go explicitly against the founding "ideology" of Duolingo that it's not going to be the place you come to get drilled on Spanish subjunctive forms — or, by extension, Russian cases.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DuoFaber
DuoFaber
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Maybe this video is what you're looking for: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iw6hCaw_mDM

Basically, the more you get familiar with the language the more easily you learn the cases without trying to memorize anything, because there are many patterns and you can just learn them through exposure and listening (that's also why Russian kids are able to speak Russian). As a visual learner I like to watch movies with dual subtitles (English & Russian), and this way I've learned the cases very quickly, because in each movie I've encountered thousands of words and all kinds of different endings, and after hearing them so many times I realized that I didn't have to look at any chart anymore, I just... knew them. If you're not a visual learner, maybe you could try reading some children's books. If you love music, maybe songs will help you out, I don't know. In any case, if you hate charts and Duolingo's method isn't helping you in any way, this might be a solution.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon
Cumeon
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Oh my God ,yes. This is exactly the case. Think is probably the best way for me to learn. How do you do the dual subtitles. This is exactly what I need, I think.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DuoFaber
DuoFaber
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I've found that not many Russian movies have both Russian and English subtitles, but most dubbed movies do (the popular ones at least, like Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Godfather trilogy... and these movies alone amount to almost 60 hours of listening practice). VLC has a "download subtitles" option that automatically downloads subtitles from opensubtitles.org, and podnapisi.net is also a very good website. To merge them into one file you can use either http://pas-bien.net/2srt2ass/ or http://bonigarcia.github.io/dualsub/

Disney & Pixar movies usually have both subtitles already encoded within the file (.mkv videos always have at least one set of subtitles), and in that case I use MKVExtractGUI2 to extract them (a free software, very simple to use). To find the movies, torrentproject.se is a great search engine for torrents, you can either search for "english title + rus" or "russian title". Here's the Pixar movie "Brave" for example: torrentproject.se/?t=Храбрая сердцем

For more information: http://actualfluency.com/guide-watch-video-2-sets-subtitles/

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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There are probably two (or more) mindsets in language learning. FWIW:

  • what ignatznkrazy suggested is what has worked for me (in Russian and in Latin . . . and in Koine Greek, now that I think of it), although studying this way is not easy.
  • trying Steve Kaufmann's "Don't study conjugations" method wasted more than a couple years of my time and took a long while to recover from.. His site is very good for practice, however.

Learning paradigms, etc. (bullet 1), does not sound like it would work for Simeon-S, however.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon
Cumeon
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I think you're right. Steve Kaufmann's method is how I learned English, actually. A year and a half of private lessons and thousands of hours watching movies/cartoons and reading books as a kid in English. This is what got me to fluency. If you ask me about grammar I probably don't remember anything.

So I think I'll use method two. Learning the first way never got me anywhere )) both in school and in langauges. I've tried.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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That sounds like the way to go for you, then. Steve Kaufmann's site, LingQ has plenty of good material (or did when I was last there)--text with audio--and the people on the forums are often very nice; basic materials are free, or you can sign up for a "membership" and gain less limited access. The подкасты here are good for listening (w/ texts, too). You might want to try these films as well. There are loads of sites that offer bootlegged audio (audiobooks, mostly), if you look around, some of them very well laid out.

[added] and Russian books are inexpensive and easy to order online, if you can navigate a site in Russsian, and usually easy enough to pay for. (Mostly I order from ozon.ru, which conveniently accepts PayPal nowadays.)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DuoFaber
DuoFaber
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Wow, that website looks great, way cheaper than Amazon! But what about shipping rates?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Shipping rates add a lot. ozon.ru used to offer surface mail (which took a couple of months) but nowadays they only use delivery services, such as DHL, outside of Russia, which are fast (usually about 5 days to the eastern U.S.) but not cheap. I always figure on buying 3-4 books to distribute the shipping charges, and even so, w/ shipping books average $8-$15, I'd say. To Italy rates may very well be cheaper.

Usually, the thing to do is make up your order, select the shipping company and see what the total then comes out to. This will be just before you agree to purchase, and you can go back to your "basket"/"shopping cart" still at that point to make changes if you want to, or to skip ordering.

There are other online bookstores that maybe be cheaper. Another I've used fairly recently to the U.S. is setbook.us, which has a sister store, setbook.eu. To the U.S., book prices are somewhat higher but shipping is cheaper. They do not pack books as well as ozon.ru, but that may be only a U.S. thing, as the books are flown to this country and then shipped by U.S. mail.

If you order from anybody, let me know how things go!

FWIW, I find reading customer reviews on such sites really enjoyable.

[added, for people in the U.S.] ozon.ru has a fairly new sister site in this country: ozonru.com. The couple of times I've compared, total prices (w/ shipping and handling) looked to be about the same for the Russian and U.S. branches.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DuoFaber
DuoFaber
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I tried to buy a book priced at 117 руб, and even with the cheapest shipping delivery the price went up to 1282 руб (the alternatives would be 2128 руб or 2642 руб).. so not so different from Amazon after all, although Amazon's selection is quite limited - to say the least - compared to Ozon's :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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> I tried to buy a book . . .

Thanks for letting me know that. You were checking for shipping to Italy, I assume. As mentioned, usually the cheapest cost per book is when ordering 3-4 books. Maybe try to see what setbook.eu will charge for shipping. Their shipping charges are much cheaper (to the U.S.) but the price of each book is more, as I said. It was great when ozon used to ship surface mail, as far as prices go.

Yes, nice selection. :) Be sure that you check whether the books are new or used (букинистическое издание), as ozon has been offering used books for some time. Books more than 50 years old can't be exported from Russia, nor can software, which usually includes CD and DVDs, nowadays, although some books w/ CDs they'll send.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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You're welcome for the info. I hope you get some books you really like!

Be aware that Russian books (including hardcover books) range from very cheaply made w/ flimsy bindings and printed on newsprint to sturdy books with quite nice paper. Sometimes you can tell by the weight of the book listed. Sometimes you can find customers' pictures of their books (for instance, at this online bookshop; look beneath "Иллюстрации к книге... ").

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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labirint

If you have luck w/ labirint, please let me know. I had trouble paying them, and so had to cancel the order I was trying to place. They don't allow PayPal--that is, they say they do but only in rubles, which U.S. PayPal won't accept. And transactions from them did not go through to my credit card company (although ozon.ru has no problem w/ payment that way). So I took the easy way out and ordered elsewhere, since shipping rates were the same.

If you want to try still another bookstore as well, quite a while ago I ordered from болеро and they were just fine, as I recall.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DuoFaber
DuoFaber
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Thanks for the info! Just by adding another book I got a 15% discount, not to mention the fact that I wouldn't have to pay twice the shipping charge, and the one that I wanted the most isn't available on setbook, so I think I'm going to stick to Ozon. I did manage to find a book on Amazon.it, but I'll probably treat myself with a few books from Ozon for Christmas, for example I can't wait to own my own copy of Братья Карамазовы :) Thanks again!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DuoFaber
DuoFaber
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Oh, okay, I'll keep that in mind! And apparently labirint.ru has good prices and great shipping rates, for example instead of 1282 руб I'd pay only 734 руб for the same book. Awesome.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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Are you asking primarily about the forms of the declensions or when to use which cases?

The second can, indeed, take a good while. There are layers of subtleties. I'm still coming across ones from time to time that are completely new to me. And sometimes it depends on the individual verb being used, so obviously new things will crop up as your vocabulary expands.

The first at the end of the day boils down to about 20 one and two-letter strings (ok, a few are three letters, but like Kaufman says, they wind up being the most distinctive).

Then simple changes based on those take care of spelling rules / soft endings. I'd say don't worry so much about those until you have the more basic forms down (at which point they will be easy, anyway). For one, Duo will probably let them slide since they're not going to be more than a single letter off. For two, Russian spellcheck would fix them if you were actually typing something in Russian.

Some hints to help: feminine adjectives in most cases end in -ой. Somehow I didn't really appreciate this for about a year and a half. It takes care of almost a fourth of the total stock of endings in one fell swoop. More when you remember that instrumental feminine nouns also end in -ой. So instrumental feminine is -ой / -ой. Instrumental masculine is -ым / -ом (a pattern that seemed to stick in my head). Accusative feminine is -ую / -у. Accusative masculine and plural are nominative (worry about animateness later on). Prepositional nouns are always -е. For masculine adjectives it's -ом. Instrumental plural is -ыми / -ами. Dative plural is -ым / -ам. I found it useful that my declension charts always had instrumental at the bottom and dative right above. I suspect it's not too hard to see why :) And that's half or more of everything. I laid out this paragraph to highlight features that helped me memorize the declension tables: finding little tricks that chipped away at it.

If you at least get what the endings can potentially be rooted in your head, the right forms will just begin to sound right. After с you'll associate instrumental forms, for example. The forward tree isn't probably the best for learning these things. You're just seeing the forms mostly, not having to use them. In the reverse tree, you'd have to use them a great deal more, which could cement them a good deal faster.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon
Cumeon
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Thank you very much.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mallowigi
MallowigiPlus
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I've been using this for Grammar : http://learnrussian.rt.com/lessons/

You will have a HARD TIME finishing the exercises, but well, when you do, you will be sure that you'll know when to use the genitive and the accusative.

I'm only at lesson 45 right now (and it's been 6 months) bcz i'm lazy :p

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cumeon
Cumeon
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Thank you, I'll be sure to try it out.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeffrey855877
Jeffrey855877
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I copied/edited the noun-endings into a spreadsheet, which I keep open while doing the Russian course. When I need to make certain of an ending, I must click on the spreadsheet program icon and go to the chart of endings to verify what I'm doing.

I also copied the various personal pronouns and possessive pronouns into the spreadsheet, so I can look them up and match them to the noun.

Also, some of the gender/number/case relevant determiners.

These could be printed outside for reference, but I find it easier simply to go to the chart on my computer.

Admittedly, this is a very time-consuming process. Doing each Russian exercise takes at least an hour, usually more, because I copy the sentences and their translations into a 3rd spreadsheet for later reference and as a memory device.

Russian is a very difficult language to learn for Romance language speakers - unless one of those languages is Latin, the original Romance language, simply because the idea of Case is so new and, well, foreign. There are very few cognates in the traditional sense, and those only because Russian has borrowed the foreign word (e.g., суши sushi).

As I commented elsewhere here, Duo doesn't do a very good job of facilitating learning cases. But I haven't seen any other online programs which do - Rosetta Stone, Babbel, Memrise, Transparent Language - None seem equipped to make case-learning more user-friendly.

1 year ago