I actually should have written this post a few weeks ago, but I was lazy/busy so….. Anyway, I’m super excited because I’ve graduated to the second part of my self-taught Russian langauge course! For the first part I spent two years on the Penguin Beginner’s Course, which was really really good. It taught me the alphabet, word formation, pronounciation, grammar, and lots and lots of vocabulary. I finished the last lesson before spring break and decided that while I could still learn more from this book (I’d redone it 3-4 times but you still forget with time after all) I needed to move on.
So I got the Russian and English versions of Anna Karenina and the Russian audiobook. I go paragraph by paragraph translating from Russian to English, writing the vocabulary I don’t know in a little book I carry with me to drill inbetween classes, then the next day translating back from English to Russian. I use the audiobook to help me understand spoken Russian and work on pronounciation. It’s slow going, especially since Russian doesn’t translate directly, and I go over paragraphs again and again until I’m 95-100% accurate. After each chapter I’m going to attempt to write a summary (in Russian, of course) of what happened.
While my Penguin textbook taught me the basics, this will hopefully teach me practical usage. Yeah, it’s old, so some of the vocabulary is probably dated, but the grammar and formation should be the same (I mean, vocabulary aside, the Brontes used the same English we use today). Once I get more comfortable and have to learn less new vocabulary, I’ll add in a couple news articles each week from BBC Russia to translate, just to stay more modern. In the future, I’ll likely change any magazine subscriptions to Russian too. This next phase will probably take just as long as the first one but I’m just loving the fact that I’m clearly making progress! I learned way more in two years of self-studying Russian than I did in four years of formal Spanish classes 🙂