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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Russian [Apr. 17th, 2007|06:01 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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Off to Russian class in a bit here...

It's kinda sad that each week there's another person or so gone. I think the class started with 35 people and it's down to like 7. I wonder how many people will be there tonight.

Dan was telling me that his mother's German classes do the same thing each quarter, that it's common for people taking a language "for fun" in community/night/junior college to realize it's too much work or not interesting enough and quit early.

I might be considering quitting too, were it not for my brain starting to do those magical language-acquisition things that I find so cool about studying a language: when your brain starts to formalate words/sentences because "it feels right" and you can't logically say why, you didn't explicitly learn it, etc.

But really, there's no practical reason for me to learn Russian... it's just fun to learn a language, and Russian seems to be different enough from other languages I've studied to be interesting. It is a lot of work, though. I'm kinda stressed because I probably only study the minimum amount to do well on the tests (and not seem stupid in class), but when I study much more, I'm bored in class, the pace of which I can't control. So I'd rather be a little stressed (by studying lightly) and thus be engaged in class.

I've been speaking/writing German a fair bit lately with Angela (who I met in Belize, and is majoring in German at Berkeley), and it's painfully obvious how much better my German is than my Russian (naturally), but that's further discouraging, because a) while my German is pretty good, it's not fluent, which is a reminder that my Russian never will be great, and b) I want to be that good in Russian a lot sooner, but I know that it's probably 2-3 years away, at minimum, probably more.

I'm not sure this post had a point.
LinkReply

Comments:
From: evan
2007-04-18 02:15 am (UTC)
Now that I've had all sorts of language classes, I think the best sort are the ones with a small group and a teacher who'll respond to your speed. Then it goes as fast as you can, and you get lots of conversation practice to let the internalization process happen as well. (Having other students is helpful because they give you a target to do better than as well as let you practice listening in on conversations you're not involved in.)
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[User Picture]From: antihope
2007-04-18 02:49 am (UTC)
I kinda know where you're at. Last semester I took a Russian class (it's through a program, not a real school - one day a week, no tests or grades). The teacher referred to it as the "alphabet class". Now I'm taking a German conversation class through the same program (I minored in German in college).

I know my Russian will never be good (though I did see a Russian thriller, Dead Daughters, and was happy I could at least hear some of the words I knew). It's still fun to learn, and I would like to improve.
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[User Picture]From: xorax
2007-04-18 08:10 am (UTC)
how funny! I am a native Russian speaker and I haven't seen Dead Daughters movie:) Moreover I seriously doubt it's worth watching.. I would better recommend "Даун Хаус" (if you feel interested in relatively modern russian movie). That's the bomb!
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[User Picture]From: larisaka
2007-04-18 03:26 am (UTC)
Держись, Брэд!
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[User Picture]From: ioerror
2007-04-18 04:58 am (UTC)
I think you can improve both your German and your Russian at the same time. I think you could probably even become fluent in both if you should so desire.

Don't degrade your potential - just work for what you desire and you'll get there. You're a smart guy.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-04-18 05:22 am (UTC)
It's not that I don't think I can... I have no doubt of that. It's just the cost(time)/benefit analysis.

But on the other hand, what else would I do? Hack more? In practice, no, because I'd get bored. So there's probably little cost.

I just wish I could devote something like 10x more time to learning Russian. I'm afraid that with only one 3 hour class per week, I'm not going to get anywhere too fast.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-04-18 05:59 am (UTC)
hang out in secret hacker russian chatrooms
spy on them
maybe they'll do a NASA break-in
maybe the australians will
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[User Picture]From: mats_gunnar
2007-04-18 05:08 am (UTC)
Правильно, надо учить русский. Прямо здесь. С нами. Ты нам очень интересен.
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[User Picture]From: breqwas
2007-04-18 11:59 am (UTC)
Плюсодин :)
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[User Picture]From: pne
2007-04-18 05:16 am (UTC)
Dan was telling me that his mother's German classes do the same thing each quarter, that it's common for people taking a language "for fun" in community/night/junior college to realize it's too much work or not interesting enough and quit early.

I've had that experience, too, learning Japanese. In two cases, the classes got smaller and smaller over the semesters until they were no longer offered (though in one case, they continued them informally at the teacher's house).
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(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: xorax
2007-04-18 08:23 am (UTC)
Ну а Вы принимайтесь-ка за английский!
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[User Picture]From: xorax
2007-04-18 08:37 am (UTC)
Agree. Russian language is not fun. I don't think anyone can learn it without effort. You will have to spend a hell of a time to just be able to create simple sentences. If I were you I would better focus on some of European languages. German or French or maybe Spanish..
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[User Picture]From: chhwe
2007-04-21 09:31 am (UTC)
Be sure somebody does remember that Albanian is a European (and even Indo-European) language.
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[User Picture]From: scosol
2007-04-18 09:46 am (UTC)
do you plan on living in SF for any amount of time?
if so- learn mexican
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-04-18 02:42 pm (UTC)
I studied Spanish in college for a year. I'm nowhere near great, but I can read stuff and understand people pretty well, and communicate with people occasionally as the need arises. It'd be fun to learn more, but I'm not sure I have enough need for it.
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[User Picture]From: paula
2007-04-18 01:19 pm (UTC)

random thought

Awhile ago I was subbing at a middle school for a teacher who taught science and Spanish. Thankfully it was the beginning of a new quarter and the kids in the Spanish class knew as much Spanish as I know.

After school I was grading these "tests" the teacher had previously given. He asked the kids how long they thought it took it learn a language, how many languages are spoken in the world, etc. It wasn't really a test and there really wasn't any point in me "grading" it in my mind. He should have just given them points for completing it. Anyway, the responses these sixth graders gave goes to show a) how sheltered a life they really live b) that they aren't very smart or c) that they thought the assignment was stupid too.

The responses went something like this:
How many languages are spoken in the world? I think maybe three. English, Spanish, and (insert one of these languages here: French, Italian, German).
How long does it take to learn a new language? I think 3 months. Maybe longer, like a year, if you really want to learn it well.

There were a few that were more intelligent, but for the most part the entire stack from both classes was like that!

Sorry this post isn't totally related to what you were saying!
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-04-18 02:14 pm (UTC)

Re: random thought

Aw, how cute. :P
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[User Picture]From: esoterico
2007-04-18 09:56 pm (UTC)
russian, german, spanish...how many languages do you speak?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-04-18 10:23 pm (UTC)
German pretty well but not fluently, Spanish a little (year in college), Russian just starting.
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[User Picture]From: ilaya
2007-05-03 03:12 pm (UTC)
Ты сможешь ответь на вопрос "Как дела?"
=)
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[User Picture]From: mc_jane
2007-04-19 06:16 am (UTC)

russian - is a great choice:)

Just don't give up, cause You never know:)
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[User Picture]From: bisyaka
2007-04-20 04:15 am (UTC)
The point is by all means NOT TO GET BORED! Believe me, the grammar is not that important. But Russian litterature, and Russian life and mentality are. I would suggest learning some nice, simple, short Russian songs, if you like music, or short poems written by great Russian poets at the beginning of the 20-th century, but probably not the contemporary trash. It makes learning the language fun!
If I were you I would possibly take later a course on Russian Literature (in English) when you learn enough words to read texts. If you just want to be able to have simple conversations, then you need a personal tutor, a friend, a colleage for that, not so much the formal lessons. To give you an example of a nice poem:

"Winter Night" by Boris Pasternak, from his "Doctor Zhivago" famous novel. It has a very Russian mood.

In English:
http://www.friends-partners.org/friends/culture/literature/20century/pasternak/winternight.html(opt,mozilla,pc,english,,new)

The original in Russian:
http://www.litera.ru/stixiya/authors/pasternak/melo-melo-po.html
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[User Picture]From: bisyaka
2007-04-20 04:26 am (UTC)

My first link is not working for some reason

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[User Picture]From: olgagermany
2007-04-21 07:53 am (UTC)
Желаю успеха!:)
Viel Erfolg! Da ich Englisch nur eingeschränkt kann, schreibe ich in Deutsch: Suche Dir doch ein Paar interessante russische Blogs zusammen und lese diese regelmäßig, dann wird es viel schneller mit der Sprache gehen. Kommentieren könntest Du ja in Englisch oder Deutsch.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-04-21 09:40 am (UTC)
Ja. Ich lese schon viele Blogs, die auf Russisch sind. (oder... ich versuche es, sie zu lesen... :))
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[User Picture]From: olgagermany
2007-04-21 10:06 am (UTC)
Frage mich, wenn Du etwas nicht verstehst, ich übersetzte es gerne:) ins Deutsche:) So lernst Du zwei Sprachen gleichzeitig:)
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