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Archive for the ‘learning aids’ Category

Master & Margarita

On her blog, Josefina is hosting a “read-a-long” of a Russian novel this summer, and the book chosen is «Мастер и Маргарита» [“The Master & Margarita”]!

For help finding the book in Russian, you can look on Ebay or http://www.kniga.com/, which has a huge selection of books in Russian, and they ship from New York, so the postage is very reasonable.  They also have eBooks.  Doctor Zhivago is available as in eBook for $1.51, though it is also to be found for free on other internet sources, since it is in the public domain.  But you can find some amazing deals there on other eBooks.   Master & Margarita is there to be found in paperback for $7.95.  I do have an electronic version on my iPad, but of course there is nothing like reading from a real book.

Here’s something to get you a “leg up” to get started.  It is a PDF of the first two chapters of “The Master & Margarita” with English and Russian side-by-side (or “side-by-each” as they say in French Canadian influenced Woonsocket, Rhode Island).

Bulgakov master-margarita-1-2

I’m going to try and upload the movie series as well, which of course is very helpful and fun to watch to accompany the reading.

I encourage all my readers to read along with Josefina and the group!

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In addition to studying Russian, I also love to cook and to eat.  It occurred to me that it might be an interesting thing to practice my reading by finding a recipe site in Russian.  It’s good language practice and also provides insights into Russian culture.

I found this site: http://www.receptik.com It’s very interesting!   Don’t be scared by the cute little hedgehogs (ёжики).  They are one of the recipes and aren’t really hedgehogs! :-)

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Short Stories in Russian

I came across an interesting site, http://short-story.ru.   It has a number of excellent short stories, but what I really like is that in addition to classic Russian short stories by Chekov (Чехов), Gogol (Гоголь), etc.,  some of them are translations of stories written originally in English.  For example, they have stories by James Joyce (Джеймс Джойс), Mark Twain (Марк Твэйн), Faulkner (Фолкнер), Hemingway (Хэмингуэй), etc.  The only downer about the site is the menu is difficult to use.  When you mouse over the name of the author, a list appears of the stories (if they have more than one for that author) and I feel like it’s a struggle to get over to the list without my mouse losing track of the author.

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Here’s an interesting set of 11 videos from YouTube.  I believe that these were originally distributed on LPs.   Even though most of these dialogs use a fairly simple vocabulary, these make a great refresher.  These are well over 20 years old, made during the Soviet times, so you’ll hear some things that you might not hear today (like товарищ).   Some complain that “no one talks like this day” in terms of formality.  Perhaps that’s true when young people speak to young people, but older people still definitely use the formalities and if you are a tourist, you’ll certainly be much better off being too formal than too informal, in my opinion!

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LibriVox

I came across a site…well, my iPhone came across a site :-) where you can listen or download audiobooks for free.    The reason they are free is that the readers are volunteers reading public domain books.  They include links to the text as well, so you can follow along.  And guess what!  There are Russian books there as well.

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Megan posted a kind comment, and made the point that even after one has learned a great deal of Russian, it can be difficult to keep it alive in your head if you are living in an English speaking culture.  It’s an excellent point.

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Not long ago my Russian professor advised me to start reading some Russian novels, especially contemporary ones to be exposed to modern words, usage and ideas.   “But I don’t know enough to understand yet!”, I protested.   “Just read.”, she said.   “Should I try to read without a dictionary at first, then read a second time looking up the words I don’t know (which felt like all of them)?”, I asked.  “No, just read.”, she said.  I thought she must greatly overestimate my progress.   But I took her advice and started reading Азазель by Борис Акунин online on his website.

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