Saturday, May 10, 2008

The necessary tools









Pictures speak a thousand words. Imagine a pair of eyeballs and ears dangling from the sides, and you can argue that organs need to be fed etc, but these are the two most important "tools" you need in language learning. One of them, namely the backbone, needs to be taken metaphorically. Incidentally, did you know that language learning and metaphorical use of language are considered excellent mental exercises which may be beneficial for warding off and offseting certain debilitating diseases? One example of this can be found here

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Tackling Russian

During the weekend I've been looping two Russian movies and listening to Vocabulearn

I am learning vocabulary out of context, Sir Richard Burton way (or maybe better since he didn’t have an iPod). Then again he also had more gray matter under the hood... I am thinking of a strategy to tackle Japanese.

One of the movies is Skazka o poteryannom vremeni (The Tale of Time Lost) which is appropriate punishment for my laziness. I have only yesterday discovered that the DVD also has Russian subtitles, which is of great help.

I've also signed up for Steve Kaufman’s LingQ

It’s a sort of an online vocabulary learning application. The Russian section has some interesting audio stuff and I signed up for the free account so what the heck. I've listened to four fairy tales so far.

I am thinking of joining Moscowflix. They seem to have a few interesting Russian children’s movies and cartoons and things like Asterix and Howl’s Moving Castle but there’s no information about the language track. You see I’m awfully cheap. I do believe I’ll sign up for that or Russian DVD.com once my Russian is at a level where I can quickly watch and flip movies back to the store. Right now playing the same old movies over and over again makes more cents.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Russian

The blog was closed for a while. I thought it was a distraction but I managed to waste much time in many other ways both online and offline. These last few months I spent doing a little bit of everything, from Italian to Japanese and I cannot account for the time spent or the effectiveness of my efforts. Another reason for reopening the blog.

Well, I am officially undertaking learning Russian. I intend to learn it in as short amount of time as possible, since I have little patience for exploring or "savoring" the language or "having fun" while going nowhere with language studies. I have little to no background in Russian.

I started playing with it a few months ago. So far I haven't spent much time on it, useful time especially - most was "dead time" while doing other things. I've mostly been reading online articles and listening to online radio and a couple of old movies. Reading? Well sort of. Staring, really, and trying to catch the cognates. Listening was mostly done to get accustomed to the sounds of the language, make out individual words and overcome the initial disliking for its sound. After some 50+ hours I am happy to report this is no longer a problem. Why did I undertake learning a language whose sound I don't (or didn't) like? I am not picking people's brains why they are studying a "beautiful" language while ignoring other qualities or shortcomings.