Status, and advice please

Hi,

I have now studied Russian for almost a year. I started using LingQ in June after discovering Steve on Youtube. Using LingQ has sky-rocketed my learning! I try to read much every day, and have accumulated around 7500 known words. I also listen to audio, try to speak once a week via Skype and send some e-mails to some Russian friends.

Before using LingQ, I used a tutor to cover the basics of grammar. I have not used him since march, but I think I am ready for some more grammar now, after focusing on reading and listening for some time.

I still find it quite difficult to talk about my day, explain that I am going somewhere to work, etc. I find it easier to listen to my Russian friend when she tells me about her day.

I plan to repeat the material my tutor gave me earlier, and also continue my lessons with him. Also, I really enjoy the material Evgueny and Solena have provided here at LingQ and plan to continue my reading and repetition of their texts.

For people who have studied a language for about a year and are at a intermediate level - do you have any advice or comments regarding my next year studying Russian?

This is exactly what I mean. Now he has great progress in reading, but he still can’t say a lot. LingQ is satisfying, but beguiling. You have to take seriously the more structural side of language learning. This is my point. Otherwise you risk wasting time and believing you are further ahead than you are. And many of the people who are vociferous on LingQ are actually taking courses in real life, so that they aren’t a good sample of what is possible. LingQ is one tool of many for them.

@snorrews

I guess my level of Czech is similar to your level of Russian. My approach was different, though as I learned it the traditional way with lots of grammar and exercises until I started to use LingQ about six weeks ago. So six weeks ago I was hardly able to understand anything and couldn’t speak very well. I still don’t speak very well but now I understand a lot better. I remember situations in the Czech Republic when I had carefully prepared a Czech question, threw it at a native, received an answer and while I was still trying to figure out the meaning of the first sentence, the person said another two or three sentences and I was completely lost. Now I’m doing a lot better in my Skype lessons. Still not great, of course, not at all. I do agree that grammar shouldn’t be neglected and it’s even more important when you start to learn your first language from a new language family but grammar doesn’t help you to speak more fluently. I don’t regret that I studied Czech grammar quite intensively but I wouldn’t use a tutor to study grammar anymore. I do need a tutor to improve my speaking, though. I think a Skype lesson once a week isn’t enough. If possible, I’d do 30 minutes of speaking every day or every second day. I suppose you realize it when you struggle with declension endings, so try to make a mental note and look up the declension endings of certain words after the lesson and try to memorize then. As far as verbal aspect is concerned, I’ve come to the conclusion that it will simply take a lot of time to get used to it. I’ve understood the concept but often know only one verb of the pair and even if I know both verbs, I don’t manage to choose the correct one quickly enough when I speak and simply use the one which first comes to my mind. So, in my opinion this proves that theoretical knowledge doesn’t work miracles when it comes to actually speaking the language.

Snorre, I find it very difficult to grasp certain concepts in Russian, especially the verbs of motion and the aspects of verbs. It is also difficult to remember the case endings when we need to use them. I found this to be the case, almost no matter how often I reviewed the explanations and tables. However, with more and more exposure, certain patterns start to become natural and we are even able to anticipate them sometimes.

I think that for someone at your stage, where you probably have a fair vocabulary good listening comprehension, you just need to speak. You need to speak a lot. You should get a report of the mistakes you make in conversation, such as we do when we speak with our tutors at LingQ. You need to review them. Slowly you notice more while listening and reading, and you develop new habits that will help you speak more accurately.

I would recommend that you continue with your input activities, regularly review grammar, and greatly step up your speaking. You are going to stumble when you speak, you are going to make mistakes, you are going to be looking for words. You just have to stay with it, and you will improve.

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