Russian I, Third Edition (Comprehensive, 30 Lessons) 3rd Edition, 30 Lessons + Reading
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 2.5 pounds
- Audio CD : 16 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0743506200
- ISBN-13 : 978-0743506205
- Product Dimensions : 12.5 x 1.9 x 11 inches
- Publisher : Pimsleur; 3rd Edition, 30 Lessons + Reading (November 1, 2001)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #179,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Out of everything I've tried, this audio course has worked the best for me. If anyone starting Russian were to ask me what I recommend to begin with, this would be it.
Don't get your hopes too high and expect to be speaking fluent, conversational Russian by the end of this course. I used to believe the advertisements that claim there is a "fast and easy way to learn a new language", but now I know there is no such thing. It takes a lot of practice, and I suppose "fast" is a relative term. What I would say you can expect of this course is a introduction to some common conversational topics, and a the ability to respond to them very clearly (with minimal accent). This course will only aid you in learning Russian, it won't come close to teaching you everything you need.
This audio course has an English speaking instructor, and a Russian speaking man and woman. The instructor essentially translates for you and explains how the grammar works, and you are expected to listen, repeat, and respond. You are often thrown into a conversation where you are expected to respond correctly.
The Russian speakers talk very fast, which was jarring to me at first. With most of my language lessons the speakers go very slowly, making it easy for me to absorb everything. However, when you get trained to hear those words slowly and it makes it difficult for you to catch them in a real conversation later. In my opinion it is much better practice to hear the language as native speakers would actually use it. The Russian guy in this audio talks so fast that it sounds like he is racing for his life sometimes. It was very frustrating to me at first, but eventually I was able to start catching everything he is saying. Like I said, this is great practice for the real thing.
You get very little time to respond to conversations, and I realized that I don't have enough time to process my response in English before saying it in Russian. I have to understand the conversation in Russian and immediately know how to respond in Russian. It has truly gotten me to start thinking in Russian.
The lessons are each 30 minutes long, and it is recommended that you only ever do one per day. That is up to you I suppose, I will sometimes do a lesson in the morning and another in the evening.
My one complaint about this course is that there is no text to go along with it. I end up taking notes on the side when I hear words I'm not familiar with, and reviewing that list of vocabulary and phrases is very helpful to me.
The concept is that most conversations in any language consist of only a few hundred words and that most people speak using common phrases or word groupings. If you learn the overall meaning of a phrase, or word grouping, you are able to comprehend what is being said even when the words seem to run together and preemptively anticipate a response. This contributes to a greater fluency of the language and provides an excellent foundation to build on.
If your goal is to be able to converse in Russian this program is for you as long as your expectations are realistic. At the end of the programs I, II and III, if you are diligent, you should have a good foundation of spoken Russian on which to increase your fluency. What is more important is that you will have a good "feel" for the language and chances are you will get compliments on your accent.
Some of the complaints in other reviews are that there is no printed lesson book that comes with the program to teach how to read Cyrillic Russian and that the accent of the male speaker is difficult to understand. If you wish to learn to read Russian as well it would be necessary to supplement this course with another more traditional course that emphasizes reading skills. Pimsleur does not claim to fill this need but rather focuses on being able to converse. As far as the male speaker goes, I have encountered more people on the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg who speak with his accent than the female speaker's accent. In addition it is my impression that there is more than one male and more than one female speaker. There seems to be an attempt to familiarize the student with more than one accent and thus increase fluency. This is more of an advantage rather than a weakness.
My previous experience with the Pimsleur method was so positive and enjoyable that when I decided to take up conversational Russian their Russian I was my first choice.
I have tried myself out with some Russian friends and I can have successful limited conversation if I am careful with my pronunciation. As discussed by other reviewers, the vocabulary is too limited for even much basic use, but the coverage of sentence structure and basic grammar is there. I bought Brown's Russian Learners Dictionary and some flash cards and I am working through the prioritized vocabulary slowly but consistently (I pick out flash cards for those dictionary words I don't know). Cyrillic isn't as hard as I expected, so don't be intimidated.
Two tips, if you have Russian speakers handy. 1) Check for usage of synonyms - they are generally not interchangeable. 2) Some common words are inappropriate (probably too colloquial) for foreigners.
One last thing, from someone who always thought English grammar was easy. Just enumerate the verbal tenses we use and then spare a thought for our poor Russian friends. It cuts both ways.
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