Saturday, 16 August 2014

A different way of learning

When I first started to learn Russian in 2006 there was not nearly the amount of  information on the web that there is now. I don't remember any videos, podcasts, blogs, etc. I think masterrussian was about, but not much more. I signed up for a weekly class (I was lucky to have one nearby), and bought a BBC course, basic phrasebook and dictionary. I worked through the course book and the BBC course and that was about it. It didn't really occur to me that I could learn a different way.

I still use a notebook and pen (yes, I got through school and most of Uni without a computer!), but I've also been enjoying exploring other tools I can use online.

In particular I find memrise really helpful. If I don't have much time I can just jump on there for 5 or 10 minutes, and it's really been improving my vocab. When I read in Russian I'm able to decipher more as I can pick out words I've learnt from there. I also like the fact it's very visual. I've also started using anki, although not as much as it's more time consuming to make my own flashcards.

I'm still using the course books and CDs, but am also utilising blogs, podcasts, youtube, forums, etc - not only to learn about Russian, but also language learning in general. Sometimes I spend more time reading about language learning than I do actually learning the language! I have found lots of great tips though, and lots of different ideas on how to approach languages. If something isn't working I change it, or if I get bored I use something else. I've been trying to read something in Russian everyday, and although I don't understand much of it my reading is speeding up. A good tip (I think I got from fluent in 3 months) was to go to wikipedia and change it to your target language. I've read a few articles in Russian doing this, and could surprisingly translate more than I thought! 

I have also had lots of success rolling my r's! It's taken so much practise (daily!), but I'm much better now. It is still difficult to use it in actual words, but I'm getting there :D

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