Friday, February 18, 2005

Does anybody ever read the reviews on Amazon?

Question: Does anybody ever read the reviews on Amazon?

Answer: Yes. I did. At least once.

And what did I learn from this? Well I learned that if I undertook the Pimsleur speak and learn Russian course then I would most certainly manage to learn to speak Russian - albeit a small vocabulary that even though I would be able to pronounce effectively I would not understand much else.

So I knew that I would need to balance this course out. I managed to find a course based on CD-Rom known as Rosetta Stone Russian 1. This teaches a better vocabulary though images and sounds (much in the way we learned to speak our own native tongues). I have not used this that much because it requires a PC and a certain level of concentration. (With my iPod I can listen to it anywhere, anytime)

But still, I would need to learn Grammar and eventually I would need to read Russian so I got a book by Penguin which according to reviews is the best book for learning. Of course I have barely managed to learn to read the cyrillic alphabet which is seriously impeeding my progress but nonetheless it does help in some ways.

My favourite way of learning is speaking the little I know each time I meet a Russian speaker(more often that you would imagine) . I have a mobile telephone (the Nokia 7600) which despite its awful and hideous design has a feature whereby dictated notes can be recorded. So I learn a few phrases and colloquilaisms that I would otherwise now know and I try and record them whenever possible so I can play them back when I have a spare moment.

Furthermore to this, I found a website called MYLANGUAGEEXCHANGE.COM which users can contact other users to help teach languages to each other. I found one Russian speaker and she e-mailed me some good verb info.

Then I found which works like MSN Messeneger but allows me to search for Russian speakers and then have Text and even Voice conversations via the internet! So I have a list of Russian contacts that I can practice with. (Although in reality the connection quality is just about good enough only to have a conversation, to learn any new words that would require hearing them pronounced clearly and this is not viable)

Additionally to this I rented a Russian Movie, "War" and listened to the Russian speech and read the Subtitles. With patience this can be a good way of picking up a few unique phrases, and it also aclimatises me to the pace and tone of regular speech. I must but this DVD when I find it for sale.

Oh yeah - I managed to download a handful of Russian songs which I have whacked onto my iPod and occasionally when I can stomach the "unique" style of Russian music I listen to. Although I do not understand 95% of it, it still makes me familiar in some ways to the words and the sounds.

All in all, Technology and Access to Technology that would not have been possible to have had 10 years ago has facilitated my learning of a Foreign Language no end.

Perhaps there exists a moral here somewhere.

Oh yeah, I suppose the moral is: The Opportunity is there - if you want to Learn a Foreign Language, it has never been easier.

Much Love



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