Sunday, January 8, 2012

Russian Lessons: Update 1

      This evening, Natalia and I spent about two hours going over the Cyrillic lettering system, which is necessary for learning to read and write in Russian. She had introduced me to it previously, but I retained very little,so she made me flash cards.

     There are 33 letters in this system. The tricky bit is, some of them look just like letters in the English Alphabet, but the sounds they represent can be completely different.

     So, as I was rolling cigarettes (yes, I know, "boo"), she was showing me these cards and I was calling their names. I failed horribly the first few times through (in order), so she decided it was time to mix them up and try again. My 'fro may or may not be missing chunks...

     We also invested in a small dry erase board this afternoon for writing practice. It also helped with learning to identify the sound each letter makes in a word.

     For those of you who are my 'friends' on Facebook, you have seen the Russian spelling of my name in parenthesis behind the English spelling for a few months, now. That was an early attempt, long forgotten. Tonight, as practice, she had me spell my own name, as well as many other words and names, using the Cyrillic  lettering system. With all the practice with the flash cards, this came surprisingly easily to me.

     Natalia will be starting her Spring semester at college tomorrow, so I don't know how often we will get to practice in the near future. Her education comes far before my mastery of Русский (Russian). I will continue to practice with my flash cards, and maybe even attempt to learn where all the Cyrillic letters are on the qwerty keyboard on my own, but she did promise to help me in her spare time as much as possible.

Following is the Cyrillic lettering system in order, followed by their sounds:

Аа - ah^
Бб - beh
Вв - veh
Гг - geh
Дд - deh
Ее - yeh^
Ёё - yo^
Жж - zjeh
Зз - zeh
Ии - ee^
Йй - ee kratkaya* (softens vowels)
Кк - keh
Лл - leh
Мм - meh
Нн - neh
Оо - oh^
Пп - peh
Рр - reh (gotta roll that "r"!)
Сс - seh
Тт -teh
Уу - oo^
Фф - feh
Хх - heh (with a bit of phlegm on the first "h")
Цц - tse
Чч - che
Шш - sheh
Щщ - shyeh
Ъъ - tvyordii znak* (hardens consonants)
Ыы - uh (sounds like a smiling grunt)
Ьь - mayhkii znak* (softens consonants)
Ээ - eh^
Юю - you^
Яя - ya^

*Indicated letters do not have their own sounds, but modify other letters sounds.
^ Indicates vowels

     To all my followers, thanks for taking an interest! I'll try to post at least once a week! As I learned today, I might get a reminder text if I fail.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Learning Russian

     My fiance was born in Russia and has spoken both Russian and English since her early childhood years. In learning her native tongue, it is my goal to create a new level of our relationship, expand my knowledge, test my dedication and be able to communicate with her grandmother and extended family, some of which currently live in Russia and only speak Russian. It would also be nice to know when she and her mother are making fun of me for something I would otherwise be ignorant to :-/

     Being as she is my fiance, lives with me and is one of two people I know that speak Russian, she has agreed to teach me this language. The reason i created this blog is so that anyone can follow my progress, and maybe even learn along with me. I will intermittently post updates with what I have learned. I'll type in the Russian phrase/word, then the Alphabetic interpretation of the Russian pronunciation, then the English Translation. This should act as an exercise for my new vocabulary, as well as familiarize me with using the Russian keyboard and give any followers I might have a chance to learn along with me.

     Wish me luck!