Russian Roundup – August 2020

with 6 Comments

Yes, the pumpkin craze has reached Russia.



To the roundup!

Что прочитать

summer on the taiga

modern Russian novels: what to read

как сакзать: to block out a thought/noise?

как сакзать: to be smitten with someone?

как сакзать: finders keepers losers weepers?

скороговорки на букву Л / tongue twisters with Л

what’s the difference between спина and позвоночник?

in local news: сможете ли вы отличить гриб съедобный от ядовитого? I can’t identify any mushrooms but my husband apparently can survive 50% of the time. It’s prime mushroom-picking season here so the forests are full of pickers and the news carries occasional articles about people who ended up in the hospital.

everything you need to know on Russian авось

Russian sayings about laziness

how to make friendly conversation with a random dog 😆

apps to download before traveling to Russia

reddit: common Russian abbreviations

reddit: Russian inside jokes

RIP Moscow’s trolleybuses

DIY Russian art

If you have 20 minutes or so: this online Russian test is great! The tasks are fun and your final score is broken down by level: A1, A2, B1, B2.



Что посмотреть

this 1979 Soviet cartoon: Девочка и дельфин

this comedy skit: Президент Америки попал в Россию

this short news segment on camels running amok through a Russian village

a tour of this ridiculously upscale / creative restaurant in Moscow

an interesting YouTube channel in Russian on Russian

the trailer for a new Russian horror film coming this fall

a video meant for native Russian speakers but still plenty of good advice! 4 лайфхака для произношения английского, о которых вы никогда не думали

a back-to-school review of Russian cases from College Russian – here’s the dative case

Счастливые люди, a documentary on life in a Siberian village (also available in English)

Как живут русские старообрядцы в Южной Америке is a FASCINATING watch



I’m really glad the summer is finally over (fall starts here on September 1st). Most of August disappeared into the black hole of chronic illness. It’s an ugly cycle: you don’t feel good, so you don’t feel like doing anything… and you don’t do anything, so you continue to feel unwell. If you have any tips on managing language learning and health, please please share them with me. The only thing I’ve found powerful enough to break this cycle is outside accountability, someone expecting you to show up at a certain time no matter what. Sometimes that “someone” is a Russian doctor 😂 which is actually pretty good for language learning. And I made a new language exchange friend this month, a Russian woman living in Europe. At the beginning of the month, our Skype language exchange was my only language study.

The past couple days I’ve been feeling better and I have high hopes for September. Language schools here have finally reopened and my husband and I started a Chinese language class. Китайский, can you believe it?! 😁 I was reluctant to start a new language – isn’t it better to continue on with Russian and Spanish? and starting from zero, ugh – but it has turned out to be a wonderful experience.

There is something beautiful about being a beginner again. Learning a new word = wooooowwwww, молодец! I can learn 10 news words in Russian and still feel dumb… yet a single new word in Chinese, gold star! And if you don’t know any language rules yet, there’s no such thing as a mistake. You can’t second guess yourself at all. The other awesome thing about Chinese class is that lessons at this point are 95% Russian and 5% Mandarin. I’ve learned a bunch of new Russian words like синолог, иероглиф (character), and слог (syllable).

What is one thing you did this month to improve your Russian? What are your language goals for September? Are you feeling the excitement of back-to-school time? Leave me a comment below!

6 Responses

  1. Mikhail
    | Reply

    Aha, Chinese! Yes!
    I’ve been studying it for five years and I can say that the most characteristic part of the process is that fosters humility in you. Because it doesn’t matter how long you try to master it, the Chinese language always finds means to put you in place.
    千里之行,始于足下。

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      What a great saying, Mikhail, so true! 👍 Thank you very much for sharing it – I’m going to copy it into my notebook. 🙂

      Are there any sites or resources that you’ve found useful for Chinese? Our teacher uses an HSK textbook (not sure which one, she just gives us copied pages) and we use Easy Chinese by Дарья Синяговская for extra study outside of class.

  2. Mikhail
    | Reply

    There’s a great number of books and apps serving the purpose. First, I recommend you to install the following apps:
    1. Pleco system https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pleco.chinesesystem, which contains a lot of useful materials
    2. Immersive Chinese https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.immersive.chinese
    3. HSK Online https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hskonline
    Books:
    1. HSK Standard Course 1-6 https://www.hskstandardcourse.com/
    Since you live in Russia, it would be convenient for you to order them via Ozon.
    2. 汉语会话301句 Series.
    Personally I loved the latter, actually the book which I started with.

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      謝謝, Mikhail!! I will check out all those resources!

      • Mikhail
        |

        I noticed that you used traditional Chinese characters 繁体字. In case you don’t intend to read materials from Taiwan and Hongkong, I recommend you to switch to simplified characters 简体字 as soon as possible. They are the only Chinese characters used in mainland China. Learning both sets is a daunting task.

      • Katherine
        |

        Ah, good catch, thank you! I think we are learning simplified (the teacher didn’t say anything specific on this) because xièxie is 谢谢. I don’t have any kind of Mandarin keyboard yet so I just googled for the characters and didn’t spot the difference. Now that you pointed it out, wow 😂 There is definitely another layer of complexity to 謝謝!

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