Привет Август! Hello August!
This month I’m joining up again with the cool language learners in the #ClearTheList community, like Lindsay (Lindsay Does Languages), Shannon (Eurolinguiste), Kris (Actual Fluency), and Angel (French Lover). If you have a language blog and you could also use some public accountability when it comes to your goals, join the group by clicking on the image below.
In July, my husband and I explored the local public library. There’s not much on offer about learning Russian (just books for beginners), but there’s way more than I thought there would be in Russian.
The library had lots of current Russian newspapers as well as my favorite guilty read: the woman’s magazine Лиза!
In the end, I checked out an English-language book on Soviet cuisine. While there are some recipes included, the book focuses more on the stories behind the foods, like how national dishes from one country became popular in other countries and how the USSR dealt with food shortages. For example, “Mimosa Salad: A Symphony of Taste” mentions that although the government opened large-scale fish canneries in the 1940s, canned fish wasn’t popular with Soviet citizens at first. What to do? The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vyacheslav Molotov, had an idea; he announced that smugglers were hiding pearls in these same cans. Word spread and people soon rushed to buy as many cans as they could, hoping to come across one containing more than just fish. If you like random little stories like that, this is your kind of book.
On to the roundup!
I seriously spent about half of July laughing through posts from an amazing blog. (The other half of the month I spent forwarding the same posts for my husband to read, haha.) Try a few of these and see what you think:
- The real problem with healthcare: Russian cures
- The first rule of Russian club is you don’t use last names
- The most depressing baby songs ever: Russian ones
- Why does every Russian woman shop at TJ Maxx?
- Russian Mom July 2015
Also very funny: Steven Colbert on this Russian comedy talk show…
Speaking of humor, a friend in Kharkiv, Ukraine sent me a link to this: Ужасы Харькова. As she put it, “текст воспринимай с юмором.” 😉
Review of July Goals
*CHINESE & SPANISH*
It felt really good to do something with these languages, since I usually ignore them entirely. I’d forgotten how nice it is to see and hear Spanish, for example. But learning Chinese is a weird one… it’s more a shared curiosity between me and my husband than anything else. While we skipped both of the Chinese meetups in July, we did finish Dmitri Petrov’s video and had (a huge disaster of) a lesson on preply.
Translation stats: it was another slow summer month. My favorite project manager was on vacation for several weeks. I worked on 7 tasks, a total of about 2,000 words. The most challenging assignment = terms and services for an online gaming community. It was dry and full of loanwords. I had the most fun with a marketing questionnaire task.
Finished Chapter 1: At The Airport in Schaum’s Russian Vocabulary. Next up is Chapter 2: On The Airplane!
LinguaLink will match you up with a Russian pensioner for language practice, but the time zones can make it tough to get matched. I did email the organizer this month, but there’s still no one available at my times. Instead, I’m going to try out HelloTalk for “anytime” Russian practice.
ANKI + penpals? Nope, nope, nope. But…
…I finally read an entire book in Russian!! 😀 Jasilyn from Coffee & Cleveland sent this bilingual version of Mary Poppins. It wasn’t very long- 12 chapters, I think?- and I read each chapter out loud. Now my mother-in-law is reading it to improve her English.
I was so excited to actually finish a book that I went straight into a second one: доктор айболит: путешествие в страну обезьян. It had been gathering dust on my bookshelf for years. Watch out, small Russian children… I’m catching up to your reading level, haha.
August Study Plan
Reading is a new direction for me. I reeeeeally want to develop a consistent reading habit in languages other than English. Every single other time I’ve tried to do this, I’ve failed. Does anyone have any tips on how to do it?
Also, I want to make a special space to study in our home- have all books, notebooks, etc. in one place.
About the canned response… do you recognize this situation?
Native speaker: Hey, you’re speaking my language! Wow, good job!
You: Oh no, actually I’m really bad at it. And I need to practice more. And I think I made a bunch of mistakes. And…
In August I’m going to sit down and write out a list of better things to say, starting with a simple “thank you” not followed by a bunch of excuses.