What Makes Learning Russian so Hard for the English-Speakers?

When asked this question, native English-speakers usually provide similar answers: the main difficulties are (in an approximate order of lowest to highest difficulty, and this is not a full list): learning Cyrillic, pronunciation, case for nouns / adjectives, verbal affixes / aspect, intonation, and word order.

Many language learners believe that, if they know a certain number of words, they will be able to communicate the language they are studying, and this may be true for some languages, but not in the case of the Russian language, where words change a lot due to numerous suffixes, endings, and prefixes, which are not only difficult to remember, but, what’s more, they may change the meanings of words dramatically. Learning words and their meanings is not enough in Russian. You’ve got to know a lo about various language structures and grammar rules, if you want to understand and speak Russian.

Those who have just started studying Russian say that learning Russian pronunciation is quite challenging, but in fact, it comes to you with practice. A more difficult thing, probably, is having to remember cases for nouns / adjectives and verbal affixes / aspect.

English has a large number of phrasal verbs which can have wildly differing meanings. In fact, Russian phraseology is very developed, too, and using it may be quite a task to a beginner, when all Russians use lots of phraseology and idioms in daily communication, which makes understanding Russian quite difficult for beginners.

Really many things in the Russian language are left to the learner’s memory. Russian suffixes, for example, may have predictable meanings, which tend to be “technical”, for lack of a better word, while prefixes are more abstract and polysemic—as are the English particles. For example, Rusian words распустить, выпуск, запуск, запущенный have the same root, by the way, but very different spelling and pronunciation, to say nothing about the meanings.

While English phrasal verbs like give up, go on, take off, take after— let you make educated guesses at what they mean, especially if you encounter one of them in context, a learner of Russian cannot reliably deduce the meanings of words by only knowing the meaning of a root or of the parts they are built of.

Also, many English-speakers find Russian language structure lacking logic; they believe that there are too many exceptions to each rule to even be able to call them rules at all. Other learners complain that Russian free word order makes it even more difficult to speak, because while putting words at random places in the sentence, you never know what logical accent your final phrase will acquire.

Here are a few interesting notes which I picked up at Russian learner’ forums;  these comments give you a great picture of their troubles while trying to master Russian:

Comment 1: “It is certainly the vocabulary that is giving me the most trouble, although I seem to have reached a point where words are beginning to be related to each other and I recognize the root and so can guess the meaning, and anticipate the form. The grammar, apart from becoming accustomed to the verbs, does not seem difficult…”

Comment 2: “DO NOT try to learn Russian by roots, prefixes, and suffixes. My SMALL experience with Russian prefixes and suffixes is that they do NOT modify in a logical manner.”

Comment 3: “Basically, you could learn 3 other languages as easily as you can learn Russian. And then there is the grammar.”

And now, for the last comment, on the most optimistic note, to wrap up the discussion for today. Enjoy!

Comment 4:  “If you put solid effort into learning Russian and maintain motivation and dedication, you will become conversationally fluent sooner than you expect! Once you get a foot-hold into the language, you will be learning and retaining more and more, easier and easier. It’s like learning a new word in your native language – it isn’t hard at all to remember it because you can subconsciously find the roots and words similar to it, and you hear it around you so you’re exposed to the word and “revising” it. Just take it slow and understand everything handed to you and you will be on the road to fluency in no time! Good luck :)”

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How to Use ESL Tests for Self-Study

О пользе тестов по английскому языку для самостоятельного обучения (статья на английском языке)

Everyone who studies a foreign language has to take tests at one point or another. Though it is probably one of the students’ least favorite things to do, testing  and self-testing is a very efficient way to study a language. There are hundreds of testing systems for ESL students, they are supposed to test different types of knowledge and require different test taking skills. Today, I will focus on a the most popular types of tests that ESL teachers use in their classrooms.

If you take a test and do it in your personal study time, the test may turn into a very efficient learning tool: it is an exercie, which you can do without having to be nervous about the final results or think about time. If you do a test at home, paying attention to every detail and using the answer keys to self-check your results. it is no longer a test, but a very good exercise and a great way to memorize structures of the Engish language. Among the most popular (and beneficial) test practices, I would pick out the following:

  1. Completion tests. This type of tests require you to complete a sentence: fill in the blank tests, cloze testsfree answer tests.
  2. Matching tests, which ask you to pair items in one column with those in another.
  3. True/false tests, which are, in fact, alternative response tests.
  4. Multiple choice tests, where you are supposed to select and check out one answer among a few options (usually 3 0r 4).
  5. Essay tests, where you write an essay and thus, you can be creative with the language you know, and express your ideas freely. These tests are less common in the ESL classrooms since they require a larger base of general knowledge than simpler test forms.
  6. Oral testing. This kind of testing is particularly important because spoken language is the ultimate goal in any language program. Oral tests focus on your ability to communicate with what you know. Since spoken language is creative and flexible, it gives you a way to build your own, unique style of speaking, and to acquire fluency in communication. Certainly, speaking to yourself during your self-study time does not guarantee you against making mistakes, but still it is the most effective methos of learning, so you’ve got to use it as frequently as you can.

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What Makes Some Women so Uniquely Feminine?

The awareness of my own femininity struck me for the first time when I became a university student. After a cloudless childhood in a family of a marine scientist, where no such thing as femininity or sexuality had ever been mentioned at all, I suddenly found myself living in a student dorm and being surrounded with hundreds of absolutely awesome-looking girls, whose main goal in life (as it seemed to me) was to look

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Femininity is a skill that can and should be developed through life.

impeccable and beat the fierce competition for the three boys, who happened to be the only three male students in the whole Foreign Languages Department. As I watched how skillfully my fellow-girls could fight between each other for a time in a shower room and then immediately turn into innocent angels because a male species would turn up in the doorway, I admired their talents and thought to myself that I would never learn that science. A year later, by the beginning of my sophomore year, I caught myself practicing the “science”, too: I learned to do it so well that our male professor of phonetics (oh, he was as hot as George Clooney!) seemed to have a crush on me, which even made me the “queen of the bitches” for a while. It was the time when I realized that femininity, though probably being an inborn quality of some women, can and should be developed, fostered, fed, and never left to chance. Later, when I started working as a relationship coach, my numerous meetings with women gave me more awareness… and more confidence in my own femininity.

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A woman is not defined by the way she looks, but by the way she behaves.

I realized two things: first, that just being beautiful or knowing how to wear awesome make-up is not enough and second, as unusual as it may sound, that femininity and sexuality are quite different things. While sexuality is a quality that determines a woman’s relationship with other people, femininity is always a part of her nature, the basis of her personality, the trendsetter of her style, a substance contained in her blood. This is why a woman is not defined by the way she looks, but by the way she behaves.

I used to read many magazine articles suggesting tips about how a woman could look more feminine. Those advice were good, but to me they did not have enough value when taken just as they were. I believed that to become really feminine, a woman needed to change her whole personality. Here are a few ideas from my own diary, which I had when I was a student.

  • Learn to move gently. Avoid Arguments, work on your intonation and, of course, on your vocabulary.
  • Do not swear. Never.
  • Be cool, but don’t be baited into arguments by people who can’t respect you. Be mature enough to know when your presence is needed somewhere.
  • Soften up and speak Softly. What can be more feminine than a girl who cares about the way other people perceive her? Learn to carry yourself with dignity regardless of who you are talking to.
  • Be ready to face the fact that when you bring yourself to the level of a man, you will be treated like a man. A classy lady can always find ways to express herself with words that don’t offend others.
  • Be yourself and love yourself for who you are. Just live up to your own expectations. Remember, that all choices in life are yours: you are the one in charge of choosing which lifestyle is the right one for you, so it’s only your concern; and, of course,
  • Read, learn, grow! Take every opportunity that comes. When there is no opportunity, create one! Be persistent, but not aggressive; be strong, but not sharp; treasure harmony in everything you do, say, or think.
  • Your femininity is not defined by what you do or how you do it, it is defined by the way you relate to other people and to yourself. It reflects your attitudes to learning and developing as a mature, reasonable person. It reflects your kindness and your compassion.
  • The way you think and act will always echo back to you. For that reason, a woman should not just look feminine, she should really be supportive, positive, and loving to everyone around. Isn’t it a natural part of female nature? By showing people that she cares for them, a woman sets up the ground for what she believes in.

So, I guess, the solution is simple, yet it takes lots of effort to reach. Femininity cannot  be drawn on a woman’s face with the help of lipstick and brushes, a woman needs to work on her personality first, and then skill up with make up or take care of her hair, nails, heels and purses, because appearance only works to support our self-awareness and self-recognition, not the other way around.

Happy Relationships: Who Are The Lucky Ones Who Have Them?

How Not To Spoil Your St.Valentine’s Day

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Believe it or not, but science warns us that St.Valentine’s Day celebrations can ruin relationships for couples, rather than boost them. Statistically, the risk of breaking up a week before or a week right after this holiday is 2.5 times higher than in any other time of the year. Well, the explanation to this is quite  obvious: couples have high expectations, which may not come true, and then the risk of breaking up becomes a lot more probable. How can you avoid the risk?

  1. Do not get enticed by any last-minute ideas of presents or celebrations. If you have been thinking it over for a while and finally came up with something, but still feel a bit uncertain about the gift, the gift you already have is probably much better than an idea suggested by a friend during a lunch-break, because that guy has a different woman, and he probably knows her well. Just pick up something that your friend will certainly like, because he (she) has always liked it.
  2. Try to avoid very big arrangements, big expenses or anything that would look really “not like usual you” to your partner. Whatever you prepare for them may excite you, but equally, it may freak them out a little bit.
  3. You should not surprise your partner with super sexy ideas like turning up naked or anything that you had not practiced before. Too much of surprise may end up in disappointment for both.

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4. Do not make serious holiday arrangements if February, 14-th happens to be your first date. On the very first date both people should remain themselves, be attentive to each other, and try to move on slowly until they get to know each other really well.

5. On St.Valentine’s Day you simply have no right to forget things! It will kill your partner if you kiss them and say, “Oh, damn, it seems I have left your gift at home!” Do NOT forget anything if you don’t want a break up.

6. You’d better NOT give your partner a Valentine’s Day card. It may look a bit cheap. If you care really much for your dear friend, make them a really nice present, or simply be lovable, attentive, and charming. Giving your partner a card is not a way to display any of these three qualities.

7. Try not to burn your holiday food and if you count on having a romantic dinner in a restaurant, all arrangements must be made well in advance and everything should work well there.

8. Buying very extravagant gifts, as well as making some personal gifts (like underwear, for example) is risky. Just leave this for some other time. Buy something nice for your friend instead – something that you are sure he (she) will appreciate.

And the last suggestion:

9. Be really charming and attentive to your partner on this day. This is the key to real romance. Both, men and women love being taken care of, so why not give this pleasure to them and live this whole day just for them?

Wishing you good luck for this coming holiday!

Where Can I Practice My English Skills?

Где можно получить практику общения на английском?

Для желающих регулярно общаться на английском языке: ниже в этой статье – небольшой, но вполне достаточный список интернет-ресурсов, которые позволят вам:

  • зарегистрироваться на международном сайте и создать новые знакомства с англоязычными пользователями
  • регулярно общаться по-английски, как письменно, так и устно (некоторые ресурсы предоставляют возможности аудиочата)
  • обмениваться информацией, материалами, аудио и видео записями
  • завести новых друзей и превратить общение на английском в привычное и приятное занятие.

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http://sharedtalk.com/ – портал для быстрого нахождения собеседников и языкового обмена. Здесь зарегистрированы пользователи из различных стран, с которыми можно общаться в режиме реального времени. На сайте есть не только удобный текстовый чат, но и голосовой чат, общение в котором поможет вам развить навыки говорения на иностранном языке.

https://pen4pals.com/ru – этот сайт разработан специально для языкового обмена между носителями различных языков. Например, вы учите английский язык и общаетесь с носителем английского, который учит русский язык.

http://abroad-pal.com/ – здесь можно создать собственную страничку, написать о себе и начать поиск друзей по переписке. Сайт объединяет большое количество пользователей, являющихся носителями всевозможных языков. Здесь есть специальные группы и форумы для общения по интересам. Кроме того, можно вести переписку в личных сообщениях и оставлять комментарии на страничках других пользователей.

http://livemocha.com/ – многие студенты, изучающие иностранные языки, считают этот сайт лучшим из лучших. Ресурс дает разносторонние возможности – от языковых уроков всех уровней до поиска друзей по переписке. На портале множество пользователей, которые регулярно обмениваются языковым опытом, проверяют письменные задания друг друга, переписываются сообщениями и общаются друг с другом в удобном чате.

http://www.interpals.net/ – социальная сеть, ориентирована на разностороннее общение между иностранцами, а том числе – на переписку с целью языкового обмена. Здесь можно переписываться в личных сообщениях, общаться в режиме онлайн и на форумах.

http://www.penpalscommunity.com/ – Эта международная социальная сеть объединяет людей со всего мира, желающих найти друзей по переписке. Вы сможете создать свою учётную запись, загрузить фото и указать, для каких целей вы ищите новые контакты. Большинство пользователей портала стремятся найти людей для языковой практики, но это – не единственная цель ресурса. Социальная сеть делает ставку на возможность найти настоящего друга и родственную душу в любом конце света. У ресурса также есть официальное приложение для Android.

https://inter-perepiska.ru/ – портал создан специально для русско-английского языкового обмена между носителями этих языков. Здесь можно найти друзей по переписке за рубежом, улучшить языковые навыки, получить новый опыт и даже встретить свою вторую половинку! На портале также работает форум для общения и выложено немало полезных статей с советами о том, как выучить иностранный язык.

 

 

 

How to Memorize English Words

Как запоминать английские слова?

Мне часто задают этот вопрос те, кто занимается английским пассивно (т.е. самостоятельно, без спешки, так сказать, на всякий случай). Эта статья – ответ именно для таких учащихся, которые могут позволить себе выделить 10-20 минут в день для занятий языком: не очень много, но зато регулярно. Здесь я перечислю несколько эффективных способов запоминания, а вы можете выбрать для себя те, которые вам более всего по душе.

  1. Из всех новых слов вы скорее всего легко запомните именно те, которые наиболее “привычны” вам в родном языке. Говоря на родном языке, каждый из нас использует свой индивидуальный набор слов: вы наверно заметили, что кто-то из ваших знакомых не может обходиться, например, без слова “Разумеется!”, а другой часто повторяет фразу “А ты как думал?” и т.п. У каждого человека – свой набор характерной для него лексики. Поэтому вам не стоит насиловать себя запоминанием слов, которые упорно не хотят запоминаться. Сосредоточьте внимание на тех словах, которые с первого раза показались вам “родными”.
  2. Слова лучше всего запоминаются, когда вы встречаете их в образном контексте. Слово “чемодан”(suitcase), например, гораздо быстрее запомнится, если вы постараетесь запомнить его в словосочетании с другим словом, которое вызовет у вас устойчивый зрительный образ и даже эмоциональную реакцию, например: “чемодан денег” (a suitcase full of money; money in a suitcase).
  3. Пытайтесь придумывать предложения с каждым новым словом, причём так, чтобы в них говорилось о чём-то важном для вас. Если у вас есть любимый кот Мурзик, придумайте фразы про Мурзика в чемодане или что-нибудь в этом духе, и тогда это слово будет “крутиться” у вас в голове целый день и к вечеру запомнится навсегда.
  4. Быстро запоминаются также слова, которые вы можете мысленно сопоставить с уже знакомыми вам словами или построить рифму (suit-case / good-race / cute-face…). Мне приходилось слышать от студентов, как ловко они переделывают английские слова в шуточные русские фразы, типа “very well, thank you” = “у Веры ел, с Сенькою” Если новое слово упорно вызывает у вас шутливую ассоциацию, значит оно запомнится моментально.
  5. Вообще запоминать что-либо нужно с удовольствием. Возьмите пять новых слов, напишите их на карточках и поиграйте с карточками: положите одну в холодильник, другую  – в рабочий стол, третью прикрепите на зеркало в ванной и т.д. Дальше – можете заниматься другими делами. Всякий раз, наталкиваясь на карточки, вы будете “фотографировать” слова глазами. Сразу припоминайте перевод слова и произносите его вслух. К вечеру  всё запомнится!
  6. Старайтесь использовать изученную лексику в своей речи.  Даже если вы разговариваете на родном языке, но вам припомнилось английское слово, проговорите его в уме по-английски, а в своей речи постарайтесь использовать его в родном языке. Даже такая мысленная игра очень полезна для запоминания.
  7. Нарисуйте для себя так называемую интеллект-карту (mind map). В ней соберите в смысловые блоки те слова, которые вы уже знаете по конкретное теме. Вот пример такой карты, взятый нами из статьи на сайте englex.ru

mind-map В этой схеме – слова, разобранные по подтемам в общей теме “дом”. Сделайте для себя такую карту или составьте её вместе с близкими (например, с детьми), и слова улягутся в памяти сами собой.

Есть ещё много способов ускорить запоминание: регулярно посещать обучающие сайты, вести свой словарь новых слов, читать тексты на разные темы, составлять и писать предложения с новыми словами, но самое главное – это изучать язык в активном действии, и желательно – общаясь на нём.

Удобнее всего, конечно, организовать регулярное общение с носителями языка или преподавателями, но о таком – наиболее эффективном – способе запоминания, к которому прибегают в основном те, кто торопится изучить язык быстро и глубоко, мы поговорим в следующих статьях.

 

Russian School Diaries: Sweet Memories to Keep

In Russia, Ukraine, and everywhere about the former USSR, every student of primary and secondary school must have a so-called diary (дневник [dnevnik]) – a printed notebook, where the student is supposed to make daily entries of their tasks for homework, and teachers usually leave short notes for parents and put down the student’s grades whenever he or she made an oral presentation in class or got a test grade in the class register. Dnevnik is a so-to-say form of communication between teachers and parents via the kid’s book of daily notes.

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The school year extends from September 1 to end of May and is divided into four terms with a week-long vacation periods between them. The programme of study in schools is fixed, it amazes me how stable it has been over the years: the program which my mother had at her maths class in the 1950-es at the age of 12 is practically identical to what my daughter studied at her age of 12 in 2003. Neither can schoolchildren choose the subjects they want to study. The class load per student is 638 hours a year for nine-year-olds, 893 for thirteen-year-olds, plus there are official hours of additional classwork within the program. The students are supposed to write with pens of blue color, while teachers always use red. You can see the student’s notes in blue in the “dnevnik” below, and the teacher’s entries in red: the grades, the teacher’s signatures, and sometimes short notes for the parents asking to pay attention at their kid’s behavior or attention in the classroom.

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Students are graded on a 5-step scale, ranging in practice from 2 (“unacceptable”) to 5 (“excellent”); 1 is a rarely used sign of extreme failure. Teachers regularly subdivide these grades (i.e. 4+, 5-) in daily use, but term and year results are graded strictly 2, 3, 4 or 5.

The teachers’ entries into “dnevnik” have always caused excitement in our minds, and the mother’s or father’s voice, saying: “Show me your dnevnik!” remains in everyone’s memory till the end of our lives!

High school kids are usually bored by school, and those wh want to show that they don’t give a damn to the school rules, can do this to their “dnevniks” sometimes:

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But the most memorable are the humorous moments, when teachers, being driven to madness by kids, leave very funny notes in dnevniks. In Russia and Ukraine, we even have websites, where people contribute photos or scans of their kid’s dnevnik pages with very funny teachers’ notes. This page, for example, has a few entries about a boy’s bad behavior:

  1. “Нарисовал половой орган на доске!” – “He drew a penis on the black board!”
  2. Кричал “Ленин жив!” – “He cried out “Lenin’s alive!”, and in the bottom part of the page:
  3. “Продавал одноклассника в рабство” – “Tried selling his classmate to slavery.”

Looks like quite an action-packed day for a school boy, doesn’t it?

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About Ukrainian Women’s Struggle to Be Allowed to Fight

This article is not about the war, but about the women who happened to live in the war time. For nearly three years now, Ukrainian women have been playing an equally important role with men in the events, taking place in the country. Women have been carrying out their missions at the forefront as military nurses, intelligence officers, snipers, commanders of military hardware. Hundreds of women have been working as doctors, nurses, secretaries, accountants, cooks, or just helping the army as volunteers by collecting vital aid and delivering it to the front line. In all regions of the country, women work at production plants and at farms to produce the necessary supplies for the army.

ua_women-at-war According to data released by the Ministry of Defense in March 2016, there are 17,000 women soldiers in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including 2,200 officers. Another 33,000 are working at positions of civil servants and employees of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. More than 1,500 were performing tasks in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Zone.

However, women’s tasks in the Ukrainian Army are not limited by what I have listed above. Quite often they perform the same duties as men, but do not receive the same rights and the same state support, including when they come back from war, because never before the Ukrainian legislators considered women as potential soldiers or fighters of any kind. Due to the legal shortcomings and oversights, Ukrainian women face a number of obstacles when they try to enter the army as volunteers. Which means that those who succeed are highly motivated to serve for Ukraine. Sometimes their motivation is much higher than men’s.

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Today, after some changes were made to the Ukrainian legislation in 2016, women soldiers are protected a bit better, but the optimism of the women’s rights fighters is a bit premature.

The female soldiers in Ukraine have the same rights which are foreseen by the legislation on the social protection for women, protection of maternity and childhood. In the case of a so-called mobilization, all women soldiers who have children under 18 can be out of soldiering if they will not want to continue it. If mobilization is announced, all women who want to continue their soldiering should sign a statement confirming their choice, by it stating that family becomes secondary for them.

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The first sociological study on women’s participation in the Donbas war – metaphorically named the “Invisible Battalion” (as women’s experience in the Ukrainian army is largely invisible to the public and legislation) – was presented in Kyiv in the end of 2015. The study was based on 50 interviews with men and women who have served in the combat zone. A separate section was devoted to women’s participation in Euromaidan and the Women’s Sotnya (meaning: Women’s Hundred) as shortly after the revolution many female activists set off to the eastern front.

Sociologists explained the motivation that drove Ukrainian female volunteers. They joined the fight for patriotic reasons and plan to remain until the end of the war. These women are usually much more motivated than men as they must overcome many stereotypes, prove their right to fight along with men and accept the fact that they cannot count on social protection.

And still, while the legislation is not adjusted to the current situation, women have to remind men about their rights. Some activists are strongly convinced that in modern society, women should have the right to choose whether they want to cook borshch or die on the barricades.

“Our government’s  paternalism is rather outdated. Many international documents declare that the role of women is slowly changing – not only are they viewed as victims of conflict, but as representatives in conflict resolution, together with men.” says sociologist and researcher Tamara Martsenyuk. She believes that women’s rights should be determined as part of labour legislation. Specific rules on women’s labour dates back to the Soviet era… for example, Ukrainian women are not allowed to lift heavy objects or drive certain vehicles.

However, many men (and some women, as well) do not think this list is discriminatory. Working as a chauffeur/driver in the army implies not only driving. “A driver is responsible for his vehicle, knows how to camouflage and repair it. With all due respect, women cannot always cope with these situations,” saysColonel Holota, the head of the military social division of the Personnel Department with the Armed Forces. 

There are currently 14,500 women serving in the army, almost 2,000 of them are officers, and 35 hold senior positions in the Ministry of Defence, the General Staff, and the different types of Armed Forces of Ukraine. 938 women are listed as active soldiers.

Still, even after the two world wars, a number of armed conflicts and a few revolutions which shook Ukraine during the 20-th century, the general approach to a woman, that sits deep in the minds of population, has never changed: a woman is a symbol of peaceful life and her best place is at work, at home, or with kids, but not in the front. It must be this general attitude that slows down the process of changes regarding the women-soldiers rights in Ukraine.

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How Effective Are the Self-Study Courses of English?

Насколько эффективны аудио и видео курсы английского для самостоятельного обучения?

Сегодня полки книжных магазинов, а пуще того – образовательные сайты, соц сети и торренты переполнены предложениями красочных, хорошо продуманных и адаптированных к конкретным нуждам пользователей курсов иностранных языков, включающих в себя полный набор материалов: книги, аудио диски и видео. Выбор действительно богат, особенно если вас интересует изучение английского – самого популярного в мире языка.

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Вы можете отыскать специальные пособия, ориентированные на изучение, например, бизнес-лексики или языка дипломатического общения, или просто учебники разговорного языка, или справочники для туристов и путешественников. Занятия по таким учебникам обычно весьма увлекательны, потому что вы можете почитать, послушать и посмотреть материалы на определённую тему и многие слова запомнятся довольно быстро. Такие курсы великолепны, например, для молодых мам, которые каждый день час-другой гудяют с колясками по парку, или для тех, чья работа позволяет, надев наушники, уйти в себя во время рабочего дня и погрузиться в обучение. Хороши эти курсы также для очень орнанизованных, последовательных людей, кому характер позволяет установить для себя рутинное действие и повторять его ежедневно, как говорится, без выходных и перерывов.

Однако, ни в одном из этих случаев учащийся не может рассчитывать, что изучит язык самостоятельно настолько хорошо, чтобы использовать его в общении с носителями языка. Как бы ни были хороши предлагаемые нам курсы, все они могут претендовать только на почётное звание “дополнительных материалов”, потому что им не достаёт всего одного, но, к сожалению, главного элемента: живого общения. Мне приходится повторять это множество раз, пытаясь уберечь людей от самообмана:

Иностранный язык можно усвоить ТОЛЬКО путём общения

с теми, кто им владеет или для кого он является родным.

Поэтому любые курсы, снабжённые аудио и видео материалами, можно расценивать как замечатеьное и очень эффективное… дополнение к общению, которое вам необходисо организовать с преподавателями или с носителями языка. Ведь вы изучаете язык для того, чтобы общаться на нём, так? Так. А значит, нужно отставить в сторону боязнь ошибок и прочие предрассудки и первым делом отыскать того (или тех), кто станет общаться с вами на языке на регулярной основе. И общаться: общаться взахлёб. И когда это случится, то и купленные вами медиа-курсы станут усваиваться совершенно по-новому: быстро и эффективно. 

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