There’s many way to learn new language instead of study in class, course or formal book. When people said watching movies, playing games and listening to the music can improve your language, then my vote will fully go to this opinion. More fun then the formal one although the progress is not very good. Very suitable for you who don’t intend to learn a language seriously or in urgently needed. What I’m going to write is not English since it is too mainstream :p. It’s Russia.
What I’ve Learned
1. Cyrillic Alphabet
If you are in curious what is cyrillic alphabet all about, you can simply google it. For example this.
Cyrillic alphabet consist of 32 (33 in several version, depending what country) alphabet. This is used by Russia itself, ex-Uni Sovyet and another Slavic country. But I heard Mongol using this alphabet in several region. So I might say if you memorize this alphabet or even can speak in their language, you can live in Russia and Slavic country since there is not many people who able speaking decent English. Though they’re not using fully same language and alphabet, I’m pretty sure the different is just minor thing.
I memorized this alphabet when I was in 6th grade elementary school from a joystick test drive game, Sukhoi-27 Flanker, A flight simulation game. When I tried to find the complete toggle to control this simulation, I accidentally found it in help section. This gem turned me to write it down in a piece of paper, then memorized it. Sound a little bit geek, right? The alphabet tend to be easy remembered due to many similar in roman alphabet. But in other hand, you can be easily misled by its different sound. For example, when you found ‘р’, you will automatically read ‘p’, but in fact, it is read ‘r’ in English letter. Another example is ‘в’, seems sound ‘b’ but in fact it is ‘v’.
2. Wrong Spelling
When I was in Junior high school, one of my friend had t.A.T.u album cassette. I like the song. Many of their song basically in English but there are several song still in Russian. When I went to her home, sometimes I borrowed her t.A.T.u cover cassette and transliterated the Russia song like Я Сощла С Ума (Ya Soshla S Uma) and Нас Не Дагонят (Nas Ne Dagoniat). After I finished the transliteration, I listened to the song just for checking the spelling. Yes I found so many errors in my work. And the most crucial point, the spelling I had remembered from Sukhoi-27 help section was wrong. For example the spelling ‘ja’, ‘ju’, and ‘j’ for ‘я’, ‘ю’, ‘й’ are not ‘ja’, ‘ju’ and ‘j’; but ya, yu and y. Another error, I always read ‘e’ as ‘e’. The right spelling is ‘ye’. Those mean i had to change the structure of my memory of Cyrillic alphabet in my brain.
3. Hard to Read
Still in junior high school, sometimes I managed to go to my school institution library. That was the place where contained many interesting books, for sure! And again, I accidentally found in upper corner book case an old book, hard covered and all alphabet in that book was written totally in Cyrillic! I wondered, how the hell that book can be placed in this kind of library. I opened and read it. Soon, I realized that I just only be able to read letter by letter. Not word by word that supposed to be the same like we read in roman alphabet. Or Hijaiyah alphabet (for Moslem). Fluently reading word by word in Cyrillic alphabet is just hard (until now). Perhaps I do better now, but still I consider myself is not good enough.
4. Different Spelling in letter ‘o’
Kino, a punk rock band is the first Russian band that I’ve ever heard. Again, I know Kino for same random circumstances like before. I googled “Russian Rock Band”, then search in youtube and I’m happened to like it. I found that the sound fits my ear. Then I collected complete discography of Kino. So do with Nautilus Pompilius and Pompeya. Because most of the song title written directly in Cyrillic alphabet, it turned me to enable Russian alphabet in my laptop so i can search the song easily :D.
I uploaded several of my fav bits in my tumblr account. I searched the lyric, and like the old song, I transliterated again by myself. I realized sort of a particular thing. not all ‘o’ letter spelled as ‘o’. Sometimes you will be heard it spelled between ‘a’ and ‘o’. Like you read ‘ر’ in hijaiyah alphabet. For example, пожелай (wish) will be spelled as pozhelay with solid ‘o’ while когда (when) will be read as koagda with ‘o’ transition to ‘a’. Hence, I concluded that ‘o’ letter will be read depend on what word. Due to this reason, nowadays i prefer to read directly in Cyrillic alphabet rather than the transliteration. Because I believe by reading directly, I found the unique spell itself and decide myself how to read it.
Slowly but sure, I aware that the preposition is Russian mostly using single letter and parted from the following noun. For example ‘в городе’ (v gorode) stands to ‘in city’. Another example is “иди и смотри” (idi i smotri) stands to ‘come and see’.
5. Simple Vocabulary and Conversation
Lately, I read from wikipedia that Viktor Tsoi, Kino vocalist had a role in several movie. The most popular one is Игла (Igla – The Needle). Without any hesitation, I directly downloaded it and watched it. A trivia, Since Igla released in 1989 (Uni Sovyet era), I found the typical humor of Uni Sovyet movie production. Very typical. I was not satisfied just by watching 1 Russia movie. Again, i ran every piece of my source to find best Russia movie. So I downloaded 9 пота (9 rota – 9th company), Бресткая Крепость (Brest Fortress), Александра (Aleksandra), Иди и смотри (Idi i Smotri – Come and See). Brest Fortress is the ultimately my favorite bit! 3 hours movie but you won’t find any boredom while watching it. The story was about 3 general of Uni Sovyet, with their brave heart and the heart of steel, they manage the people and the troops to fought back the Nazi in order to protect Brest Fortress. Sort of heroic movie, but very different from Hollywood typical. I watched 1 hour and continued the rest in next night but still found my self in great depression effect because of the movie. Anyway, I’m not gonna pour the review here. I guess I should write a decent review for this movie later.
Listening the song while looking for the meaning, watching the movie while reading the subtitle, sooner or later there will be several word I memorized the meaning. So does the basic conversation and the word a A Russian preferably use. For example, When they asked your name, they will ask you ‘familia’ which stands to last name and we answer it with our last name. My 2 favorite words is посмотри (posmotri – look) and говорит (govorit – speak).
6. Noun even name can be varied
Do you see The Brest Fortress poster I attached above? Why it is written Brestkaya? I also notice when watching Kino in youtube, the presenter sometimes mentioned Viktor Tsoi as Viktor Tsoya. Moreover, In one of Kino lyric, stated ‘krasnaya, krasnaya krov’ (red, red blood) while the single noun of red is krasnyy. Then I finalized my temporary permanent considering that every noun and name followed by information word, ‘ya’ will be added after the noun and the name. Anyone who understands Russia, please correct me :).
7. Not only noun and name, verb and other also varied!
Like any other language, verb in Russian is varied. For example говорит, говорю and so on. At this point I don’t know what’s the condition that will affect verb variation. In my knowledge from what I’ve heard, Russian is one of the language which doesn’t have any mother language. In other word, nor like English and German which look alike each other. Russian stands itself. This is, in what my opinion making Russian as the bad-ass difficult language.
8. Italic Russian Alphabet
Not all Russian lowercase have the same form like the uppercase. For example T –> m; и –> u. So does to г.
In the end…
I wrote this in order to make track about what I’ve learned so far, in case I forget it sometimes. Such a pleasure to me if there’s a people out there, understands Russian and willing to correct me. I don’t know what progress will I gain. I do this purely just for having fun! Who knows, some day I might have a chance to experience this:
Anyway I found this link, stated that Moscow is one of three cities must visit in winter. Looks like I have a good taste regarding to winter ;). Perhaps next time I land in DMV not just for transit, but experience winter in Moscow. Explore the heritage of Romanov dynasty. Follow the trail of red army history, becoming urban explorer and take photograph to stunning Russian architecture and many more.
I said… who knows?