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Fazor
2009-Dec-16, 04:15 PM
It's quiet today, and I was thinking. Dangerous, I know. Scary, I know. But I couldn't help it.

I decided that a good "New Year's Resolution*" would be to try (harder) to learn Russian. I had learned a bit earlier this year -- I'm talkative on BAUT so I'm sure there's multiple threads where I talked about it. But then I kinda got away from it.

Anyway, my question is if any of you know any good texts / books for beginning Russian? I found two interesting books that are now sitting in my Amazon shopping cart:

1) Roots of the Russian Language: An Elementary Guide to Wordbuilding (http://www.amazon.com/Roots-Russian-Language-Elementary-Wordbuilding/dp/0844242675/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_a). I'd think even a basic understanding of this would have to help, but if nothing else, would be interesting.

2) Russian Stories: A Dual-Language Book (Paperback) (http://www.amazon.com/Russian-Stories-Dual-Language-Gleb-Struve/dp/0486262448/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_a). This just seems like a neat find. Wouldn't be something to jump into right away, but it would be handy to have. One of the pieces of advice that I've seen most often in learning Spanish is to find a book in that language and read it, even if it takes you forever looking up words. Having the dual language version would make that a little more enjoyable.

But as you can see, the most important book (an actual book on learning the language!) is missing from that short list. If anyone has any suggestions, that'd be great. I do have a great website bookmarked, but I read and learn better from actual books. Just something about reading pages verses monitors.

*Noted because I don't actually make NY's Resolutions. But it gives me a good excuse to throw some money into a few books.

Otherworldly
2009-Dec-16, 04:27 PM
I know people who have used the following two:

http://www.amazon.com/MiniRus-Starter-Course-Russian-Textbook/dp/0787222283

http://www.amazon.com/Troika-Marita-Nummikoski/dp/B001E6EEBA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260980787&sr=1-2

The first is for the IQ < 50 set. Both of them are "communicative", in the sense that they don't lay out all kinds of grammar rules, but rather let you figure out what the rules are as you practice the sample speech patterns.

Fazor
2009-Dec-16, 04:31 PM
The first is for the IQ < 50 set. Both of them are "communicative", in the sense that they don't lay out all kinds of grammar rules, but rather let you figure out what the rules are as you practice the sample speech patterns.

I had a chance to check out Rosetta Stone: Russian a while ago, and it's the same way. I'm not very good at that. I need the < 10 IQ versions that spell every rule out in clear detail. :) And from what I saw the first time around, there's some . . . interesting . . . rules to Russian grammar.

Mister Earl
2009-Dec-16, 04:55 PM
У меня есть приятель, который обучения русский. Кириллица Ведь нужно жестко бороться.

Нет, я не знаю русский. Просто Firefox привязанности я, что позволяет на месте перевода. Найти хороший, чтобы быть уверенным.

Fazor
2009-Dec-16, 05:02 PM
Blah, I must have thrown away my keyboard layout diagram. I recognize about three or four words of that Earl. :) Don't ship me off to Russia just yet.

Mister Earl
2009-Dec-16, 05:08 PM
There's a Firefox add-on made by Babelfish. It's what I used to write my previous remarks. I don't understand a lick of Russian. But it's handy browsin' the net with, once you have a handy tool to circumvent language barriers. Here's the link for it.

http://netticat.ath.cx/BabelFish/BabelFish.htm

Heck, with a little jury-rigging, you can do as I did, and use that tool to highlight-and-translate text you've typed into a textbox. I love this tool :D

HenrikOlsen
2009-Dec-16, 05:13 PM
Google (http://translate.google.com/) translates it to
I have a friend who study Russian. Cyrillic It should be firmly combated.

No, I do not know Russian. Just Firefox Attachment I, which allows on-site translation. Find a good, to be sure.

Otherworldly
2009-Dec-16, 05:19 PM
There's a Firefox add-on made by Babelfish. It's what I used to write my previous remarks.

OK, that explains a few things :)

Fazor
2009-Dec-16, 05:21 PM
Ah, a cheater eh? I use babelfish, but the key with it or any translation software is to know the limitations.

I use it mostly to double check my Spanish, but joke that if it ever translates something exactly how you'd say it in English, then you've probably done something wrong.

One example with Spanish: excluding the pronouns before verbs can create some interesting translations, but the native speakers I talk to all say that it is bad form to actually say the pronoun (in most cases) because it is already indicated with the verb conjugation.

Argos
2009-Dec-16, 05:28 PM
Google translation is getting better every day. The Google translation Henrik presented is not too shabby [considering that Russian demands transliteration on top of the translation]

Mister Earl
2009-Dec-16, 05:31 PM
Yeah, that little program isn't perfect, but it'll generally help you get the point across :) I'm going to see if the Japanese show "Downtown: Gaki no Tsukai" has a message board, and become a poster on it. I find both Japan and this show very interesting, and until I learn Japanese it'll help me learn more about both.

SeanF
2009-Dec-16, 07:15 PM
[considering that Russian demands transliteration on top of the translation]
How so?

Argos
2009-Dec-16, 07:21 PM
How so?

???

Otherworldly
2009-Dec-16, 07:25 PM
How so?

Not a bad point. The Russian and English letters are not in exact one-to-one correspondence, but then again, neither are the Spanish and English letters :)

Argos
2009-Dec-16, 07:29 PM
Not a bad point. The Russian and English letters are not in exact one-to-one correspondence, but then again, neither are the Spanish and English letters :)

My point is to praise Google. Transliteration adds another layer of complexity to the task. Let alone Chinese, Indi, etc.

HenrikOlsen
2009-Dec-16, 07:39 PM
That supposes the algorithm cares about transliteration.

From what I've been able to figure out, what's actually happening is that Google uses their massive database of the internet to correlate Russian and English versions of the same text and make a transformation based on those statistics, with no attempt at actually parsing the sentence into meaningful bits.

For that algorith the transliteration is a null operation as the statistics are already relating Cyrillic to Latin letters.

SeanF
2009-Dec-16, 07:40 PM
???
I don't understand how translating from written Russian to written English requires transliteration...?

Jens
2009-Dec-17, 04:38 AM
My point is to praise Google. Transliteration adds another layer of complexity to the task. Let alone Chinese, Indi, etc.

From a human perspective, having to use a different writing system makes it more difficult. But the computer doesn't care about that. Arabic writing is just as easy for it as Roman letters.

Argos
2009-Dec-17, 12:15 PM
Henrik gives an interesting insight into the mechanics of the translations, indicating that it is just a brute force approach, which makes me wrong. Still, a great software.