As mentioned in a part one of this post on learning to write and read Russian, I sometimes feel I am starting over again as a child. I know the letters pretty well but have to read them, one by one, to decode the word. However, the sense of achievement when I do is worth the effort! Here’s a Spar leaflet I picked up in St Petersburg (Languages teachers love realia!) Click on the image to see an enlarged version. I recognise хлеб (bread) but it took a second to see батон (work it out yourself) and then another second to see, smilingly, мини багет ! I love it when they transcribe words from other languages! On several occasions, travelling on the metro I saw posters of fashionable men and women with the words рив гош. Again, it took me some thinking until I had that Aha! moment and realised it’s Russian for “Rive Gauche”!
Reading texts such as poems or short stories is a pleasant way of improving your vocabulary and becoming more confident in the language. Publishers produce readers specially designed for language learners, simplified texts which give you a sense of achievement. I’m currently trying out 25 Texts in easy Russian with audio which I’ve bought from the site redkalinka.com. It took me ages to get the text and audio to work together (not their fault) not having realised that my Kindle Paperwhite doesn’t actually ‘do’ sound and that my mobile phone won’t play mp3s. I’ve now got the book working on my laptop with the Kindle for PC app and I like the simplicity and brevity of the texts, their accompanying translation and sound files. I’ll report back when I have used it for longer.
When reading English I pay scant attention to whether the text is in Times New Roman, Calibri or even Comic Sans, but I’ve discovered that it makes a big difference when reading Russian. Here’s a screenshot (apologies for the poor quality) from ‘Talk Russian’ (which I’ve mentioned in a post on reviewing books)
Personally, I find that much easier to read than the text in ‘Take off in Russian’ – screenshot below:
And as for handwritten text, well, don’t even go there (yet!)