10 Tips on How to Learn a Foreign Language Effectively

posted Dec 28, 2010, 4:44 PM by Alla Markh   [ updated Jan 2, 2011, 10:15 AM ]

     Study frequently for shorter periods of time, rather than infrequently and extensively.

2.       Learn vocabulary effectively. The more words you know the more you can understand and say. Sticky notes around the house and flash cards are your best friends!

3.       Be patient! Accept the fact that learning a foreign language is a long and tedious process.

4.       Bring the language into your everyday life – switch your cell phone or websites you are well familiar with into the language you are learning, watch films with subtitles in the target language.

5.       Make every effort to express yourself in the language you are learning, using the resources you have. Even if these resources are very limited.

6.       Find the songs you like, search for the lyrics and sing along... and along and along! This will help you acquire correct grammatical patterns.

7.       Do not be afraid to make mistakes. It is a natural part of language learning.

8.       Attend language classes or tuition sessions regularly. Even though there are many things you can learn yourself, it is important to have a qualified language teacher to guide and explain

9.       Listen to the radio in the language you are learning, even if you do not understand much.  This will help your ear adjust to the sounds and the rhythm of the new language.

10.   When it comes to foreign language grammar, you may come across many features that do not exist in your native language.  Do not get frustrated! Take it step by step and you will master it.

"Russian Studies and Modern Life" Conference, 2010

posted Aug 15, 2010, 5:55 PM by Alla Markh   [ updated Jan 2, 2011, 9:58 AM ]

From October 7th-9th the Baltic International Academy in Riga, Latvia hosted over 150 guests from all over the world, who came to take part in the 13th international conference “Russian Studies and Modern Life”. 

The conference was organised with the support of the department of Translation and Interpreting of the Baltic International Academy, the International Association of Russian Language and Literature Teachers, and the “Russian World” fund.

The participants of the conference discussed the function of the Russian language in different fields of communication, as well as issues related to the coexistence and mutual interrelationship of languages in the multicultural environment.  The most interest, and the largest number of speeches, were dedicated to the cultural aspects of foreign language learning. 

Prof Anatoli Berdichevski , a Muscovite who has spent twenty years living and teaching in Austria led the discussion. Prof Berdichevski pointed out that the interest in learning Russian in Europe has grown dramatically in the last decade. 

"The reason for that is simple - knowledge of Russian provides better employment opportunities. Nowadays almost everyone speaks English, whereas additional knowledge of at least one Eastern European language is a great asset on the market”. 

In his report, Prof Berdichevski stressed the importance of providing learners with sufficient knowledge about Russian culture and traditions; insisting that in teaching languages we should promote the dialogue of cultures, rather than the dialogue of languages: 

“People of different cultural backgrounds find it difficult to understand each other without special training. For this reason 50% of joint ventures fall apart. Our tradition of signing contracts in saunas and restaurants is shocking to foreigners. For them, both places are associated with rest after the contract has already been signed. And of course we have to teach them how to drink Vodka, or to be more precise – how to “zakusivat” [snack while drinking]. For some reason foreigners get drunk in Russia so quickly – they are not used to snacking properly! They treat alcohol as a desert. Visiting someone’s home in Russia also demands certain knowledge. For example, a lady, who was invited to visit a family with four children had eaten a large meal beforehand, which was a big insult to the family who invited her. She did not intend anything bad, but she did not know that it is a Russian tradition to host guests with a table laid with food.”  
A heated discussion burst up at the end of the conference – some of its participants argued in favour of a new path in language teaching, i.e. primary  focus on the cultural aspect in teaching a foreign language, others insisted that other  methodological issues are to be prioritised. Either way the conference brought up a lot of important and timely questions related to teaching Russian as a foreign language. Some of them found answers; others need further study and Dr Emma Arhangelska, the head of the Russian Language department of the Baltic International Academy and the conference organiser said: 

“Regular meetings with colleagues helps us to understand different aspects of teaching Russian better. The Russian language changes so quickly that we constantly need to observe and study its changes. People live crazy lives, so does the language.”

Throughout the conference its participants had an opportunity to familiarize themselves and purchase new learning materials presented by one of the largest publishers of Russian educational literature “Zlatoust”.

The conference attracted great interest of mass media. To read more follow the links below:

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