10 Ukrainian Words I Learned in Kiev

 

McDonald’s-ua
Yes, people speak Ukrainian and Russian in Kiev. But advertisements and television programs tend to be in Ukrainian, the official language. Russian and Ukrainian are approximately 60% similar. So, knowing one does help with comprehending the other. However, there are many things that make each language unique. Ukrainian has one more case and an additional imperfective future verb tense. Hooray for declination and conjugation in Slavic languages xD Below you will learn some differences in vocabulary that I picked up in Kiev while I attended Russian lessons for seven weeks.

 

Ukrainian – Russian – English

  1. так (tak) – да (da) – yes 

  2. привіт (pryvit) – привет (privet) – hi

  3. доброго ранку (dobrovo rankoo) – доброе утро (dobroye ootra) – good morning 

  4. доброго дня (dobrovo dnya) – добрый день (dobryy den’) – good afternoon

  5. дякую (dyakooyu) – спасибо (spasiba) – thanks

  6. будь ласка (bud’ laska)– пожалуйста (pozhaloosta) – please/you’re welcome

  7. великий (velykyy) – большой (bol’shoy)- big (false friend: великий means great in Russian)

  8. це (tse) – это (ehto) – this/it

  9. кава (kava) – кофе (kofe) – coffee 

  10. горілка (xhorilka) – водка (vodka)- vodka (Ukrainian “г” has a different sound: “xh” not “g”)

 

Comparison of Ukrainian and Russian alphabets:

ukrainian alphabet

RussianAlphabet

 

Did you know about these Ukrainian words? I’d love to hear from you!
One more thing before I conclude this post: Yes, I am interested in Ukrainian! This year I have also decided to learn some Ukrainian. I won’t be learning the grammar formally like I have done with German, Russian and French, but I do want to learn some basic words and phrases. The language is personally interesting to me since I lived in Kiev and got to know Ukrainian people and culture. Plus, it’s fun to compare the similarities with Russian. I really like Ukrainian so far ❤ Since I don’t plan on studying or working in Ukraine, I don’t see any need learning the language past a B1 level. At most, I’ll probably reach A2. I’ve got a phrase book and two vocabulary books. And I use Duolingo and YouTube. As I go on, I may use other websites and language learning apps. Even though A2 isn’t that high of a level, I look forward to using some Ukrainian the next time I visit Ukraine!
Чудового дня! / Have a lovely day!
❤ Stephanie

Two Exercises for Improving your German Vocabulary

Hello everyone!

Glad to have you on my blog =)

I wanted to share a quick post today with two exercises for improving your German vocabulary. You can use the exercises for any of your target languages, but since I have a B.A. in German, attended all sorts of classes to learn German, tried (nearly) every method to improve my skills, and lived in Germany for a year, I wanted to do a language-learning post for German 😀

My specialty in life would have to be German grammar 😉 Most people are indifferent when it comes to grammar, but I love it! It’s interesting for me to learn about the structure of different languages,  so it’s no surprise that I have predisposition for liking (German, Russian, French) grammar. German grammar seems difficult in the beginning for most learners and that’s the popular opinion around the world, but, in my opinion, it’s much more reliable and logical than French or English grammar. 

I’m not sure if many German learners read my blog, but if you are learning German and have questions, or want recommendations for German learning resources, please feel free to ask in the comments.

 

With the little introduction aside, let’s move on to the two exercises:

Exercise 1:

  1. Write a text in German. For example: a diary entry, a letter to a loved one (imagined or real), a report about something, or an essay on a particular topic.
  2. Try to think and write in German only. There may be some words that you still need to translate, so make a list of the words you need to know.*
  3. Group words from the list together. You can group verbs/adjectives/prepositions together, or words that belong to a particular topic such as “university life.”
  4. Study these words and re-write the text. Here is an essay checklist for writing correctly in German: Essay Writing Checklist. Here is a list of transition words to help with the structure of your essay: Aufsatz Phrases (pdf). Finally, here is another resource that discusses common mistakes students of German make in their writing: Grammar and Usage Advice.

 

*why should you start with German instead of translating? 1) If your goal is to speak German, you have to use German before you get really good at it. Actively using a language is the only way to become “fluent,” so it helps to start thinking, speaking and writing even the most basic phrases and sentences when self-studying. 2) You want to avoid awkward translations. By using German only, you are helping to develop a feeling for correct, natural German. Also, if you are just translating a text instead of trying to see what you know first, your progress will be very slow. 3) If you are an upper intermediate or advanced student, I would suggest translating an essay you have written in your native language into German. You have already developed a feeling for the language, so your main concern is no longer major translation mistakes, but rather limited vocabulary. You may have good grammar and know many words, but are you always repeating them over and over? Translating a text you have written in your native language will give you plenty of opportunities to learn new words and to compare your writing ability in your native and target languages.

 

Exercise 2:

  1. Select a topic (for example: animals, nationalities, professions.)
  2. Jot down words you already know.
  3. Search them online for natural examples from native speakers. For this I recommend: Tatoeba, a collection of sentences and translations or use a dictionary to find related words. I recommend dict.cc.

Let’s use the word Kellner (waiter):

Kellner example
By searching dict.cc, we learned that instead of saying “ich bin Kellner von Beruf” you can also use “arbeiten als.” More colloquial, would be the verb “kellnern.” There are also further collocations like “eine Stelle annehmen.” Dict.cc also gives grammatical information and synonyms at the top of each entry (not shown here.)

 

 

So, how else can you improve your vocabulary in a foreign language? a) Listen daily to native speakers by watching TV shows, the news,  films, or YouTube videos. b) Read daily— you can actively look for new words, or just enjoy the story. Exposure and practice are key.

 

More blog posts I’ve written about learning foreign languages:

 

I hope it helped! I’m going to use the first exercise to help with my French self-study and the second one to expand my Russian vocabulary.

Have a great morning/day/evening,

Stephanie ❤

Tips for Native English Speakers Learning Russian (Part 2)

For tips #1-5 click here—>

fifth-tip-part-1.jpg

 

As I mentioned in Part 1, Russian is a difficult language to learn. It doesn’t come overnight. You need to be consistent and organized. You have to repeat, repeat, repeat. It also helps to have different resources to keep you engaged; you don’t need to torture yourself–using fun learning options will motivate you so much more than dry grammar theory or difficult texts.

 

6.) Find a song you like and look up the lyrics. Read the Russian text and English translation. I suggest copying the song by hand, but even just reading the text is useful in developing listening comprehension. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will improve, too. I thought that my love for Russian language was unrequited until I found the band Kino & some Soviet-era films. I studied кино’s lyrics by analyzing grammar, picking out vocabulary words & singing along to get myself speaking more Russian. Now, I can understand songs by the group without having to look up the lyrics.

 

7.) There are so many things happening with Russian grammar. So, memorizing phrases is the best way to get you speaking. Learning 150 nouns (see my article on the topic here) & the conjugation of verbs (+declination of nouns) will also be useful as you go on to build more of your own sentences, but it will be challenging to go from scratch. That’s why it’s useful to build a dictionary of phrases.

 

8.) Russian and English express themselves differently. Trying to translate your English thoughts into Russian speech will require effort. It may lead to slow, incomplete answers. Once you can think in Russian, you won’t have to translate and will be able to speak more naturally. Until you reach this level, however, I suggest that you work on conversation topics. For practice, you can speak daily or write a diary. Think through some basic scenarios, too–like ordering coffee, saying excuse me, and asking different questions. I would try to think/write in as much Russian as possible then translate a few words or ask for corrections. 

 

9.) I mentioned in the first point that regularly listening to music in Russian would help your speaking. Another great thing to do if you want to improve your accent is to read aloud. You have to get past the alphabet and focus on reading some basic words first. But it’s easy to transition to short texts and, later, simple stories. Reading aloud will really improve your flow of the language. You can work on trouble sounds and try to make your accent more Russian by comparing a recording of yourself to native speech.

 

10.) Russian requires some dedicated time spent studying the old-fashioned way. Use books and websites to study grammar. I recommend:

  • A) a LOT of study—patterns, structure, nuances, roots a.k.a grammar tables
  • B) memorization—apply to speech, do exercises, & quiz yourself.
  • C) practice—find a speaking partner, write a journal, speak to yourself daily, read something or learn a few new words every day

 

 

~Stephanie

 

My Resources for Learning French

Dear readers,

My post Why I’m Learning French has been one of your favorites. So, I wanted to share how I am getting on with French 🙂

French is the third foreign language I have studied (after German & Russian.) One thing working in my favor is that I already have my own methods for learning a foreign language as well as experience speaking these languages in Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

However, maintaining multiple languages means not being able to give each individual language as much time. Getting past the beginner’s plateau takes patience, love and hard work no matter how “easy” the language is.  🙂

This post–as you can tell from the title–will cover my resources (all books) for learning French. If you aren’t learning French, I would still recommend sources like these for beginner students of European languages. Together, they function as a system: textbooks, workbooks, dictionaries, and so on. (Also, I consult online articles about grammar pitfalls and YouTube for a variety of French-teaching videos (a great resource to improve your listening skills.)

I am going to share a bit in this post about how I use these books when I study, but… I have another announcement! I have a few learning challenges that I want to do and then share with you guys.

  • The first will be about vocabulary: Does studying the most common 200 words help you to start conversing in your target language faster?
  • The second will be about my self-study methods: I am going to measure my French grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking ability, etc. to see how fast my French skills develop from my self-study methods.  In this post, I will share in more detail how I learn certain topics or work with different resources. I recommend studying in 15-minute sessions and giving yourself a 5-10 minute break after every 30 minutes. If it becomes boring or difficult, move on to something else. I also recommend looking for ways to blend your studies into your everyday routine like studying vocab in the subway, or thinking to yourself in French when you go for a walk.
  • Third will be like the former one, but I will work with an individual teacher and measure how I progress in French after 5, 10, 20 hours of private lessons. I will also describe how the lessons went, how I prepare for them, and how I review them. I suggest recording the lesson or taking notes, asking questions and receiving corrections, speaking as much in your target language as possible, and doing homework to review what you did during the lesson. 

 

That is how I plan on improving my French! I would be happy with reaching B2 in French and if I really love the language, maybe even C1. By April of this year, I hope to make it to B1 and no longer be a beginner student!!

**As of January 8, 2019 according to this online test, my French is B2 level. Although I think I am A2 and am just a good test taker 🙂

 

Without further ado, here are the books I am using to learn French: 

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A bi-lingual dictionary is useful for translating and building vocabulary (beginner, intermediate, advanced students. Although, I also recommend monolingual dictionaries for serious language learners.)

 

img_2488
I really like the selection of texts in this book! I read before bed (sometimes aloud.) A great exercise to is to re-read texts several times after translating them into English. You can also pick out sentences (or vocab words) you like to use in your speaking.

 

img_2471
These texts are more advanced, but they are great for advanced beginner/intermediate students, who want some immersion in French

 

img_2472
I had an A1 class during my exchange in Germany. I learned French through German (my second language.) I had a great teacher, who used games to train our skills. The CDs, accompanying vocab book, and grammar cheat sheet (not pictured) help take the lessons to the next level

 

img_2473

img_2474-1
I like working with this book because the dialogues and explanations stick with me. Although, I had it for German a few years ago and didn’t like it

 

img_2487-2
Great book for learning irregular French verbs & conjugations of French tenses

 

 

 

img_2519
This my current “textbook.” It covers more grammar than the A1 textbook did and serves as a great road-map and reference guide for French grammar

 

img_2476-2
This workbook brings it all together~ exercises to make use of what I’ve learned

 

Let me know what you thought of this post and if you are interested in the language challenges mentioned!

Je vous remercie d’avoir lu mon blog

❤ Stephanie

Free Russian Learning Resources on YouTube

Hello hello! Всем привет!!

A few months ago, I started writing a series of tips for English speakers learning Russian.

You can find Pt. 1 here—> Tips for Native English Speakers Learning Russian (Part 1 of 3)

Recently, I shared more tips and also recommended books for learning Russian here->So, you want to start learning Russian?

Part 2 & 3 of the series are coming soon, but, for now, I wanted to share some useful and free sources for learning Russian.

 

To learn a foreign language you need a system, organization and motivation–but, behind that, needs to be some solid resources for you to blend into your language-learning-routine. These Russian teachers will have you motivated to study hard and can guide you along your language journey~

(by clicking on the photos below, you will be taken to their YouTube channels)

 

Amazing Russian.JPG

 

Bridget Barbara

 

Easy Russian

 

Irina Mozelova.JPG

 

Learn Russian Language.JPG

 

Denis Fedorov.JPG

 

Learn Russian with Irina.JPG

 

Learn Russia

 

Learn Russian TV

 

RussianPod101

 

 

Live Russian

 

Make it easy with Lilu

 

Natasha Speaks Russian

 

Real Russian Club

 

RUland CLub

 

Elen Sheff

 

russian from russia

 

russian grammar

 

russian lessons

 

russian with anastasia

 

Russian with Max.JPG

 

russian with russian

 

tatiana klimova

 

animated films

 

Mosfilm.JPG

 

 

If you are a Russian teacher or know of resources that weren’t mentioned, please share them in the comments below~
❤ Stephanie

Going beyond the textbook~ learning to speak a foreign language (Pt. 2)

You can find Part 1 here—> “I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)

“Language exerts hidden power, like a moon on the tides.” – Rita Mae Brown

 

beach dawn dusk hd wallpaper
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

 

1) A great way to learn authentic modern language is to find a language partner. I personally like learning through real conversations because I unconsciously/effortlessly add new words to my vocabulary without thinking about grammar or pronunciation.

I don’t think idioms, slang, sayings, proverbs, quotes, usw. can be learned from long lists. Some books may use stories or pictures to illustrate them, but we don’t learn idioms or slang from books in our native language; we pick them up from speaking with others. And I find this approach effective with acquiring specialized vocabulary in foreign languages.

Furthermore, a language partner will help you utilize what you already know. You can talk with your pets if you are too shy to find a language partner online/in-person–or with yourself in the shower–for this practice. Ask them basic questions, tell them how your day is going, and train what you recently learned. 

 

2. Another important tip I have is to find a private teacher. Receiving corrections is important, so ask your teacher to correct your speech and turn in writing assignments to them as well.

A good teacher should also boost your motivation and be able to guide you as you progress in the language. Together, you can find your weaker areas and reach your learning goals. 

Use this time with your private teacher to converse in the language and get yourself accustomed to different speaking situations. Your accent, vocabulary and grammar will rapidly improve. 

 

3. Third and final point is concise: to use I) context to your advantage and II) immerse yourself in the language.

I) Using context: instead of lists of words with no examples/related words, find something that is interesting and relevant to you… read an article in your target language about your favorite band and study new vocabulary by memorizing whole sentences. Translate a short text that’s on your level and re-read the original and the translation several times.

II) What I consider immersion (taken from my article on learning Russian):

  • a) Having a good teacher and regular lessons based on an effective system
  • b) Passive learning & natural usage (minimum five days a week) such as watching films, listening to music, reading literary texts, and communicating in your target language
  • c) Teaching yourself the language & doing exercises: use YouTube videos and free websites to learn vocabulary and grammar
  • d) Practice & usage: think to yourself, record yourself speaking, write stories and essays, and do A LOT of listening.

 

 

 

 

Best of luck! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below~

Stephanie F.

My First Trip Abroad in Photos

My project “Austauscherfahrungen” has been active for more than a year now. To celebrate this occasion and reflect on the roots of this blog, I have put together this post—My First Trip Abroad in Photos.

There are two ways to “read” this entry: you can either start from this page and click on the photos that interest you, or you can start by clicking on the first photo and then go from photo story to photo story.

 

The first time I went abroad I was 18 years old. I went abroad the summer after my freshman year of university. It was not an organized trip with my university, nor was it a group trip through an organization offering study abroad opportunities to American students. I signed up for a summer language course with an international language school, Goethe-Institute.

I was from a small (southern) American town and somewhat bad at directions. Naturally, I had some expectations of Europe, but I was open-minded and unafraid to travel to Germany by myself. I wasn’t too nervous before I took off—I only worried about organizational matters. At first, it was a challenge to navigate train stations and flow with the pace of Germany, but I soon met friends at the language school and spent a fantastic summer abroad.

Some quick tips I have are: to enjoy the small things and give yourself time for reflection. Also, you have to be bad at something before you can be good at it, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Ultimately, I gained a strong motivation to study German further and changed my major to German once I returned home. For more on my study abroad in Germany summer 2015, check out this article~Getting Started with Studying Abroad

 

Introduction aside, here is My First Trip Abroad in Photos:

 

 

 

“I want to improve my speaking in a foreign language” (Pt. 1)

 

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1. Reading is a great way to improve your vocabulary, accent, rhythm and overall relationship with a new language. There are many methods to learn from reading: by reading aloud and training your accent, by finding unknown words in a text, and, simply, by immersing your thoughts in a new language you are helping your brain to connect different channels of information, so that you can use grammar and vocabulary naturally when speaking.

 

2. Writing a diary or stories to take some authorship. Do you just want to be able to introduce yourself and order food, or do you want to be able to converse about daily life, describe a special memory, talk about your hobby, or discuss your beliefs? Write about the things that are important to you.

 

3. Speaking and thinking in your target language before actually speaking. Many performers–let’s say dancers–will review their routine by quickly running through it before they go on stage. Take a few minutes and go through a scenario in your head about a possible conversation topic. This way you will be better prepared the next time you have a chance to practice and you can discover where some gaps in your knowledge are, so that you can later fill them with more studying.

 

 

More speaking tips coming your way~

 

❤ Stephanie

So, you want to start learning Russian? (Five Quick Tips & Book Recommendations)

Dear readers,

This will be a short post about tips on how to learn Russian efficiently.

These were suggestions from my Russian sociology professor (a Russian historian, Chekhov fan and funny guy) for our five-week stay in Russia 😮

For Part 1 in this series click here —->            russian-meme-1

 

1. Be a bit Russian .

IMG_6059
A bath house in the gardens of Catherine Palace, Pushkin, St Petersburg, Russia (SUMMER 2016)

2. Hear/watch music, cartoons, and movies . I LOVE Soviet Kino!

3. Read classic literature ...

4. Read about history ...

5. Take advantage of free Russian materials on YouTube and VKontakte.

vk-vs-facebook-660x524

 

 

And to conclude this post… some books I recommend for learning Russian:

TEXTBOOKS

VOCAB BOOKS

RUSSIAN READERS

GRAMMAR BOOKS

 

More Russian Related Posts:

Online Resources for Learning Russian—>Free Russian Learning Resources on YouTube

Tips Part 2 (coming soon)

Tips Part 3 (coming soon)

 

 

Напишите мне что-нибудь на русском~

❤ Стефани