Languages
Russian for English speakers 1951
 


Russian for English speakers ABC 01

Introduction

Hello dear friends!

 

Notes on Levels:

You need to start with level 1 (picture dictionary with pronunciation). I strongly recommend you get a Russian Picture Dictionary program and play with it for some time.

This course refers to level 2 (basic phrases), level 3 (extended dialogs), and even level 4 (simple texts).

Notes on Comments:

MCR - Modern Colloquial Russian notes - I will provide comments about how to say the given phrase in modern spoken Russian.

AK-NOTE - Notes about strange spelling and errors in English translation and/or transliteration of Russian words and phrases.


Russian without toil
by A. Chèrel
Illustrated by Pierre Soymier
"Assimil"
15 bis, rue de Marignan
Paris-VIII
"Assimil"
610, Fifth Avenue
NEW YORK 20 N.Y.
  "Assimil"
5, rue des Pierres
BRUSSELS

Records

Russian without toil

The records are not indispensable for the study of "RUSSIAN WITHOUT TOIL", as the pronunciation is indicated in the book. But once you have heard them, you cannot do without them; these companions are as pleasant as they are precious. They are interpreted in a living natural way by distinguished Russian artists.
" RUSSIAN WITHOUT TOIL ", with its records is worth several months' stay in Russia.

HOW TO LEARN RUSSIAN WITHOUT TOIL

Russian is rightly said to be a difficult language. The alphabet looks unsympathetic, the declensions and conjugations complex; and yet nearly two hundred million people, most of whom are far from being intellectuals, speak it as naturally as we speak English. One has no need to be learned, or especially gifted to succeed in doing what a young 5 or 6 year old moujik does quite naturally.

All you shall need is patience, steadiness in study, and confidence. We shall take upon us to lead you along the easiest paths, and bring you to the purposed end without too much fatigue. We even hope that the journey will not be devoid of interest and pleasure.

Let us here remind you of the principle of ASSIMIL; that is to follow the natural method, which consists in understanding first, and speaking afterwards.

You will only have to read the text in Russian, and compare it with the English opposite; to read the footnotes attentively; then, at the end of the lesson, to read again aloud every paragraph, and repeat it immediately without looking at the text. It is not a question of learning by heart, but simply of repeating each sentence immediately after reading and understanding it.

Daily practice will do the rest. You will first remember the most current phrases, then, by degrees, and quite naturally, your knowledge will grow like a snowball, and when, towards the fiftieth lesson of this passive assimilation, we ask you to proceed to the active stage in beginning over again from the first page, you will see that the way is clear, and that you can easily translate English into Russian, and gradually get used to thinking in Russian.

We promise you success, on the only condition that you should study regularly, i.e., at least a quarter of an hour each day. Daily repetition is the key to success.

You may very well study several lessons together, if you wish or have the time to; but be regular, do not let one day pass without doing your quarter of an hour of Russian; make it a habit.

If you have the records, this habit will provide you with a daily entertainment; living voices will bring you, as it were, Russia in your own home. You may not feel constantly like studying; but when it is only a matter of listening to the gramophone...

Before taking up the study of the language itself, we must learn now to read the alphabet.

To make this easier, we have drawn up a list of words practically identical in both languages. Listen to it and read it again and again until you have grown familiar with the Russian letters.

In each Russian word, the fat letter indicates the stressed syllable.

This list of words will make you familiar with the Russian alphabet and with the pronunciation, too.
In the first record you will hear every word spoken by a man's, then by a woman's, voice.
(* Refers to the original recording)


The Russian alphabet


Letter
Sound
/
ah
b
v
gh
d
ai
yo
(d)j
z
ee
ee (short or assimilated)
k
l
m
n
o
p
r
s
t
oo
f
kh
ts
tch
sh
shtch
hard sign
hard y (hard ee)
soft sign
ay
yoo
ya

THE RUSSIAN ALPHABET

You are not supposed to learn these words by heart, but simply to become able to read them fluently.                             


Russian
Pronunciation
English
AK-NOTE
, papa papa, dad  
, damma (dame), lady This transcribes as "dàma", no doubling of "m" required.
, (1) dramma drama This transcribes as "dràma". Someone may say he hears "dràmma", but this is just a personal preference.
, doctör (2) doctor Letter "ö" itself is a German one, sounds like "u" in the English word "fur". Do not confuse it with Russian "murky a/o" sound.
, azot azote, nitrogen  
, (3) address address Transcription with tones is "àdres"
, acròbat (4) acrobat  
, (5) ananas ananas, pine-apple  
, anoneem (6) anonym, anonymous  

(1) English P is Russian R. In Russian, the letter a is never sounded as in fate.
(2) We represent by ö a rather obscure o, sounded like -er.
(3) In Russian, the letter c (which is, by the way, called s) has always the sound of hard s.
(4) By ò, we represent an open o, nearly ah.
(5) H (English capital h) is always an n in Russian.
(6) Notice the (inverted N), the Russian i, but sounded as in "machine" (= -ee-).

As a general rule the letter o has its normal sound (= -aw-) only in the stressed syllable of the word, e.g. : , like our doctor.
When preceding the stress, it tends towards ah. ( is sounded almost "samavar") ;
after the stress, it becomes obscure and is sounded almost like -er- ( is nearly "passpert").