Add1Challenge Updates

Привет всем! Hi everyone! This is going to be my public diary for learning Russian during my participation in the 15th Add1 Challenge organized by Brian Kwong, who was kind enough to do an interview for the podcast.

I’m going to be writing daily updates to hold myself accountable for my progress. I have struggled with accountability and sticking to a routine in the past, so making sure I write about what I’m learning and what resources I’m using and how much time I’ve spent studying will help me stay focused and I hope that it may even inspire other language learners with their studies.

Update Day 7: April 3, 2016

Day 1 was Monday, March 28. I began watching YouTube videos from fellow language learners. I found out that in my Mastermind Group there is one person studying French and another person learning Spanish, which turns out to be a nice way to help mentor and motivate them since I’ve been studying Spanish for 20 years and living in Mexico City for 7 years and studying French for 18 years, 6 of which I lived in Paris.

To practice my Russian, I’ve been looking at the Glossika sentences that we have received via email each day to work on building core simple sentences. I’ve been listening to podcasts in Russian from the BBC Пятый Этаж. I’m writing to my Russian-speaking friends on VK.

For the week of April 4 to April 11, I plan to start writing notebook entries on I’ll start with 100 words per entry. Since I have paid for italki classes I have an unlimited number of notebook entries that I can write per day as opposed to the 2-per-day limit with the free accounts. I need to take advantage of that more often and not just for Russian.
This week I plan to have some video chat sessions with my language exchange partners in Russia and the Ukraine.

I need to add more words to my vocabulary. On April 3, I enrolled in Agnieszka Murdoch’s Language Learner Pro Course and I plan to employ several of her vocabulary learning tips and tricks. I’m going to develop my own vocabulary learning SRS web app and include the app here so that I can practice and keep track of my progress. I’ll also ask Russian native-speakers to help me translate phrases and texts and record audio files for me so that I can gain more vocabulary, improve my pronunciation and work on my listening comprehension.

Day 8 April 4
So far this morning, I received a message from one of my former Russian teachers in Mexico City. We plan to meet next week for a podcast interview. She gave me some feedback on my Day 7 speaking video: “…неплохо. Конечно, тебе надо побольше практики.” “Not bad. Of course, you need more practice.”
I’d replied and said thanks for watching the video and that I agree that I need more practice. “Спасибо за то что ты видела моё видео на русском. Я согласен, что мне надо побольше пратики.” I later made a mistake when I said that next week would be good for meeting. I used для instead of чтобы. “На следующей неделе хорошо для встретиться.” And my teacher promptly corrected me: “…хорошо чтобы встретиться”. Договорились! – Agreed!

Afterwards I gave an English lesson to a Russian woman living in the US and we will primarily focus on pronunciation exercises for her, and actually her Russian accent gives me a lot of insight into how to pronounce Russian better. If I can imitate a Russian accent when speaking English, I have a good chance of imitating a Russian accent when speaking Russian. Examples of sounds to work on so far are short a vs short e: man vs men, tan vs ten. Devoicing final consonants for example language should use дж and not ч. I also notice this with Spanish-speaking students who devoice final z with minimal pairs like plays vs place or phase vs face. And the w sound is often replaced with a v sound.

Later I had another class with a Ukrainian student who also speaks Russian and she sent me a bilingual text that she wrote in English and she included the original in Russian so that I could see what she meant to express. This is a great source of original content that I can use to find new vocabulary and expressions in Russian and as I become familiar I can also provide better translations into English. Also, because of her intermediate level in English she sometimes says a few things to herself in Russian while searching for vocabulary in English. I often pay attention to this and learn some natural expressions that she uses, for example убрать ошибки – to remove mistakes. And finally, again when I pay attention to her pronunciation in English I notice the t sound she uses, which seems to be very close to the tip of the tongue flicking the teeth and not at the gum ridge.

While waiting for my 3rd class with yet another Russian-speaker based in Moscow, I listened to about half of the BBC podcast Пятый этаж. I understood that they were talking about electric cars.

Later in afternoon when my children arrived home after school I played with my daughter, practiced speaking in Russian with her and took notes in my notebook, which I just published on italki.
Toys = игрушек; Я пишу в тетради; Где твой мяч? Он спит в кровати.

Later while preparing the kid’s baths I listened several times to an Easy Russian YouTube video about Saint Petersburg.

Finally, I made another video of myself speaking in Russian for about 11 minutes in order to practice. Чтобы = in order to

Day 9 April 5, 2016

Today I had an English class with a Russian woman living in the US. Then I did a podcast interview with one friend from Ukraine. Then a class with a couple in St. Petersburg and then later in the evening a man from Georgia living in California and then a man from Ukraine.

I’m surrounded by the Russian/Ukrainian accent in English all day long. And when my students forget some words or expressions I listen to how they suddenly speak to themselves: Как сказать это? How do you say that?

I later listened to some Glossika phrases to practice listening, but one particular set of questions sounded a bit creepy and invasive. I imagined a stranger who knocked on my door and asked Is your mother home? Is that your car? How is your father? I would probably close the door.

I practiced writing some sentences to introduce myself in writing and encourage other Add1Challengers to do the same with their target language.

Привет! Как дела? Меня зовут Джонатан. Я из Калифорнии. Я живу в Мехико. Я изучаю русский язык. Мне нравится читать книги, играть музыку, и смотреть фильмы. Я говорю по-английски, по-испански и по-французски. Спасибо. Пока!

Hi! How are you? My name is Jonathan. I’m from California. I live in Mexico City. I study Russian. I like to read books, play music, and watch movies. I speak English, Spanish and French. Thank you. Bye!

I made another video for day 9.

Day 10 April 6, 2016
Last night I went to bed late after editing the audio for episode 32 of the Language Meanderings podcast. Then in the morning because of the Hoy No Circula program in place in Mexico City, we couldn’t use our car and had to use an Uber to drop the kids off at school. I started the morning off with a very nice Twitter chat for Linday Dow’s #WeDoLanguages and today there was also Kerstin Cable, and Cristóbal in Chile and Charlotte in Austria. Today’s topic was Teaching Online, which I’m really passionate about now and very happy that I’ve filled up this week’s schedule with Russian and Ukrainian students thanks to collaboration with Marina Mogilko’s YouTube channel. We’ve done 2 videos so far, 1 about mistakes made by language learners and another about ways to ask how are you?

Later I had some more Skype classes with students and after picking up my kids, we took a taxi home and I had another class. Then I created episode 33, then made my Day 10 video in Russian.

Now it’s time to practice writing a little on italki and reading a little in bed before I go to bed, rather exhausted. Я устал!

Day 11 April 7, 2016

I had a class with a Russian student in the morning. Then a podcast interview with one Russian friend who is an English teacher. Then a class with a student from Spain. After that I watched a webinar about how to get started on Later in the evening I had a lesson with a student in Ukraine. I wrote an italki notebook entry about Lindsay Dow.

Несколько недель назад я открыл для себя Линдси. Она – очень интересный блогер (блоггер), который изучает много иностранных языков. Например, она изучает французский, испанский, немецкий, итальянский, нидерландский(голландский), португальский, китайский, японский и корейский языки.

Day 12 April 8, 2016
I had a class with a Russian student. Then I spoke with a Russian blogger for almost 2 hours in English, Russian, Spanish, and French. Then I had a meeting at a restaurant with a teacher who teaches comparative linguistics. Then I had a class with a student in St. Petersburg. Later I had a class with some Mexican students and finally a class at midnight with a student in Moscow.

Day 13 April 9, 2016 Saturday
I had a 7am Google Hangout with regular members of my Facebook group. We talked about creating a language learning course on I practiced a few phrases in Russian with two members. Я не проснулся до конца. I haven’t woken up yet. Later after breakfast I took my kids to the park and smogchecked the car, which unfortunately required a really long wait. In the evening I made another youtube video and listened to a few videos by Marina Mogilko who is promoting my English classes.

Before going to bed I listend to some Glossika phrases and wrote an italki notebook entry about Scott Dinsmore who would have turned 34 on April 2. I have already written about Scott on this blog post, and his untimely death really inspires me to do something important with my life.

Vocabulary and grammar from italki corrections:
In September – в сентябре
I watched a video – я смотрел видео
How to Find Work that You Love to Do -Как найти работу, которая тебе нравится; Как найти работу по душе
already – уже
I found an article in a newspaper and read that…- я нашёл статью в газете и прочитал, что…
To occur -произойти́
An accident occurred/happened; there was an accident – произошёл инцидент
to die – поги́бнуть
Scott died as the result of a rock fall – Скотт погиб в результате камнепада
To fulfil/complete/cumplir исполня́ться + Dative
Scott would have turned 34. Hubiera cumplido 34 años. – Скотту исполнилось бы 34 (тридцать четыре) года.
What am I doing with my life? Что я делаю со своей жизнью?
useful – поле́зный
to be involved/engaged in; to undertake
I want to be engaged in something useful -Я хочу заниматься чем-то полезным
I don’t want to waste my time. Не хочу тратить моё/своё время.

Day 14 April 10, 2016 Sunday
I got up early for an interview at 6am, but it got canceled at the last minute, so I spent time reviewing Russian in the morning before the family woke up. I was also going to have a class with a student from St. Petersburg, but that got rescheduled.

Later in the evening I had an English class with a student in Ukraine.

Day 15 April 11, 2016 Monday
I had a class with a Russian student living in the US, then I did an interview with Zhenia of Language Heroes, then a brief chat with a fellow Add1challenger in my Mastermind group, then a class with a student in Moscow for 2 hours, and a student in St. Petersburg for an hour. So from 10am-2pm I had back-2-back meetings. Later in the evening I had a short lesson with a student in Spain. Later I went to bed late after editing the interview video.

Day 16 April 12, 2016 Tuesday
I had a cancellation at 8am, so my first meeting was a coaching session with Gabby Wallace, and then an interview with Kerstin Cable and Lindsay Dow. Then I helped my sister-in-law with IELTS prep, then I attended a Teachable webinar, then a class with my student in St. Petersburg before traveling to the US. After lunch I had a class with a student in LA, then a class with students in Mexico City, a new student in SF, and a student in Ukraine. That day was tiring.

Day 17 April 13, 2016 Wednesday
The morning was relaxed. I didn’t to take Gabby’s advice and try to prepare a new YouTube video for French and a podcast for Spanish. I spent at least a half hour reviewing my Russian manuals. I had a class with a student in Moscow, then continued editing the video. Production takes so much time. After lunch I played with my children. In the evening, one class was cancelled and then I had a class with a student in SF.

Day 18 April 14, 2016 Thursday
I had a 30-minute conversation in Russian with one friend in Russia, then an English-class with a student in the US. I had a lesson with a new student from St Petersburg. In the afternoon I met one of my former Russian teachers. We had a 45-minute conversation all in Russian! I was very pleased with the breakthrough.

Day 19 April 15, 2016 Friday
I had a class with a Russian student living in the US. Later a class with a Russian studnetn in Moscow. In the afternoon I had a class with some Mexican students and we talked about learning Russian. Later I did an informal tutoring session on italki and helped a student write a mission statement for a graduate program. I read some exercises in my 90 days of Russian book and madea YouTube video. Now 12 days of YouTube videos in Russian and a 10-day streak in the Add1Challenge. I feel that I’m making good progress.