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Recent entries

How Do You Come Up with RSBS Books?Playing in ClassRussian Fairy Tales in Russian and English (a book recommendation)Q&A: Is it true that you can not use the dictionary to learn new vocabulary?When is the best time to learn the Russian Handwriting? Part 1Why do I need to learn the Russian Handwriting?LAYING A GOOD FOUNDATIONО МАРИНЕ ЦВЕТАЕВОЙRussian History UnveiledNot from Russia but Speak Russian


Every time we go to events, conduct trainings or seminars -  teachers, parents and most of the participants share with us their wishes, requests and hopes for new books. We are eagerly listening and diligently working on making those wishes come true.


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Category: Blog | Views: 875 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2016-12-08

If you are a teacher or a student you know that Russian is a complicated language. Sometimes you might feel like giving up. Sometimes it gets boring, sometimes you feel that your brain is so overstuffed with the information, you will never be able to digest it and use it.

My answer to all of these is PLAYING!

No matter the age of the students, teachers or the topic that you are covering, playing games will make you relax, will force you to be engaged and will inevitably lead you to using all that Russian you spent so many hours of your life on. ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 1703 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2015-10-14 | Comments (0)

Weather you would like to practice your Russian and read these tales in Russian, or you just want to acquaint yourself with some beautiful Russian fairy tales -  you will enjoy this book. In the XIX century a famous Russian collector of folklore gathered over 600 Russian Fairy tales. A great Illustrator Bilibin created drawing for some of the fairy-tales at the beginning of the XX century and they remained popular for a hundred years.

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Category: Blog | Views: 1971 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2015-08-09 | Comments (1)


I was struck by one video where the Russian teacher said to learn only phrases and not words, this makes all kind of phrase books important; also she said not to place emphasis on grammar books and dictionaries. To try to gather the meaning from the context. I often read the dictionary, not much now, as with very restricted vocabulary, difficult to grasp meanings.
Category: Blog | Views: 2588 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2015-03-22 | Comments (0)

This is the second most frequent question I hear from my students when the handwriting is concerned. And my general answer will be – anytime! There are, however, different scenarios, depending on when/why/how you are learning the Russian Handwriting.

  1. If you are a complete beginner and are just starting your Russian studies you might think:

 “I need to wait with this handwriting thing. Getting the printed letters memorized is hard enough. I will get back to it when I feel more confident in my Russian.”

Sure, that is an option. However my recommendation is to actually do it ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2256 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2015-03-08 | Comments (0)

This question is so commonly asked by the students of the Russian Language that it warrants its own blogpost.

Yes, everyone will agree that in the modern world we have a lot less opportunities to use handwriting than even 50 years ago. Everyone, even toddlers, use the “screens” and start typing at a very early age. In addition, in our computerized world we text, email, message each other more and more even if the person lives in our household. Why handwriting then?

I would say as with the reasons for learning Russian, there can be many "why"s. Here is what always gets my students:

1) Spelling and memorization. When we type we tend to use autocorrect (and a lot of times hate it when it turns our text ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2987 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2015-02-26 | Comments (0)


It seems like the most important thing that should be said at the outset is that learning a new language is a lot like constructing a new building.  A good foundation should be laid at the start.  The “problem” is that it takes a certain amount of time to lay a good foundation, and there is no way to get around that.  

You will hear many people talk about how you can learn a new language very quickly with “their method”.  You can’t really.  You can learn tricks and gimmicks, but you will be doing yourself a disservice in the end if you don’t lay a good foundation at the beginning, and by “laying a good foundation” I refer to the not too exciting task of learning how the language works; tenses, cases, gender, etc. ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2382 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2015-01-10 | Comments (0)

Давно собиралась написать о Марине, моей любимой поэтессе. Но почему-то постоянно не получалось: не успевала, «руки не доходили»,  настроения не было и т.д. А вот именно теперь, когда самой уже стало за 50, захотелось написать о ней так, как я думаю сейчас, а не несколько десятков лет назад. Именно сегодня мне почему-то особенно остро и пронзительно   больно читать её прозу и стихотворения, а также о ней самой, о её жизни. Опять в голове стучит мысль: «Наконец-то до тебя дошло!»  

А ведь что могло «дойти» раньше до головы молоденькой девушки, впервые, «из-под полы» прочитавшей несколько её стихотворений из книги « Волшебный Фонарь». Эти первые  прочитанные стихотворения были такими родными, близкими и понятными, что порою хотелось плакать от сопереживания. Однако, некоторые стихотворения  казались иногда совершенно непонятными, как будто они были написаны не ей, а  незнакомым челов ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 1971 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-12-03 | Comments (0)

I love history, more specifically I love Russian history, and it’s been a passion of mine for approaching 20 years. Why Russian history you ask? Because for an Englishman growing up in the 1980s Russia was a cold mysterious place somewhere far to the east with a completely different political system, which usually provided the bad guys in comics and films.

Famously described by Winston Churchill as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” it was this sense of mystery that initially attracted me to Russian history, combined with a real sense of Romance fostered by the occasional viewing of Dr. Zhivago (it’s still one of my favorite films) on wet Sunday afternoons. It’s the romance and tragedy on a breath-taking scale, which makes Russian History so fascinating, its rich pantheon o ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2740 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-11-20 | Comments (0)

Not From Russia But Speak RussianWhere I live in Northern CA there is a huge Russian-speaking community, and I am so happy that both my kids and I are lucky to be exposed to Russian a lot.

Recently it dawned on me that out of the people I know who speak Russian so many are not actually FROM Russia, although most are from the former USSR.

What is Russian Diaspora? About 30 million people who speak Russian li ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2135 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-11-16 | Comments (0)

В моем детстве моими любимыми шоколадными конфетами, которые были в те времена очень дорогими, стали конфеты " Мишка косолапый". Тогда их можно было получить несколько штук и только в сладких подарках на Новый год или в подарочном наборе, в связи с окончанием очередной летней смены в пионерском лагере  или на Новый Год. Купить их было практически невозможно, так как они были большой редкостью и очень вкусными. На верху  голубой обёртки конфеты " Мишка косолапый"  были изображены несколько мишек, лазающих по сломанным деревьям и их мама- медведица, сидящая рядом на траве и наблюдающая за ними. Всё действие происходило утром в сосновом лесу.

Будучи уже взрослой девушкой, я впе ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2637 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-10-30 | Comments (0)

"A typical Russian garden" by "uncommon vistas" on FlickrI grew up in Moscow and it is traditional to have a dachaача) - a summer house, where you can go and "relax" during the week-ends and summer vacations, usually Aptil -May through October-November.

I have always loved going to the countryside. My grandma lived about 40 km away from Moscow and our extended family had several small plots of land that were the source of ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 3070 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-10-01 | Comments (0)

When I was thirty, it was time for me to send my almost 7-year old daughter to school. There were a lot of preparations before her first day. I took great care in choosing her school uniform – a dress made of thin brown wool, with wide pleats on the skirt and a festive white apron from thin cambric material. The collar and the cuffs of the dress were trimmed with real white lace. The ribbons for her hair were made of crisp white gauze. I bought her pretty white tights, and beautiful white shoes. I wanted to be sure she would look her best during the celebration of her first day of school. T

here was a lot more to put together. Briefcases were no longer popular at that time, and everyone was looking for a satchel with pretty designs of animal faces or cartoon characters or cars. The satchels were ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2204 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-08-31 | Comments (0)


1964. USSR. Near Moscow

When I remember my first day at school, there was no celebration. Just before that long anticipated day I got a beautiful brown leather briefcase with a silver buckle at the end of year celebration at my kindergarten. It had a case for pens, a Bukvar (the textbook to learn reading), cut up letters and numbers, and colorful pencils, a pen, an eraser, some paints, a paintbrush and a collection of multi-colored craft paper. I was ready to take it all with me to my first day of school. However I did not get to do it, and I did not get to put on my new brown dress with a white apron (the school uniform) and there were no big white ribbons in the hair for me.

During the celebration of the first day ... Read more »

Category: Blog | Views: 2203 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-08-12 | Comments (0)

Every culture possesses a different understanding of what humor is, what humor means to people and how they respond to it.

"Humor usually concerns aspects of culture and depends on the historical and current development of the country’s culture.”

In order to understand the humor in the joke, especially if a joke is too closely linked to a specific characteristic of a country, one has to get  familiar with that culture.

A most common form of Russian humor that you will hear is a short fictional story or dialogue with a punch line. In Russian it is called an anecdote [анекдот]. However, anecdotes are not just jokes because their purpose is not only to make somebody laugh, but also to reveal a more general truth. The most popular joke topics include politics, sex and mothers-in-law.

​Hofstede determined four value dime
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Category: Blog | Views: 2551 | Added by: aawatte | Date: 2014-07-26 | Comments (0)

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