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Russian Language Mentor
Russian Listening/Reading Library

Description and Strategies

500 audio segments, transcripts and translations ...

The Russian Listening/Reading Library (RLRL) consists of 500 learning objects taken from SCOLA broadcasts of Russian television news. Each learning object consists of the original audio text, 2-7 minutes in length, a complete transcript and a parallel translation.

Authentic texts taken from Russian TV news broadcasts ...

RLRL materials are authentic texts produced by natives for natives. This fact should not, however, discourage students at the intermediate level. Although television news reports sometimes contain opinion, political and social commentary, analyses and critiques, that is, level 3/3+ material, most television news reports are level 2/2+. Their aim is to provide the viewer with basic information about important and noteworthy events and situations. Moreover, most television news reports are based on a well-edited, scripted text, and the broadcast is, for the most part, a reading or a well-rehearsed recitation of these texts.

This basic text level can rise, however, when reports by news professionals give way to eyewitness accounts provided by everyday people on the street. These people are usually nervous and excited. They speak extemporaneously. Their remarks are subjective and oftentimes opinionated. This is real, authentic native speech and the text level here can reach 3/3+. However, the use of eyewitnesses in most new reports is limited to adding some "color" and giving credence to the professional text.

Texts are thematically arranged to help you learn ...

Text levels aside, there are other factors that complicate television news broadcasts. Reporters speak quickly. Then there's the problem of vocabulary. A half hour of the evening news can cover a dozen different topics, each with its own specialized vocabulary. Thus, the RLRL has been arranged thematically to facilitate topic assimilation and vocabulary development fundamental to improving listening and reading comprehension. It is recommended that you follow a thematic approach as you proceed through this material and that you make a list of key words associated with each topic as you go to maximize your learning.

  • To get started, click on Topics (located at the top and bottom of every page). The Topics page contains 20 main topics as well as numerous subtopics.
  • After selecting a topic, you will be linked to the section for this topic on the Main Index. (The link is located at the top and bottom of every page.) The Main Index is divided into thematic sections and lists all reports for a specific topic chronologically.
  • Click on Abbreviations (at the top and bottom of every page) as you encounter unfamiliar terms.
  • Click on Feedback (at the top and bottom of every page) if you have corrections, questions or comments for the Russian Language Mentor.
Acknowledgements, thanks, and a job well done!

This massive learning tool was several years in the making and the product of many people's efforts. The 1995-1997 broadcasts were transcribed and translated by the seemingly endless flow of students in my RU-22T Transcription/Translation Practicum (aka "The Hotel California"). Thanks to all of you! You know who you are! The 2000-2001 news reports were transcribed by Brian, an adjunct faculty member, whose independent efforts must be praised. I would also like to thank David and Susan (Cookie), members of the "Red Brigade," who made the most of time in their cell by editing and fine tuning the transcripts. Most of all, a sincere note of appreciation to Amy, who would not let go of this project and let everyone's efforts go to waste. Amy single handedly digitized, formatted and produced the library that follows. Thank you, Amy!

-- The Russian Language Mentor.


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