Jump to content

Menu

Introducing (grammar) cases


Recommended Posts

I’ve been doing Russian with DD8 for about a year and a half. So far, we’ve largely been working on vocabulary... grammar-wise, we’ve gotten pretty good with verbs in all the tenses, with male/female verbs and adjectives, and with the difference between adjective and adverbs.

Now we need to do “cases” for nouns, and I’m a bit stumped. How does one introduce these so they stick and make sense? I was thinking I’d add one case at a time, but I’m not wedded to that. 

As a native Russian speaker, it’s really obvious for me which case to use when. I can usually separate myself from the “it’s obvious!” feeling and teach from the perspective of a beginner, but I’m struggling here.

Any ideas? I assume most people haven’t done Russian, but other languages with cases would probably have similar issues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With Latin we introduced one at a time.  Nominative was easy peasy.  Then we moved on to the direct object - accusative.  Simple sentences, memorizing endings, finding the nominative case first to break the sentence down in order.  Every case after that, it was the same process - pick out the nominative (subject), underline the endings, retell in order...  Since ds can diagram well, it was easy to use the diagrams as a teaching aid for breaking down the sentence until it was an automatic process.

When I learned Russian, I had to learn the idea of cases in a hurry.  My native teachers seemed frustrated at the idea of not having a way to do this in English, lol, and thought the language was so inefficient.  It has given me an appreciation for the mechanics, though, and having to have learned this mostly from scratch independently has helped me figure out how to use ds's English lessons to teach him other languages.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, HomeAgain said:

With Latin we introduced one at a time.  Nominative was easy peasy.  Then we moved on to the direct object - accusative.  Simple sentences, memorizing endings, finding the nominative case first to break the sentence down in order.  Every case after that, it was the same process - pick out the nominative (subject), underline the endings, retell in order...  Since ds can diagram well, it was easy to use the diagrams as a teaching aid for breaking down the sentence until it was an automatic process.

Ok, so you had the same idea! I seem to have started with dative for Russian, since it appears in the common phrase for “I like it.”  But in finding myself hesitating to figure out which ones really are dative and why. Especially since some words are the same in genitive and dative... 😂

I suppose I’ll just have to give some very basic definitions for the cases and hope DD8 gets a feel for it.

How long did you spend per case?

 

1 minute ago, HomeAgain said:

When I learned Russian, I had to learn the idea of cases in a hurry.  My native teachers seemed frustrated at the idea of not having a way to do this in English, lol, and thought the language was so inefficient.  It has given me an appreciation for the mechanics, though, and having to have learned this mostly from scratch independently has helped me figure out how to use ds's English lessons to teach him other languages.

I feel like thinking about English grammar versus Russian grammar has been very productive for me... it really shows you the nuts and bolts of language.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We use a simple definition like, "the Subject does the action, the direct object receives the action, and the indirect object benefits from the action." Of course, this makes more sense here because my dc generally learn English grammar before starting in a foreign language with cases. For the one that learned in the reverse order, i still taught it as quoted then explained that we use nominative for the subject.

I agree with pp that for myself and my older two it was a pretty straightforward learning curve starting slow and steady in latin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, SusanC said:

We use a simple definition like, "the Subject does the action, the direct object receives the action, and the indirect object benefits from the action." Of course, this makes more sense here because my dc generally learn English grammar before starting in a foreign language with cases. For the one that learned in the reverse order, i still taught it as quoted then explained that we use nominative for the subject.

I agree with pp that for myself and my older two it was a pretty straightforward learning curve starting slow and steady in latin.

There are more than 3 cases, though!! My kids can do subject and object, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

How long did you spend per case?

 

I want to say about 6 months total, but ds has a handy reference chart since we will spend about 2 months reviewing again at the beginning of each year, and sometimes he just has off days.  I'm honestly not worried about it.  I treat it like some do with multiplication facts, giving him a chart to be successful.  It has definitions of use, regular endings for each gender/number, and things like prepositions that show the case.  When he writes, he needs the chart.  When he reads, he rarely does.

Latin's a dead language, though, so it's not something he hears outside of lessons, unlike Russian would be.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Clearly!! But I’m kind of flailing here. 

Don’t most case-based languages have like 6 or 7?

Well I guess genitive is pretty straightforward and didn't need to be part of the snappy definition and in latin, to the level we progressed, ablative was always just a bit of an exception. That is my limit, Russian is well beyond my experience! I've been trying to encourage Esperanto since it is supposed to be so planned and logical and Google says it only has two cases, accusative and not-accusative. 😂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Well I guess genitive is pretty straightforward and didn't need to be part of the snappy definition and in latin, to the level we progressed, ablative was always just a bit of an exception. That is my limit, Russian is well beyond my experience! I've been trying to encourage Esperanto since it is supposed to be so planned and logical and Google says it only has two cases, accusative and not-accusative. 😂

I don't find any cases straightforward logically, they are just obvious when I actually speak, lol. 

So... what IS genitive? 😛 When does one use it? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It occurs to me that I could really use an outside view here. Apparently, Russian has 6 cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, and prepositional. Anyone want to define those for me? I can do nominative: that's just the object. But I'm really flailing trying to figure out when the other ones are used... I'm not coming up with snappy definitions somehow. You just use them when they are used, as far as I can tell 😂

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

It occurs to me that I could really use an outside view here. Apparently, Russian has 6 cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, and prepositional. Anyone want to define those for me? I can do nominative: that's just the object. But I'm really flailing trying to figure out when the other ones are used... I'm not coming up with snappy definitions somehow. You just use them when they are used, as far as I can tell 😂

Oy.  It's been a while.
Nominative is standard form. It's the subject.  It literally means name.
Prepositional - used when a preposition is connecting it to the sentence.
Genitive- ownership.  It's the possessive case.
Dative - indirect object
Instrumental - by or with.

 

ETA: I would use instrumental for "as" as well, I think, if I remember correctly.  I worked AS a teacher would just add the ending to "teacher'

Edited by HomeAgain
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

I don't find any cases straightforward logically, they are just obvious when I actually speak, lol. 

So... what IS genitive? 😛 When does one use it? 

Possessive

Do you have a Russian for Beginners textbook that you can use to get a feel for standard scope and sequence? Obviously you don't need to teach from it, but it might help with an order for introducing grammar topics. Maybe it will have some snappy definitions for you...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never done Russian, but I have done German and Greek, which have four: nominative, accusative, genitive, dative.

You may find it helpful to highlight the one place in English where we do preserve them: I/me/my/mine.

Also, depending on your purpose in teaching Russian (ie a foreign language can be a deliberate and powerful way to teach English grammar, but it doesn't have to be), you could simply emphasise teaching phrases rather than words, and let her absorb the grammar unconsciously, by osmosis and long practice.  I bet that in English she never confuses "I kicked the dog" with "the dog kicked me", even if she can't explain *why* one is right and the other isn't.

I am reading several books by Russian authors this year (War and Peace, Notes from Underground, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich) and find myself often thinking of you, and wishing I spoke Russian and had some more literary context for these great stories!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree, get a basic Russian grammar book and look at how they teach it. I taught English for a bit, and learned a lot from a basic English grammar book. When you're 'in' it, it's hard to explain it. 

My only other advice is don't introduce everything at once. This is a good rule in general. Two at a time, get mastery on that before moving on. You have plenty of time. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, SusanC said:

Possessive

Do you have a Russian for Beginners textbook that you can use to get a feel for standard scope and sequence? Obviously you don't need to teach from it, but it might help with an order for introducing grammar topics. Maybe it will have some snappy definitions for you...

Having seen lots of beginning language classes, I'm 100% certain I don't want to teach like that. Languages ought to be taught more or less conversationally using lots of exposure. Teaching languages like they do in a textbook is basically ineffective and isn't what you'd want to do if you have a fluent speaker. 

So what I need is more of "how do you get a feel for it?" thing. Like, it's not that I can't find a definition (I can Google and find one) -- I'm struggling how you'd communicate a feel....

 

7 minutes ago, bookbard said:

When you're 'in' it, it's hard to explain it. 

I weirdly actually don't usually have this issue. I'm pretty good at systematizing my own lived knowledge -- it's what makes me a good math teacher. But this one seems to be tripping me up... 

 

36 minutes ago, caffeineandbooks said:

Also, depending on your purpose in teaching Russian (ie a foreign language can be a deliberate and powerful way to teach English grammar, but it doesn't have to be), you could simply emphasise teaching phrases rather than words, and let her absorb the grammar unconsciously, by osmosis and long practice. 

Honestly, I don't have a coherent purpose. DD8 requested to learn a language, that was the one we settled on (partially because it's the one I can obviously do), and it felt like a good idea to take it seriously while the kids were young if we were going to do it at all. 

I've been teaching conversationally as is, with lots of exposure. However, I am not willing to speak to them in Russian all of the time, so we're doing somewhat limited exposure: 45 minutes of cartoons, then another 30-40 minutes of conversation per day. And my observation has been that DD8 doesn't pick up grammar quickly enough in that amount of exposure. We've been slowly working on verbs and she's gotten MUCH better with them with a lot of guidance, and I expect I'll have to do the same thing with the cases -- introduce them slowly one by one. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I don't find any cases straightforward logically, they are just obvious when I actually speak, lol. 

So... what IS genitive? 😛 When does one use it? 

This is one of the reasons I've become more hesitant about using native language speakers as teachers of the language. If it just sounds right but the teacher can't tell me why it is correct, I'm a bit flummoxed about how to apply things more broadly.

 

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

Having seen lots of beginning language classes, I'm 100% certain I don't want to teach like that. Languages ought to be taught more or less conversationally using lots of exposure.

But we aren't suggesting you teach that way, just that a good textbook will have some training behind why the grammar is presented in the order they use. So keep teaching conversationally and immersively, that is awesome! But focus on a grammar topic it two that they need in order to make sense of some part of the language - like cases. Especially if you aren't doing full immersion it seems like this would be helpful.

 

1 hour ago, Not_a_Number said:

So what I need is more of "how do you get a feel for it?" thing.

Music, repetitive stories (like basic fairy tales), action games, other things that toddlers do it are exposed to when they are learning a language. Maybe some scripted verbal exchanges like "what do you want for lunch?" "It is time for bed, please, 1 2 3" etc.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, SusanC said:

But we aren't suggesting you teach that way, just that a good textbook will have some training behind why the grammar is presented in the order they use. So keep teaching conversationally and immersively, that is awesome! But focus on a grammar topic it two that they need in order to make sense of some part of the language - like cases. Especially if you aren't doing full immersion it seems like this would be helpful.

I'm just really skeptical of textbook scope and sequences. I don't think they are thought out particularly well -- at least, they aren't in subjects I'm actually well-versed in, and I've never seen good results from language classes. I do look up things like "definitions of the cases" in books, if I need them, but I don't think I need a book for that, per se. 

 

25 minutes ago, SusanC said:

This is one of the reasons I've become more hesitant about using native language speakers as teachers of the language. If it just sounds right but the teacher can't tell me why it is correct, I'm a bit flummoxed about how to apply things more broadly.

Well, the thing is that the whys are usually complicated... people's brains are wired for language more than they are for logic, frankly, so at best the "why" is supposed to be a jump start and not the actual solution. 

I happen to have a very good memory of what it felt like to learn English via immersion at age 11, and I can say that it was not a particularly logical process. All the logical things I tried to do kind of backfired. What worked was going to a school where no one spoke Russian and watching lots of cartoons 😉 . 

 

28 minutes ago, SusanC said:

Music, repetitive stories (like basic fairy tales), action games, other things that toddlers do it are exposed to when they are learning a language. Maybe some scripted verbal exchanges like "what do you want for lunch?" "It is time for bed, please, 1 2 3" etc.

Would that help get a feel for cases? Do you mean having some very specific examples which uses a particular case and spinning off from there? Hmmm. Not a bad idea. I've started doing that with dative a bit, but she doesn't exactly seem to be generalizing. On the other hand, it might just be that she isn't quite ready -- she's still not automatic with verbs, and perhaps automating that first is the best thing to do. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I introduced it in English (such as it is) before moving on to Latin.  I found that MCT's Grammar/Sentence/Practice Island materials worked really well for this.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, EKS said:

I introduced it in English (such as it is) before moving on to Latin.  I found that MCT's Grammar/Sentence/Practice Island materials worked really well for this.

I kind of wanted to piggyback off of Russian for English. I think grammar is much easier if you’ve got two languages, since you have something to compare to!

Edited by Not_a_Number
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I kind of watched to piggyback off of Russian for English. I think grammar is much easier if you’ve got two languages, since you have something to compare to!

I agree.  The year we did MCT we were also doing an introduction to Latin (this was when my son was 7-8yo) and doing both was much better than just doing one or the other.  He had done other grammar programs but they didn't stick the way MCT and its (unintended) pairing with Latin instruction did.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Sometimes those learn a language fast schemes kill me with their "ah-ha!" moments. I bet even the elementary textbooks that you hate wouldn't try to introduce all 6 cases in one go. Only the "Learn Russian on your flight to Russia" books might try that. 🤣 But her process makes sense. Plus, you could focus on teaching a rule (in practice if not literally teaching the rule) and then point out exceptions as you come across them in practice.

4 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I kind of wanted to piggyback off of Russian for English. I think grammar is much easier if you’ve got two languages, since you have something to compare to!

I've found that it works best if they have a decent understanding in one language (can't imagine it matters which one) before trying to add a second language, but that after that having other languages to compare/contrast with is really helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, SusanC said:

Sometimes those learn a language fast schemes kill me with their "ah-ha!" moments. I bet even the elementary textbooks that you hate wouldn't try to introduce all 6 cases in one go. Only the "Learn Russian on your flight to Russia" books might try that. 🤣 But her process makes sense. Plus, you could focus on teaching a rule (in practice if not literally teaching the rule) and then point out exceptions as you come across them in practice.

Yes, I think that's the plan! 

 

3 hours ago, SusanC said:

I've found that it works best if they have a decent understanding in one language (can't imagine it matters which one) before trying to add a second language, but that after that having other languages to compare/contrast with is really helpful.

DD8 has a decent understanding in English, I think, although we haven't done a grammar program. But she understands parts of speech, for example... and in the context of Russian, we've talked about adjectives versus adverbs (it comes up, since the endings change!) and we've talked about past/future/present tenses (again, it comes up) and we've talked about masculine/feminine nouns (obviously that doesn't come up in English at all!) So it's all very functional but very informal. 

Thinking about it more, I would guess cases aren't taking because she isn't quite ready. We're still working on vocabulary and masculine/feminine nouns and masculine/feminine adjectives, and verb tenses, and adverbs versus adjectives... it's all a lot. So I think I'll put cases on the back burner for another 6 months, until all the rest is genuinely easy and takes no thought. I'll keep modeling using them correctly and then we'll come back to it when the rest settles in. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took a lot of German in school. Our elementary years were mostly immersive, only touching bits of grammar here and there. We picked up enough to fake an understanding of grammar until 10th, when our teacher spent a day "teaching English" as he disgustedly put it, showing us how to do a basic sentence diagram and explaining which part would be which case in German. 

We have a book called "English for French Students" or something like that. It explains English grammar that is invisible to native speakers so that they can understand terminology and similarities and differences of French. There may be one like that for Russian. I think it's meant as a reference for college students, but it would probably be accessible for your older daughter.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

One, chant the endings. Two, set them up using the interrogative pronouns. They usually teach them later and it’s an unnecessary delay.

What do you mean about the interrogative pronouns? I'm not following. 

I am not worried about the endings -- DD8 picks up patterns REALLY quickly, as befits a gifted kid. The question is how she'll know when to use which ones. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm guessing it's these guys, which is, I believe, how native speakers study cases:

https://kartaslov.ru/просклонять-существительное/лингвистика

Именительный
Кто? Что?

Родительный
Кого? Чего?

Дательный
Кому? Чему?

Винительный (неод.)
Кого? Что?

Творительный
Кем? Чем?

Предложный
О ком? О чём?

Other than that, maybe you could just go down a list like this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_grammar#Nouns to cover the most important use cases for each of the cases?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am studying Russian for almost 6 weeks now and have not covered the cases yet, but learned some German during middle school, and failed the exams because nobody had explained me how cases work..

I think I would suggest to do some more English Grammar before starting Russian Grammar. You’ll need a reference grammar to explain grammar of other languages. 
 

Dutch hasn’t cases but we do have sentence syntax, if preposition is similar to the dutch ‘voorzetselvoorwerp’  it is that sentence 

part that starts with the fixed preposition that belongs to the verb. So ‘for’ in ‘looking for’ is a fixed preposition, which makes in the sentence:

I am looking for my glasses

for my glasses

as the voorzetselvoorwerp

I don’t have quick definitions.

If it differs from Russian ignore my explanation 🙂

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

29 minutes ago, Loesje22000 said:

I think I would suggest to do some more English Grammar before starting Russian Grammar. You’ll need a reference grammar to explain grammar of other languages. 

Except that different grammars are quite different  😂. We’ve done enough informal grammar that none of this is that hard. Really, I just want something to launch her so she can START using cases. She’s only 8, so I’m sure she’ll figure it out after she gets going.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

I'm guessing it's these guys, which is, I believe, how native speakers study cases:

https://kartaslov.ru/просклонять-существительное/лингвистика

Именительный
Кто? Что?

Родительный
Кого? Чего?

Дательный
Кому? Чему?

Винительный (неод.)
Кого? Что?

Творительный
Кем? Чем?

Предложный
О ком? О чём?

Other than that, maybe you could just go down a list like this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_grammar#Nouns to cover the most important use cases for each of the cases?

Yes, I've seen those lists! I don't think she knows those words, though -- she would hear quite a few of them as "Who? What?" if I taught them to her. On the other hand, SOME of them are useful.  

I think I'll just keep modeling for now... I do use them all correctly and she watches Russian cartoons, which use them correctly... so that's probably the best we can do at the moment. 

Once we're done with verbs and she's picked up a bit from the modeling, she may be able to move forward with cases. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Except that different grammars are quite different  😂. We’ve done enough informal grammar that none of this is that hard. Really, I just want something to launch her so she can START using cases. She’s only 8, so I’m sure she’ll figure it out after she gets going.

Yes, not sure how far you would get trying to explain Russian cases from English.  My experience is in learning German, and those cases only partly map to English grammar.  There are some patterns that are internal to German as far as I can tell.  I’m guessing that she’ll pick them up from patterns as you go along, at least my daughter is doing that in German. Maybe highlight for her that cases exist, and then she can look for them in phrases she hears & you can talk it out. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

Yes, not sure how far you would get trying to explain Russian cases from English.  My experience is in learning German, and those cases only partly map to English grammar.  There are some patterns that are internal to German as far as I can tell.  I’m guessing that she’ll pick them up from patterns as you go along, at least my daughter is doing that in German. Maybe highlight for her that cases exist, and then she can look for them in phrases she hears & you can talk it out. 

She isn't picking them up yet -- we aren't quite immersive enough, I think 😞 . We've been doing "partial immersion" for 1.5 years now, and she definitely does better with stuff I kind of launch her on. But then I do let her own feel for the language take over. So I'm hoping the same kind of thing works for cases. 

Now, that being said, she's still working pretty hard on verbs/adjectives/adverbs -- they aren't automated yet. So really I think I'm getting ahead of myself. It's possible the patterns will be much more obvious when she isn't using all her working memory on verbs. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Now, that being said, she's still working pretty hard on verbs/adjectives/adverbs -- they aren't automated yet. So really I think I'm getting ahead of myself. It's possible the patterns will be much more obvious when she isn't using all her working memory on verbs. 

This makes sense. The cases are probably more subtle, and will become recognizable after the verbs are easier. DD12 is picking up a lot more about German cases now, and her vocabulary is pretty good (started at 4, but not immersion).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Eilonwy said:

This makes sense. The cases are probably more subtle, and will become recognizable after the verbs are easier. DD12 is picking up a lot more about German cases now, and her vocabulary is pretty good (started at 4, but not immersion).

I do think they are more subtle, because they are making distinctions that don't exist in English. We managed that quite easily with masculine/feminine nouns and adjectives, and we managed it easily enough with verbs, because it was clear WHAT was controlling the form of the verb (the object performing the action), but these seem harder to notice and explain. So she just uses them wrong. I do correct them occasionally, and she's memorized them in some phrases (which maybe will help later! Perhaps I should think of key phrases for later that will inform this), but it's not yet sticking. And I don't overfocus on them, because I try not to make a fuss about things a kid clearly doesn't really have a feel for yet. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

but these seem harder to notice and explain. So she just uses them wrong. I do correct them occasionally, and she's memorized them in some phrases (which maybe will help later! Perhaps I should think of key phrases for later that will inform this), but it's not yet sticking. And I don't overfocus on them, because I try not to make a fuss about things a kid clearly doesn't really have a feel for yet. 

Key phrases are great for this, to form a sort of yardstick to check back against. I’ve found these really useful.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Eilonwy said:

Key phrases are great for this, to form a sort of yardstick to check back against. I’ve found these really useful.  

I've sort of started on that on dative. An easy key phrase is something like "She gives him a present," where the "him" is now in dative. Except I sometimes wonder how easy it is to generalize from "giving presents" to other situations. For example, you wind up with the same case when she's reading him a book... I'm having a bit of a hard time generalizing myself 😛 . I'm not exactly sure what the RIGHT formulation is, if you know what I mean? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I spent a ridiculous amount of time memorizing cases for pronouns... the filling in the applicable pronoun mentally to remember the cass for actual nouns whenever i couldnt remember the proper cases. I can still all these years later recite the cases for all the pronouns like a crazy person. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Animula V. Blandula said:

I'm guessing it's these guys, which is, I believe, how native speakers study cases:

https://kartaslov.ru/просклонять-существительное/лингвистика

Именительный
Кто? Что?

Родительный
Кого? Чего?

Дательный
Кому? Чему?

Винительный (неод.)
Кого? Что?

Творительный
Кем? Чем?

Предложный
О ком? О чём?

Other than that, maybe you could just go down a list like this one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_grammar#Nouns to cover the most important use cases for each of the cases?

This brings back a feeling of overwhelm! I first heard this chanted at me by a friend in Russia who was impatient that my tutor hadn't taught it to me yet. He wanted me to memorize it immediately as it was The Key to understanding all Russian, and he couldn't understand that trying to memorize that whole thing was not going to work until I had my feet a little more under me. Then, I came back to America and proceeded to forget most everything. 

One thing that did help as I studied, and that was similar to what worked for me in German when I was a child, was that my tutor had children's stories (like the turnip that the man, wife, and assorted animals had to pull out) and songs that repeatedly used whatever the targeted grammatical structure was. Repeatedly reading/singing those helped me internalize the language more, like an immersion shortcut.

Russian is tough but great to learn. I also remember sitting on a trolleybus listening to a three year old effortlessly using the same grammatical structure I'd just been trying to wrap my tongue and brain around and not knowing whether to laugh or cry. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Xahm said:

One thing that did help as I studied, and that was similar to what worked for me in German when I was a child, was that my tutor had children's stories (like the turnip that the man, wife, and assorted animals had to pull out) and songs that repeatedly used whatever the targeted grammatical structure was. Repeatedly reading/singing those helped me internalize the language more, like an immersion shortcut.

Hahahaha, yes, I know that story! Now I need to think about what case that could be targeting... 

 

16 minutes ago, Xahm said:

This brings back a feeling of overwhelm! I first heard this chanted at me by a friend in Russia who was impatient that my tutor hadn't taught it to me yet. He wanted me to memorize it immediately as it was The Key to understanding all Russian, and he couldn't understand that trying to memorize that whole thing was not going to work until I had my feet a little more under me. Then, I came back to America and proceeded to forget most everything. 

Hah, I've been doing Russian with DD8 for 1.5 years now and we haven't gotten to even one case past the standard nominative 😉 . This is where it's really helpful to have been exposed to the grammar of more than one language to have some sense of perspective... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Now I need to think about what case that could be targeting... 

It's all fuzzy now, but I think that was mainly a verb thing, something about one form being for the continuous pulling and one for the successful pulling it out, but there was something I was supposed to learn from the nouns, too... 

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Xahm said:

It's all fuzzy now, but I think that was mainly a verb thing, something about one form being for the continuous pulling and one for the successful pulling it out, but there was something I was supposed to learn from the nouns, too... 

Aaaaah. Yes, that one. We've been tackling that kind of verb stuff recently, too (man, there are a LOT of Russian verb forms! More than I ever think about!) But yes, I can see how that story is excellent for that. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband studied Russian in college for three semesters, and I studied along with him for some of it. The cases were confusing. 

 

However, when I started teaching Latin to my kids (we start in 3rd-5th grade, depending on how well they are reading), we used the amazing Getting Started With Latin, which is one of my favorite homeschool resources ever, and it makes cases SO simple. I don't really even teach English grammar until that point, and Latin makes it so easy. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I've sort of started on that on dative. An easy key phrase is something like "She gives him a present," where the "him" is now in dative. Except I sometimes wonder how easy it is to generalize from "giving presents" to other situations. For example, you wind up with the same case when she's reading him a book... I'm having a bit of a hard time generalizing myself 😛 . I'm not exactly sure what the RIGHT formulation is, if you know what I mean? 


Not sure if this works in Russian, and it isn’t foolproof in German, but often the word “to” can be added in English to phrases that take Dative in German, without it becoming nonsensical.

 “She gives to him a present -> She gives a present to him”

“She reads to him a book -> She reads a book to him”

It’s not how you would say it, but it doesn’t throw off the meaning.  Also, dative goes with a list of prepositions, of which the common ones get familiar fairly quickly, through key phrases. Memorizing lists of endings didn’t seem very effective, because they had no “hooks”.  I’m not sure how much difference dative makes in Russian. In German it mainly changes the article.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

Not sure if this works in Russian, and it isn’t foolproof in German, but often the word “to” can be added in English to phrases that take Dative in German, without it becoming nonsensical.

 “She gives to him a present -> She gives a present to him”

“She reads to him a book -> She reads a book to him”

It’s not how you would say it, but it doesn’t throw off the meaning.  Also, dative goes with a list of prepositions, of which the common ones get familiar fairly quickly, through key phrases. Memorizing lists of endings didn’t seem very effective, because they had no “hooks”.  I’m not sure how much difference dative makes in Russian. In German it mainly changes the article.  

Hmmmm. Interesting. That's a good point! I'll have to tell her. 

I guess the point is that there's someone or something who's a recipient of an action or a thing. (That's why the "gift" sentence felt so relevant to me, someone.) It's called an indirect object in English, I guess 😄

But something like "She drew a picture on it" would be different, hmm. I suppose because it's "on" and not "to." Is the point that the action is being directed TOWARDS someone and somehow drawing a picture on something isn't directed like that? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I guess the point is that there's someone or something who's a recipient of an action or a thing. (That's why the "gift" sentence felt so relevant to me, someone.) It's called an indirect object in English, I guess 😄

But something like "She drew a picture on it" would be different, hmm. I suppose because it's "on" and not "to." Is the point that the action is being directed TOWARDS someone and somehow drawing a picture on something isn't directed like that? 

I think “She drew a picture on it” would be accusative instead of dative in German, but I’m not sure. I looked up an explanation, and found pages and pages of different examples, but that just showed me how shaky my understanding actually is. The prepositions follow different rules, depending on whether there is a change  in relative position (walking in the school  without entering or leaving is dative but walking into the school is accusative) which doesn’t fit neatly into direct/ indirect object categories, in my mind.  I could be missing something, though. 

Edited by Eilonwy
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2021 at 1:08 PM, Not_a_Number said:

What do you mean about the interrogative pronouns?

http://masterrussian.com/aa123000a.shtml

Look, it has been a LONG time since I did anything with russian, so far be it from me to inform a native speaker, lol. However I will tell you that for an english speaker studying russian it's totally appropriate to memorize/chant the declensions/endings, build tables, and use model sentences. 

Like I said, it has been a long time. But the interrogative pronouns should match the object that follows, yes? So that's one way to build a table and chant through. You can take the same noun and use it in each situation (as the subject, object, in dative, in genitive, etc.). Cases are easily understood (at the most simple level) when done this way, with simple sentences you can act out so that they hear/see the change happening (book was a subject, now it's the object, now it's ...).

I don't know if you have caught onto this, but cases get much more complex with prepositions. It's this whole additional study, a 3rd/4th year kinda thing, where you learn which verbs and which expressions take which case. Sort of a pain in the butt, sorta fun. So there's no getting around the massive amount of memorization. While it's nice to say someone will discern the patterns, I think it may lessen the difficulty to provide the structure quickly in the places where structure is easy, realizing later it won't be quite so easy. 

10 hours ago, Eilonwy said:

“She gives to him a present -> She gives a present to him”

“She reads to him a book -> She reads a book to him”

Yes, teaching cases with model sentences using pronouns is another way. It should be *paired* with the instruction in the noun and adjectival endings. Of course it gets weird in the accusative very quickly.

22 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

So what’s their magic trick?

It may have been a 3rd time is the charm kinda thing. It's not that it's hard. It clicks when it clicks, and maybe they tried a bunch with one or another language and then when they came to latin tried again and it gelled in their brain. It's an aha moment, that's all, the moment where your brain figures out the linguistic pattern and it all becomes elegantly simple.

I failed russian the first year I took it. Well failed is technically an overstatement, as I probably got a passing grade. But I knew I had not MASTERED it and would not do well in 2nd year (this was high school using a college text). So I STOLE the text, took it home, and over the summer I spent every night sleeping on the porch pouring over that stupid book, reading aloud every line, writing out every word into my own homemade glossaries, forming my own tables, writing and rewriting till I UNDERSTOOD. I then did fine in 2nd year, tested into 3rd year at the university (as a novice 18 yo), then did 4th year and went to russia for a summer. So I didn't have inability, just learning curves. I had to learn how I learned and how to get it into my head and how to discern patterns and breath them in and let them make sense. I went on to do field methods in linguistics and other linguistics classes in college btw. Plenty of ability, but it was not *easy* the first time.

There is no substitute for time to get that click. There probably is very little besides the obvious demonstration with model sentences. It will click when it clicks, just as most hard things do. And I don't think it's a sign that you're a poor teacher if it doesn't click. It's ok to go forward and then take a break and revisit things. It's ok to do it a fresh way. It's ok to ask whether it happens in english (which it sorta hack a little bit does). It's ok to do it with Barbies. In fact russian is IDEAL with barbies. 

So there, go by Barbies. That's what you're missing.

Edited by PeterPan
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Imagine the little drawings of Barbie and Ken talking.

Ken is a book. (haha)

Ken is reading a book.

Ken is on the book. (in front of, under, etc.)

10 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmmm. Interesting. That's a good point! I'll have to tell her. 

I guess the point is that there's someone or something who's a recipient of an action or a thing. (That's why the "gift" sentence felt so relevant to me, someone.) It's called an indirect object in English, I guess 😄

But something like "She drew a picture on it" would be different, hmm. I suppose because it's "on" and not "to." Is the point that the action is being directed TOWARDS someone and somehow drawing a picture on something isn't directed like that? 

Hold it, are you saying YOU don't know what in the world cases are??? LOL 

So yes, http://masterrussian.com/aa071600a.shtml  here's a link to get you some basic understanding. I had been told most kids were drilled by their grandmas to make sure their grammar was solid, hahaha. I just assumed someone had done that to you. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...