Intermediate Russian: 12 Chairs by Slava Paperno, Alexander Nakhimovsky, Alice Nakhimovsky, and Richard L. Leed, Slavica Publishers. (Bookstores under Russian 2203.)
RIT-1, RIT-2 (texts in each Lesson in the book); these recordings are linked to the Syllabus so you can listen online.
"Intermediate Russian Exercises" online at the COLLT site (click COLLT under On-line course materials). These exercises will help you prepare for the Verb classes (explained below).
Russian Web sites
Web pages in Russian, linked to the Syllabus.
Any good Russian-English and English-Russian dictionary, e.g. by Kenneth Katzner, published by John Wiley and Sons (Bookstores under Russian 2203).
Grading and attendance:
About three quarters of your grade will be based on your performance in class. One quarter of your grade depends on the final exam. Missing more than four classes without a good reason will affect your grade. If you do have to miss a class, send an email to your teacher, preferably before the class that you have to miss. When you recover, be sure to ask your teachers for help catching up. We'll always be happy to help.
The textbook has eighteen Lessons. Nine Lessons are covered in Russian 2203 and nine in Russian 2204, in the spring. Each Lesson is typically covered in one week, or four classes:
The course includes a few review weeks, when the most recent Lessons are reviewed, and additional reading classes are taught (mostly using contemporary materials from Russian Web sites).
See Rooms and times for meeting times and places. See Syllabus for specific assignments for each class. The rest of this Course Description tells you how to do your homework and what to expect in class.
Assignment for the Text class:
Assignment for the Mini-Video class
Assignment for the Film class:
The 12 Chairs multimedia is a Cornell-only resource available on our Web site. Get your personal login and password from your teacher. If you do not own a computer, use the ones in the Language Resource Center in Noyes Lodge. You will watch the movie on the computer screen. On the same screen, you will see a window with various notes on the episode (summaries, transcripts, and descriptions). Every word in the notes has an English gloss: just click the word. Some words and phrases are linked to still images or short video clips. If you need help in using the site, read its on-screen Help (click the question mark button) or ask your teachers for a demonstration.
For the film work, the class is divided into two groups. Each student in the class should watch the entire assignment. In addition, each group is assigned a few scenes for more detailed study. See Syllabus for details.
When the Syllabus says "watch and understand..." you should watch the assignment a few times and try to understand as much dialog as you can. Consult the notes on the screen. If some of the dialog is difficult to understand, consult the on-screen transcript. Be prepared to answer questions about the entire assignment.
Then watch again the individual episodes that are shown in the syllabus as your group's assignment for "detailed study." Re-read the notes. Memorize as much of the dialog and the notes as you can. Be prepared to report on the episodes in class. Each scene's Summary will help you to report on the events. Each scene's Descriptions will help you to report on the characters and objects. The stage remarks in the summaries and transcripts will help you to report on specific actions. Be prepared to answer other students' questions about the episode(s). You may also be asked to act out your scenes.
The syllabus includes one or two questions for each scene that is assigned for detailed study. Write (in Russian) and submit the answers to these questions. Your answers should be as close as possible to the actual text of the Transcript, Summary, or Description.
For each film class, prepare 2-3 questions on the assigned episodes. In class, your questions will be answered by your classmates as part of the discussion.
Some days are indicated in the Syllabus as review classes. For these days, you should work in pairs. With your partner, watch the entire episode(s) again. Make up your own skits (one or two short ones) along the lines of any scene(s) in the film. Memorize your dialog and be prepared to perform it in class.
Assignment for the Verb class:
The purpose of this class is to learn how to conjugate all verbs listed in Exercise 7 (and practiced in all other Лексико-граммaтические упражнения aka verb exercises) and use them correctly in your own speech and writing.Work with all verb exercises in the book as well as the Intermediate Exercises on the COLLT site. COLLT will give you practice and help evaluate your progress. The green "skip" button allows you to go directly to the assigned Lesson. As you type to fill the blanks, use any source for reference: the glossary at the end of the Intermediate Russian book, the table on pp. 286, 287, the online Russian Dictionary Tree (under On-line course materials), or any other publication. The online exercises, just like the same ones in the book, show the use of the verbs in their most common meanings. Work until you get all the endings right. To conclude this work, use the last page for the Lesson in COLLT to record four sentences of your own that include some of the verbs in the Lesson. Use the verbs in the same basic meanings that are illustrated in the exercises so the class stays "on the same page." Do not read from your written text: try to speak as naturally as possible, the way you would in class. You will be asked to repeat them in class as a starter for improvised conversations. Your work on verbs will be evaluated on the basis of your performance in class. When doing COLLT work, always revise your answers until you get all of them right. Your score is displayed after you click Finish. The expected 100% score you should achieve after doing each Lesson is shown in the syllabus. Ignore COLLT's message about leaving too many questions unanswered--that's because there are 18 Lessons in the book, and you're only doing one Lesson at a time.
A note about Grammar sections at the back of the book
(also online under "Russian Verbs" in the On-line course materials
section of the navigation bar):
These are entirely optional. If you can master the verbs simply by memorizing the conjugation patterns for various groups of verbs, you do not need to consult any other materials. If, however, you would like to try and find some sense in the seemingly chaotic Russian conjugation system, read the indicated sections in the "Overview of Russian Conjugation" in the textbook. You will not be responsible for knowing the rules or the principles described there; they are there only to help you learn the verbs analytically rather than by brute force. Still, brute force is also OK.
Assignment for the Translation class:
Assignment for the Verb review class:
Assignment for the WWW class:
Read the assigned Web page and try to figure out what it says. Use a
good dictionary (a paperback edition of a R-E and E-R dictionary by Kenneth
Katzner should serve you very well), but do not try to translate every
sentence. The art of reading in a foreign language requires a fair proportion
of guessing. When reading Russian, an understanding of the grammatical
structure of the sentence will often provide very good clues.
You will not be asked to discuss these stories or to use their Russian vocabulary. The purpose of this assignment is to practice reading and understanding. Do not spend more than an hour and a half on this assignment.