The course meets three times a week:
- one reading/discussion class
- one film/discussion class
- one writing/grammar class
The materials and the nature of all assignments for each class are described
This is a variable-credit course: you select the number of credits when you
enroll. Sign up for 4 credits to attend all three classes. Sign up for 3 credits
and attend two classes each week. If you cannot attend more than one weekly
class, sign up for 2 credits.
See Syllabus for dates and details. See Rooms and times for meeting times and places.
- For the reading class:
- Liudmila Ulitskayia. "Tsyu-yurikh." A Short Story. The online version
is linked to the course syllabus. Note that the online version includes
English glosses that the printed book does not have.
- Liudmila Ulitskaia. Book Detstvo sorok Deviat'. Borrow your
copy from the department.
- Documentaries in the language lab in Noyes Lodge (or YouTube):
Watching the films: Go
to the language lab in Noyes Lodge and use any of the Windows or Macintosh
computers. Log in (a password, if required, is provided by the lab staff) and
start Internet Explorer or Firefox. From the Bookmarks or Favorites menu,
select Movies for Courses, then log in to Video on Demand using russian9999
both as the user name and the password. Scroll down to the film you want, and
click the cover picture. Note the links to online transcripts that you can
open in a separate window as you watch the film. This can also be done in the
two computer rooms in Uris Library. If you don't see a bookmark, then go to http://lrc.cornell.edu/ and click Media
Library, then Streaming Videos for Class, then log in.
- Майкл и Светана (onscreen transcript available at Noyes Lodge,
see Watching the films, below)
- Newsmaker's Kit: Children from Russia (transcript available online)
- На атомной речке (transcript available online)
These two films may also be watched on YouTube:
Newsmaker's Kit: Children
from Russia. Part 1 (there's a minute of black at the beginning)
Kit: Children from Russia. Part 2 (there's a minute of black at the
Life on the Atomic River
If you have any technical difficulties, or prefer using a DVD and its menus
(or a tape), ask for the DVD at the counter: Майкл и Светана DVD
RV92, Newsmaker's Kit: Adoption of Children from Russia tapes RV37
and RV38 (not available on DVD), and Life on the Atomic River DVD
- Any good Russian-English and English-Russian dictionary (e.g. the one by
Kenneth Katzner, paperback edition available)
Performance in the film class — 25 percent, performance in
the reading class — 25 percent, written homework — 25 percent, final examination
— 25 percent. No other tests.
Missing more than three classes without a good reason
may affect your grade. If you do have to miss a class, send your teacher a note,
preferably before the class that you have to miss. If you have symptoms of a
contagious illness, please be kind to your classmates and don't attend the
meeting. If you feel up to it, do the work that can be done on your computer,
and when you recover be sure to ask your teachers for help catching up. We'll
always be happy to help.
- Reading class
- Read the assigned segment of the story and make sure that you understand
its content. When reading the online version, move your mouse pointer over
links to read English glosses. Do not try to translate every word. It is
important to learn reading authentic texts without looking up every word.
- Print out the assigned pages and highlight words and expressions which, in
your opinion, need clarification or explanation. Be prepared to retell the
text in as much detail as you can, and also to ask five or six questions based
on your assigned reading.
Consult the Syllabus and watch the
assigned videos. Make sure that you understand the dialog. If some of the
passages are difficult to understand, consult the transcripts (see above,
under Materials). For each film class, prepare 3 questions on the assigned
episodes. In class your questions will be answered by your classmates as part
of the discussion.
Make sure that you understand the dialog. If some of the passages are
difficult to understand, consult the transcripts. You can read them on the
screen or print the relevant parts.
In addition to bringing to class your three questions, be prepared for
a general discussion of the events and issues raised in the films. For
example, How do the characters treat each other? How are the situations in the
films different from similar situations in American films or American life?
How do their living conditions or their attitudes differ from what you
expected or from your own? What have you learned about Russia from this film,
and how is Russia different in this respect from the U.S.? etc.
For each film, you will assume the role of one of its characters. The
roles will be assigned in class. While discussing the assigned episodes, try
to be true to your role. This does not mean that you have to think and speak
exactly as that character does in the film. A certain amount of interpretation
and improvisation would be very welcome. But try to stay true to your
For one of the films (Children from Russia) you'll have to work with
another student. Each pair is assigned their own portion of the documentary
(shown in the Syllabus). In class, you will be
asked to act out your part or to report on it in the form of an interview: one
of you will interview the other(s). Work together to prepare questions and
issues that may be relevant to the story.
For the film class, you will also write three essays, indicated in the
syllabus. The essays should be typed double-spaced, 1.5 to 2 pages.
There will be three panel discussions based on the documentaries. For
these classes, each student will assume a role related to the film. For
example, you may be the head of a marriage agency, a marriage councilor, the
director of an orphanage, a doctor, or a parent. Prepare a short statement
about your position on an issue, or your analysis of a problem. Watch the
relevant parts of the film again. In class, after you make your statement,
other students will ask you questions related to your role or point of view.
They may challenge your position or demand clarification, etc. You should also
be prepared to ask similar questions of other students. Before each panel
discussion class, your teacher will bring a list of "roles" to class, and you
will choose (or be given) a role.
- In this part of the course you will learn to compose written reports in
good Russian. Consideration will be given to narration techniques as well as
finer points of grammar and style. You must use the Russian
Essay box on our Web site to write and submit your drafts and your final
versions. The Windows and Mac OS X computers in the Language Learning Center
are fully configured for that, and you may also be able to use your own
computer. Please keep backup copies of your texts. For instructions on using
the Essay Box, click its Help button. For typing Russian on your own computer,
Windows users can use either the standard Russian keyboard that comes with
Windows or the mnemonic layout (called Student
or Phonetic). It works with Windows 7, Vista, and XP. Directions for
installing it are included in the zip archive. Mac OS users can use the
keyboard (Standard or Phonetic) included with Mac OS X as part of the
International setup in System.
You will work on each of your essays twice. First, you will write a
draft and save it in the Essay Box. Make sure you do this at least 24 hours
before your next class, because your teacher needs time to read it and to add
comments to it. In addition to corrections, these comments may include a small
assignment, e.g. "Rewrite the first paragraph as a dialog" or "Change this
passage so that it is presented from the point of view of the little girl."
You may want to print a copy of this first draft for your reference, but you
do not need to submit the printout.
You will correct your first drafts in class (in the carrel area of the
language lab in Noyes Lodge--the upper level, near the fireplace), while your
teacher goes around the class and helps as much as he can. If you like, you
may continue working on your essay after the class, but normally the idea is
to complete most of your revisions in class, while the teacher is around to
help you. If you cannot complete your revisions in class, do that soon after
the class because your teacher will read your revised text early next week and
make some final adjustments that you will review as you start working on your
next essay. The length of your essays should be such that your homework takes
about an hour to complete.
Your essays may be on any subject that interests you. It may also be
based on the videos that you will watch in this course, or on any materials
that you read in this course. You may write about the entire video/story in
more general terms, or select only one or two points for a detailed treatment.
You may report on the events, the people and their attitudes, the language and
the anecdotes, or offer your own views on the issues or describe similar
experiences and observations. In other words, you should feel free to be a
real author and learn to express your own thoughts. This is one of the goals
of the course--help you find and develop your own Russian.
As you work on your essays, use The Russian
Dictionary Tree for reference. Although this computer dictionary
does not include all the vocabulary that you may need, it will help you avoid
the most common errors. The Russian Essay Box and the dictionary may be
displayed and used on the computer screen at the same time, and you can copy
and paste text between the two (Ctrl+C copies the selected text, and Ctrl+V
pastes it at the insertion point). If you need help using the software, refer
to the programs' Help or ask your teacher for a demonstration.
You will find links to other online Russian dictionary and word-use
databases under Outside resources. The language lab
staff should be able to help you get started with the computer and find your
applications, but cannot help with any specific features of the