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8:43 a.m. - 2012-03-22
russian online
This is crazy. Do you know how many Web sites there are online that will let you use your American English keyboard to write in Russian, no purchases and no hot button keys required? It is amazing how the Internet has changed EVERYTHING about learning a language in the last 10 years.

Of course there are about a million free and not-so-free courses online, too. I haven't signed up for any of them because if they require me to watch a 20 minute podcast, or set aside an hour or even 20 minutes uninterrupted for anything, I'm not going to get through the first lesson before my kids leave for college.

I have this beautiful small hardcover book I got in Paris, "La Russe Par L'Exerise" that I got in Paris a long time ago, with about four years worth of Russian exercises in tiny print worthy of a pocket dictionary. Every time my kids go outside I take it with me and write the exercises in a notebook while yelling at them every two words not to throw trucks at each other and stop pulling up the grass. This may not be the CIA-endorsed fastest and most effective method of learning Russian, but until the CIA starts doing my laundry and babysitting my kids, it will have to suffice.

If I was learning a language from ground zero I would definitely take classes or lessons, but I already took a one-year accelerated Russian course so I know all the letters, and the spelling and grammar rules, and the tenses ... I just can't use any of it with any speed at all.

I'm so thrilled that I'll be able to type russian now, while yelling at my kids, instead of just writing it in a notebook.

Have I mentioned that handwriting in Russian is illegible? I don't mean just mine. The biggest problem with the notebook method is that it is virtually impossible to correct my spelling because about 50 percent of russian letters, when handwritten, look the same. Typing is much easier to read, and correct...r



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