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Russian II, Comprehensive: Learn to Speak and Understand Russian with Pimsleur Language Programs Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Jul 1 2003


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Pimsleur; 30 Lessons + Reading edition (July 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743525973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743525978
  • Product Dimensions: 33.1 x 26.7 x 5.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Product Description

About the Author

Dr. Paul Pimsleur devoted his life to language teaching and testing and was one of the world's leading experts in applied linguistics. After years of experience and research, Dr. Pimsleur developed The Pimsleur Method based on two key principles:  the Principle of Anticipation and a scientific principle of memory training that he called ?Graduated Interval Recall.?  This Method has been applied to the many levels and languages of the Pimsleur Programs.

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Format: Audio CD
I am a high school student who decided last year to learn Russian, and no program has come even remotely close to Pimsleur, when it comes to helping me in real life situations, and practical vocabulary. I had completed a few beginner's written courses, and dabbled in the living language complete course, but when school started up again, I found myself without adequate time to effectively live up to a time commitment on the all-consuming and grammar intensive written courses. After this study, I found myself able to read simple passages, and string together sentences, but I lacked the seamless spoken ability that I wanted. It was around this time that I tried pimsleur for an introduction to Japanese, and fell in love with it. I immediately got the Russian level 2 course, and now I don't have to sit at my desk after my homework is done, and can just sit in my armchair, and pop in a tape. This course works completely different than any drill, and is so pervasive and effective that I am finding myself having trouble with oral practice in spanish class, becuase of the instinct to speak Russian that this course provides so well. Since then it has been a godsend, helping me actually put to use the vocabulary I had learned, and taking a whole new approach to grammar. I am now able to have real, meaningful conversations with Russian speaking teachers and kids at my school, and I would recommend Pimsleur whole-heartedly to anyone who is serious about attaining real and useful spoken language skills, but is very busy.
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By A Customer on May 15 2004
Format: Audio CD
Although I agree that Pimsleur's Russian I,II and III CD sets are a great way to quickly learn to speak and understand spoken Russian, I am constantly frustrated by the lack of the written text of these dialogues! Surely, for the price we have to pay for these CD sets, we are entitled to a text copy of what the Russian speakers are saying on all of the CDs!! Why doesn't Pimsleur provide the text?? They already have it in-house (for the Russian speakers to read from) and should make it available to those of us who need to learn to read the Russian text as we are learning the Russian phonetic sounds.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A godsend for the busy language enthusiast May 11 2004
By James P. Evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am a high school student who decided last year to learn Russian, and no program has come even remotely close to Pimsleur, when it comes to helping me in real life situations, and practical vocabulary. I had completed a few beginner's written courses, and dabbled in the living language complete course, but when school started up again, I found myself without adequate time to effectively live up to a time commitment on the all-consuming and grammar intensive written courses. After this study, I found myself able to read simple passages, and string together sentences, but I lacked the seamless spoken ability that I wanted. It was around this time that I tried pimsleur for an introduction to Japanese, and fell in love with it. I immediately got the Russian level 2 course, and now I don't have to sit at my desk after my homework is done, and can just sit in my armchair, and pop in a tape. This course works completely different than any drill, and is so pervasive and effective that I am finding myself having trouble with oral practice in spanish class, becuase of the instinct to speak Russian that this course provides so well. Since then it has been a godsend, helping me actually put to use the vocabulary I had learned, and taking a whole new approach to grammar. I am now able to have real, meaningful conversations with Russian speaking teachers and kids at my school, and I would recommend Pimsleur whole-heartedly to anyone who is serious about attaining real and useful spoken language skills, but is very busy.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Supplement to Classes April 18 2008
By D. Elmore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I listened to Pimsleur's Russian 1 and 2 while taking russian classes at my University, actually during the drive to the University ;) They force you to constantly think and synthesize what has been taught. So you never finish a CD thinking you didn't gain any ground. These courses are not designed to teach grammer, so supplementary studies are essential. Pimsleur to me was simply a fun way to practice and fill in some gaps in my vocab.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A great start for learning Russian! Aug. 18 2011
By Linda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Several years ago, over a period of a couple of years, I bought Russian I, II, and III and worked my way through them. While I was listening, I hungered to see the words I was saying. However, once I started taking Russian (at the university where I was near retirement from teaching in another field), I was able to hit the ground running. My pronunciation was reasonably good, and I knew a number of words. And, as I listened to pronunciation errors made by my fellow students, I recognized that saying Russian words before I could see them had spared me from those very errors. Of course I make errors that come from spelling phonetically, but since my goals are more oriented toward speaking Russian than writing it, I think I'd rather be vulnerable to spelling errors than to pronunciation errors. Also, as a music teacher, I am familiar with the Suzuki method and enjoy observing the similar approach of Pimsleur (aural; based on systematic rather than random repetition).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Pimsleur Russian II Oct. 24 2009
By Rita M. Lamasney - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Rosetta Stone may be better for working from the ground up,.. learning like a child does.. But you learn much like a kindergartner and it is a long road to adult conversation. I found the Pimsleur method better for those who wish to communicate for travel and pleasure given the same amount of study hours invested.
I am very satisfied and bought the second volume after mastering the first.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Don't expect to carry on a converstation when finished April 11 2013
By Terry L Martin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There will be many negative sounding things that you will read in this review, however let me point out that I am glad that I went through all three levels of this program. I did these lessons in order to sound like a Russian. I did not do them in order to sound like a tourist who spent a few weeks learning how to mumble through a few Russian phrases, while completely murdering the Russian language. As far as this course could take me, I'm satisfied that I pretty well accomplished that. Just not in the way that Dr Pimsleur designed his program, as you will soon see.

When I first began to use the Pimsleur Russian Language program, I was having quite a lot of difficulty with it. I read some of the reviews and started thinking that maybe I'm just not cut out for learning a new language. Some of the reviews people had written made it sound too easy, and for me it was tough. After reading a lot of these reviews I started to wonder. I was amazed at how easy some people were seemingly claiming it was for them to grasp and understand this language. Don't take my experience as normal, but I think you should take any claim that learning a language is easy, not only with a grain of salt, but a whole block of it. I finally determined that it wasn't just me, but that there were obviously some exceptional people writing reviews that had very little in common with the majority of us ordinary people trying to learn a language. It is not easy, and if you still choose to believe that it is, then perhaps that also explains the looks on the faces of your friends when you begin a serious defense of the reality of leprechauns and the tooth fairy that you also probably believe in.

I find learning a new language relatively fun and quite rewarding, but I will never describe it as easy. I have a 145 IQ, and I graduated from school before it became the crappy system it is today in most schools, but it took me over three years to finally complete all the lessons to my satisfaction. Frustration stopped me several times. I admit that I did also give up for a while when some other interests seemed more important, but it was always there in the back of my mind, and I always came back to it.

One goal that I had upon completion was to be able to carry on a conversation with a native speaker. If that is one of your goals with this course, sorry Charlie, it's simply not going to happen. You could sit down at a table where people are speaking Russian to each other and maybe catch a few words that you remember learning from this course, but you will have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. On the other hand, if you try to enter the conversation, the people there will probably use a phrase that you will learn on these CD's. "Yah vwe nepunyoumyou." It means, "I don't understand you."

This course will help you to learn to pronounce many Russian words of which some, to us English speakers, are very difficult tongue twisters, and some will require you to make sounds that we don't use while speaking English. You will learn many very basic phrases, and they will be of great use to you to "start" understanding the structure of this language. However though my experience, It is my belief that if you could understand, and retain all of the information covered in this program perfectly, you would still have no chance at all of carrying on anything other than a very simple and very short and boring conversation with a Russian speaker, and then only if you start and control the conversation. Most of that conversation would consist of asking them where they live, do they want to go and eat or drink, and whether they are Russian or American. Those things are covered extremely and nauseatingly well.

When I read some of the reviews of this program before deciding to buy it, I made the incorrect assumption that what I had read about the course was accurate. I chose to believe the ones that made it sound reasonably easy to do. That you could simply listen very carefully to the lessons once or twice on the CD's, absorb the skills, and actually be able to talk to someone when you were done. Let me remove the suspense right now, if I haven't already -- there is not a chance in the world that is ever going to happen. There were some reviewers that said that they had to listen to the recordings twice before they actually got it. Oh my Gosh!! They had to listen to them twice? I will take their word for that because some people do have that ability. 99% of us do not, and that includes me. Just think for a moment about being presented with 4 - 7 words that you have never heard before. Some of which will be tongue twisters that you most likely will not even be able to pronounce correctly without considerable time to practice. Then ask yourself "will I be able to remember that after hearing it only once or twice?" Let me answer that for you ----No, you're not. I listened to most of these lessons 6 or more times before I thought that I had gotten it, and in most cases I was wrong. This assumption that I had "Gotten it" was shattered when I attempted to use, not all, but many of the phrases to talk to my wife. She grew up in St Petersburg, Russia, and even completed her medical training as an Ear, Nose, and Throat surgeon in Russia. I am a musician of sorts and have a good ear for sounds. I was able to mimic the sounds that I heard, in most cases quite well, and could repeat them without hardly any accent. The problem here was that although I could mimic them quite well, I actually wasn't really hearing everything that was being presented. Also, in a large number of cases, what I thought I heard I really didn't. You don't find out about that unless you have someone who knows the language, and you can practice your new language skills with.

At times I would spend an inordinate amount of time to mimic the words the speakers just spoke, and then repeat it to my wife, and she wouldn't be able to understand what I just said. Slight differences in my pronunciation because of what I thought I heard, made it unintelligible to her. Russians are very tuned in to listen for very slight variations in the words, which change their meaning.

Most of the time the phrases on the CD can be figured out, but not always. My guess would be that there are 3 - 5% of the sentences in the lessons that are ones that have what I call missing or unintelligible words. You will be learning incorrectly through no fault of your own. You just can't hear all the words correctly spoken, because they are not always clearly spoken. My wife would agree that a phrase that I just spoke to her was nearly identical to what they said on the CD but that I missed one or more of the words. This is what I mean by missing words. Those could also be just a sound that is unintelligible to us, but that to her didn't make any difference at all. When I pressed her on it, she would finally admit that she couldn't hear it either, but that she didn't really notice that it wasn't there. She had heard these phrases since early childhood and her mind simply filled in the missing words automatically. This is something that those of us who are learning the language for the very first time can't possibly do. Vwe, meaning "you" is very difficult to pick out in a great many phrases, but still they expect you as a newbie to the Russian language to know that it is there. To be fair, this doesn't happen all the time of course, but enough to make it very annoying and time consuming.

It is mostly the endings of the words that trip you up. The ending may be "tee uh", for example, but all you will hear in the recording is "teh". They don't take the effort to clearly enunciate those endings and as a newbie to the language, you don't know what the heck is going on. There will be phrases where some of the words are reduced to a single sound. One example is "vwe", and in many many instances you will just hear a "v" sound. You are not sure if that is it, or maybe the person ran out of breath, just passed some gas, or what. Most of the difficult words are given phonetically, and that's great, but many times they are not. Sometimes you will hear a word that is unintelligible in one lesson, and then two lessons later they do a phonetic version of it. There are loads of times when they give you the word phonetically, carefully enunciating each syllable, and then they change the pronunciation of one of those syllables when they actually say the complete word. Since they are using different speakers from different parts of Russia, you are also hearing different ways of pronouncing words. As a newbie, you have no way to know if this is a new word or just a different way to pronounce it, or is it now being used differently than it was in other phrases, and more importantly which is the correct way anyway?

The endings of words are terribly difficult to catch many times. You don't know if they are saying "teah" or "te". It will sound like there is an "S" at the end of a word, that shouldn't be there. Many pronunciations sound as though they are putting a "T" at the end of the word, that also shouldn't be there. They will say what you hear as "kreemer" and they really are saying "kreemoo." You simply can't tell and even when you think you have it, you later, in a different lesson hear one of the other speakers pronounce it a different way because they are from some other part of Russia, and you're screwed again. The best you can expect in many cases is to get the word close enough that someone will most likely at least partially understand what you are trying to say. They will sometimes put a sound in front of a word that has nothing to do with the word. It may even be a breathing pause, and again, what do you know? So you try to copy it. They have a tendency to let the final part of many words become the first part of the word following it. For example, Mui znahkomich (my friend or acquaintance). They pronounce it as Muiz nahkomich. So you are left thinking that Muiz is a word, and it isn't.

Don't expect each phrase given to be grammatically correct either, because not all of them are. My wife is still correcting me on lots of phrases that I try on her.

After going through the lessons the way Dr. Pimsleur created them, and then finding that I had missed a whole lot, I decided to do it again in a different way. I went through all 90 lessons and turned the phrases into flash cards that I put on an electronic tablet. This flash card creation process took me over 320 hours. This way I was able to get my wife to fill in the words missing and give the correct pronunciations and I could practice them anywhere. After this studying, I was able to go back to the Pimsluer CD's and use them for a very good review. It took so long because you are constantly starting and going back on the CD to pick up a word you missed the first time. If you have 7 words in a phrase, you will play it to catch the first word, then backup and try to get the 2nd word, and then the 3d, and so on. There are also times you will go over and over and over it again, just because you can't figure out what the hell they are saying, and you never do.

One thing else that is extremely annoying, and again, it doesn't happen all the time, they will narrate a phrase that is rather difficult. They will go through that phrase as fast as a NASCAR driver drives their car. I'm almost convinced that if they could run all the words in their sentences together and pronounce them as a single word, they would most certainly do so. Rather than doing it twice, once at normal and then at slow speed, they operate to a great extent on the principle of just saying the same thing at the same speed a dozen or so times will help. It doesn't.

You will not know the names of all 12 months of the year when you are done. They only cover 4 of them that I remember, and as for the specific days of the month, they primarily cover the 5th, 20th and 27th. I still don't know how the rest of them are pronounced. It isn't just a simple matter of learning how to say 5, 20, and 27 in Russian. There are different ways of pronouncing those numbers when referring to them as days of the month.

So, what will you be able to do when you successfully finish the three part program? Well, don't try to get a job as an interpreter. You will be able to ask basic questions of someone, ask directions to somewhere, buy a beer, vodka, or wine, (really important things in Russia) find out if someone wants to eat or drink, (but not what to order because food isn't covered) find out what country they are from, and a number of other basic questions. Whether or not you will understand their response is another matter altogether, and most likely, you will not. The reason for that is that the person you are talking to will not have taken the Pimsleur Russian language course themself, and therefore will not answer you the way the speakers do on the CD's. Therefore, you are not going to know what the heck they are telling you.

Russian is a difficult language to learn, and part of the difficulty is the fact that you have to not only learn what the names are of everything, but in order to use them correctly in a sentence, you need to know whether the darn thing is male or female because that determines how you should use it in a sentence. I'd really like to know who the nut was who decided what should be male and what should be female, or why they even did it. How does one determine that a tree is male or female? Considering the screwball way it was done, I'm sure that person was a government employee, trying to validate his reason for a job. I mean, who really cares to know if a rock or a tree is male or female?

As I just said here, and several others have said in their reviews, The Pimsleur Russian Language program is a good "start." Compare it to taking a car trip. One of your essential first steps is that you need to fill the car with some gas. That's what you are doing with these lessons, taking that first step. Actually I think that my reference to gas here is particularly appropriate, because the effort you will need to put in to it to learn this language will most likely produce enough gas to fill a blimp.


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