This online course is ideal preparation for students thinking of studying Russian at university and who may never have studied it at school, providing a flavour of Russian language, literature, and culture.
Learning Russian not only opens the doors to a new language but also to an exciting and varied culture, one with a proud history and heritage. This course follows the pattern of many university languages degrees by offering an introduction to the Russian language and alphabet combined with a discussion of Russian literature, focusing on famous writers such as Pushkin, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky.
The course starts with the Russian language, introducing students to the Cyrillic alphabet, its similarities with and differences to the Roman alphabet, and how the letters are pronounced. Some basic words and phrases are introduced along with some simple conjugation, and students are encouraged to learn how to read these out loud with correct pronunciation, which can be a challenge task for the novice! Our goal is to equip students with the confidence they need to apply to study the Russian language at university. The second part of the course looks at 19th and 20th-century literature in turn, exploring some of the great authors of these periods and their works. Students will also be encouraged to consider the differences between the two centuries – which were considerable given the social and political upheaval of the early 20th century following the Russian Revolution.
The overall aim of the course is to provide a flavour of Russia – its culture, language, literature, politics, and more – to students who may not be acquainted with this vast and varied nation, and to set them on the path for further study at university and beyond.
During the course, students will…
By the end of the course, students will be able to…
This first tutorial introduces students to Russia and its vast territory and culture. It familiarises students with well-known Russian figures, objects and symbols, landmarks, and geography, whilst also introducing them to the Cyrillic alphabet and a few basic Russian words and phrases. University study of Russian is also discussed, such as the typical balance of language and literature, which this course hopes to emulate.
Tutorial 2 is dedicated to the Russian language, but don’t worry – it is aimed at beginners or those who have never encountered the language before! It runs through some basic grammatical structures, useful words and phrases, and hones students’ ability to pronounce and read the Russian alphabet. A range of exercises throughout helps to consolidate the material covered, the aim being to give students confidence to pursue their studies of Russian further.
This tutorial moves away from language to focus on Russian literature, introducing students to some key 19th-century Russian authors and their works, including Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and Chekhov. For each author we look at the key events in their life and at a case study of the works most often studied at university. In addition to discussing the classic works, mention will also be made of some shorter, more accessible works, such as the short stories of Chekhov and Tolstoy.
Our second tutorial on literature, and the final tutorial of the course, looks at the 20th century, which provides a stark contrast to that studied in tutorial 3. Life and literature had changed dramatically in Russia after 1917, and this tutorial explores the dramatic cultural changes in Soviet Russia that took place at this time before discussing three major authors and a key text by each: Mikhail Bulgakov’s masterpiece “The Master and Margarita”, the poet Anna Akhmatova’s poem “Requiem” (to the victims of Stalinism) and finally dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s novella “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich”.
|Course Pre-requisites||Advanced level of EnglishAn enthusiasm for languages and literature.|
|Course Level||For students interested in embarking on studies in Russian language, literature, and culture, in particular those looking to study Russian as part of a university course.|
|Prior Knowledge||No prior knowledge is required to take this course, just enthusiasm for the subject.|
|Workload||4-6 hours (further independent study is encouraged)|