Category Archives: Viktor Huliganov

Viktor being Viktor

Sealy Phocas (South Africa series 4/10)


Playout date: 14 November 2006
Camera: Fuji Finepix
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location: Hout Bay, Cape Town
Other people featured: David Uncleborough, Afrikaaner boat captain, Viktor Dmitrievitch Huliganov, Pierre Delauney
Genre: Environmental
Music used:  Heaven for Everyone, Queen
Languages used: English, but with Russian and French words for seal.
Animals featured: Arctocephalus pussilus, Cape fur seal

I rarely do a lot of different voices on one video, but this is one occasion. I do what I hope is a passable
impersonation of David Attenborough (I called this character David Uncleborough and he comes up a couple of times in my films), and also I do a South African, some Huliganov and some Pierre Delauney.
The Hout Bay cape fur seal colony is a beautiful thing to see. This is the part of the world where the great
white shark preys on these creatures, even jumping out of the water to attack them. We didn’t see any of them today, though.
The mountains around are the twelve apostles, very majestic neighbours of the Table Mountain.

RL101-7 The Sibilants


Playout date: 12 November 2006
Camera: Logitech Webcam
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – medium use
Location: Capetown Arabella Sheraton, South Africa
Other people featured: None
Genre: Lesson
Music used: “Vdol’ po ulitse metelitsa metyot” with my wife
Languages used: Russian, English
Animals featured: None

In this seventh lesson in the 10 lesson course on the Russian alphabet known as RL-101 series, we find ourselves in the Arabella Sheraton in Cape Town South Africa, with table Mountain looming behind my head. This is the perfect setting to place a new set of consonants on the table, namely the sibilants.
The problem with the sibilants as far as Cyril and Methodius and their acolytes were concerned is that that is a group of consonants which you simply would not find in either Latin or Greek. To this day these sounds present difficulties to people transcribing Russian sounds into Western European languages. So whereas the sounds that we have met until now have come from Greek into the Cyrillic alphabet, the missionaries to the Slavs had to look for another source in order to render these sounds in Slavonic.

Hebrew was the next choice, being another biblical language. The letter shin and the letter tzaddi are both sibilants in Hebrew, so they were brought in and also amended, so that from shin we derive three sibilant letters in Russian, and from tzaddi we derive two.

The words introduced in this lesson are as follows:

that .., что
borshch (beetroot soup) борщ
in (acc/prep) в
Warsaw Варшава
you (formal/plural, acc/gen) вас
Washington Вашингтон
goodbye до свидания
stomach желудок
wife жена
woman женщина
fat жир
arse жопа
hello здравствуйте
how’s it going? как дела?
how? как?
when? когда?
end конец
of course конечно
face лицо
on (acc/prep) на
because потому, что
why? почему?
Friday пятница
Tashkent Ташкент
you (inf sing, acc/gen) тебя
comrade товарищ
what? что?
spy шпион
shi (cabbage soup) щи
egg яйцо

Title: RL101-6 The next 5 – 2/3 of the way


Playout date: 27 October 2006
Camera: Logitech Webcam
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – heavy use
Location: Home
Other people featured: None
Genre: Lesson
Music used: I can’t help falling in love, Elvis Presley, karaoke.
Languages used: English and Russian
Animals featured: None

We look at another five letters, which is enough to take us two thirds of the way through the Russian alphabet.  That won’t mean being able to read two thirds of the words, of course, as most words are five or more letters long, and it only takes one of the these letters to be in the third not yet learned for the whole word not be readable.  However from this point on, the volume of words that we can indeed understand in full begins to increase out of proportion to the remainder of the journey.
Today’s letters are still letters deriving from Greek and not looking the same as in Latin, however these letters are also not written the same as they were in the original Greek.  That’s basically the idea of the course – back at the beginning we took a look at the six letters which are the same in Cyrillics as in the Latin alphabet we are probably familiar with ( hint – you’re reading it now) after which we looked at letters whose form in Cyrillics look like Latin letters but which sound different, and in each case they were also in Greek, and the Greek sound is basically the same as the Russian one.  We then went on to look at letters which are pretty much the same in the Cyrillic alphabet as they are in Greek, but which don’t resemble Latin letters and are therefore less likely to cause confusion.  The natural progression here is to look at the letters which really derive from Greek, but which also look slightly different to the way they looked in Greek. This will be followed by letters which derived from Hebrew instead, and then the mop up of the few letters left over at the end.  That’s basically the approach we’ve taken in this course to the Russian alphabet.

Huliganov rants at Borat


Playout date: 26 October 2006
Camera: Logitech Webcam
Post Production: Windows Movie Maker – medium use
Location: Office Jazdow 8a
Other people featured: None
Genre: Hulirant
Music used: Yesterday once more” by the Carpenters – karaoke track
Languages used: English
Animals featured: Fish behind, mainly Ameca splendens

How dare this Sacha Baron Cohen person pretend to be a Kazakhstanian when he is really an English person all along? It is shocking.  Such was the basic idea of this little film, and of course my regular viewers immediately got the irony.  But spare a thought for the casual commentator, who took it all on face value and some of the resulting comments are hilarious! Click on the video box to see them back in YouTube land…

We’re not all alone after all


Playout date: 11 October 2006
Camera: Logitech Webcam
Post Production: None
Location: Office at ul Jazdow 8a, Warsaw
Other people featured: None, but wife calls.
Genre: Intro’d song
Music used: Rita Coolidge, We’re not alone
Languages used: English, Russian
Animals featured: Fish in tank behind

You might think that you’re alone In the office in the evening and able to sing a song for your admiring public who put more dislikes than likes in the marks, but that is in fact not the case. There’s always the mobile telephone to contend with. Huli gets caught by the missus whilst attempting an all time favorite by the incomparable Rita Coolidge.

RL101 – 5 Revision of the first 17 letters


With 171 likes to 3 dislikes at the time of posting this up to Huliganov.tv blog, this remains one of my most popular pieces. The revision of the first half of the Russian alphabet contains already a list of words, 31 in total, using the letters learned so far, unlike the previous lessons, which concentrated on letter only.

The joke “I spoil that woman” and the song Katiusha sung by myself and Elena have also elicited flattering comments from the viewership.

The word-list for this lesson is as follows, in alphabetical order of both languages:

адвокат lawyer café кафе
вот here is country страна
где where daddy папа
город town, city garden, orchard сад
да yes glass стакан
дерево tree he он
дом house, home here is вот
кафе café house, home дом
кот tomcat it оно
кто who juice сок
мама mother just, straight on просто
медсестра nurse lawyer адвокат
метро underground train mother мама
налево on the left no нет
направо on the right not не
не not nurse медсестра
нет no on the left налево
окно window on the right направо
он he she она
она she sister сестра
оно it soldier солдат
папа daddy there там
правда truth, true toilet туалет
просто just, straight on tomcat кот
сад garden, orchard town, city город
сестра sister tree дерево
сок juice truth, true правда
солдат soldier underground train метро
стакан glass where где
страна country who кто
там there window окно
туалет toilet yes да

Huliganov’s first ever rant!


   
  

Production date:    30 September 2006
Playout date:    30 September 2006
Camera:    Logitech Webcam
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location:    Home
Other people featured: None
Genre: Hulirant
Music used:    Gremin’s Aria, Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky
Languages used:    English Russian
Animals featured:    None

 

This piece is the first ever Huliganov rant, and actually I’m a but disappointed that a lot of people who watch and say they enjoy Huli‘s lessons didn’t also look up the rants by the same persona. This remains at under a thousand views, and not much discussion or rating.

Hulliganov offers here his disappreciation of noisy neighbours and his appreciation of the Chinese people for not making themselves unnecessarily tall.

What to make of illiterate “romaji” Russian courses, or audio only courses?


Today over on the Google Group “Huliganov and Friends”, I wrote an article in reponse to one thread:

http://groups.google.com/group/huliganov/browse_thread/thread/716ef2ce577e58a9

So if you follow that link you should see the whole thread, but just for some context here I’ll include the post just before mine, by Harry, which I basically agree with:

Nola I am with you.  I have looked at books that have no Cyrillic and
they are a joke.  Even for the absolute beginner, and we all were
there at one time and confused.  I think these books are attractive to
some because let’s face it the Cyrillic alphabet is intimidating to a
beginner.  If you are serious about learning this beautiful language
don’t waste your money on books like this.  Since the language is
purely phonetic it is essential to understand the alphabet before
going very far.  This helps a great deal when you hear words and can
recognize verb conjugation or the case of the word which Nola has
pointed out.  Unless you recognize these two things you may recognize
the words the other person is saying but you will not have a clue as
what they are trying to communicate.  Learning phrases is useless if
you can not understand the person’s response.

I have reviewed a lot of learning programs and of course everybody has
their own preferences.  Personally, I am impressed with the Michel
Thomas method.  The format is an instructor with a male and female
student as she teaches them.  The advantage of this method is that you
get a lot of grammar explanations on the spot for both male and female
verbiage.  Hope I it is OK to plug the course here.  I would be
interested in Doctor Victor’s input.  I love his course and
methodology but the lessons are incomplete.  After you are comfortable
with Rl101 and Rl102 you will be hungry for more.

Harry

OK, so here’s my reponse to the thread, not just what Harry said although I do refer to it in one or two points:

There is no point in books on Russian which are simply written in
transcribed Latin letters. I understand why books about Japanese need
to be written first off with romaji, I understand why western learners
of Mandarin need to lean on pinyin for a while. I can see that with
three separate sets of consonants depending on which tone group the
word is in, learners of Thai need to use their own clumsy Latin
transcription system (or pick one of a number of conflicting ones)
I’ll even go so far as to say that because of the lack of vowels
(although you can add them, of course) Arabic and Hebrew learners need
to lean on their own alphabets for a while. The shorter the better.

Gerald Ford wearing an ushanka and Leonid Brez...

"Mr Brezhnev, I've seen your name written in a number of different ways, could you tell me what the right one is?" "Sure, comrade. Ze right vay iss ze Russian vay, simply as zat!"

Now you probably DO need to know how to transcribe Russian into
“western” if you intend to go far with it, but then what you need to
know is that each language has its own system for transcribing
Russian. So the person whose eyebrows are similar to mine, and who is
older than me so I can’t even say I thought of them first, is known as
Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev in the English speaking world, but you just
look at his wikipedia entries, you’ll find the following:

German: Leonid Iljitsch Breschnew
French: Léonid Ilitch Brejnev (you’ll also see them writing the ending
in “eff” in older texts)
Czech: Leonid Iljič Brežněv
Spanish: Leonid Ilich Brézhnev
Polish: Leonid Iljicz Breżniew
Italian: Leonid Il’ič Brežnev (which is bizarre, as those signs aren’t
even part of the Italian language)
Danish: Leonid Iljitj Bresjnev

So while there’s general agreement about the “Leonid” with only the
French dissenting, and that only because of the demands of their
farmers, we have in a sample of eight languages including English,
eight different ways of spelling his patronymic and eight different
ways of spelling his family name!

And they are all quite correct, for the language they are used in.

If there were a single international system for the transliteration of
Russian, a kind of Russian pinyin (there is actually, but only really
used by librarians and people quoting scientific papers) that they
would look after, then there would be a bit more marginal value in
using it to learn, but even in that case it would be stupid, given
that actual cyrillics can be learned so quickly. Thousands have
learned cyrillics off my 101 series. If it’s taking more that two or
three weeks then the person either isn’t getting the method right or
they are not very adept, and either way that gate will prevent those
people wasting their time getting into the meat of the language, which
they probably won’t be able to get their heads round either, if they
baulked at the alphabet, so it’s a mercy for them.

So I just demonstrated that with a book on Russian in English letters,
not only will you not communicate properly in Russia, but also you
won’t communicate properly with people who did the same thing as you
did but coming from other language groups, even neighbouring languages
to ours. So it really is a pointless exercise, other than to make
money for the author, of course, as it’s an easier book to typeset,
and will attract its share of buyers despite being hopeless,
especially if they are not honest enough to describe online or in the
paper catalogue the absence of proper cyrillics.

Thankfully with things like Amazon we have the opportunity to add our
own reviews, and I’d really encourage you to flag up any language
books which don’t teach proper literacy. Both in Russian and in any
other language – the new TY series have removed proper literacy from a
number of their books and this really deserves to be flagged.

That doesn’t mean that audio only courses like Pimsleur or the
superior Michel Thomas method by Natasha Bershadski (should be -
dskaya, of course, which is not a great start – I hope she doesn’t
teach the language that way getting the genders of adjectives all
wrong) which Harry talks about hoping I won’t mind (of course not!)
are not valuable. They might be a nice entry-level way to see if you
like the sound and the kind of structures that you have ahead before
you ever put pero to bumaga in Russian. What the course consists of
I’ll come to in a second

I got told off by my friend Harold Goodman (I hope he’s still my
friend!) who did Michel Thomas’ Mandarin Course for suggesting in a
forum ways in which these courses could be available for less than the
cover price, and given that the cover prices of all MT courses fell on
Amazon by 30% (looks like what I was saying and some others too
started filtering back to Hodder) and given that you have to
appreciate the work the authors and everyone else put into this, and
most overridingly given that there won’t be any more courses in the
new series of MT if they’re not making money, and I seriously want
Harold to make the Hebrew course, I shall not be giving that advice
out any more. If you know it, you know it – and if you don’t, you
don’t. If you want something free, what’s on Youtube is free.

A course like Michel Thomas method contains generally 8 CDs of about
an hour in length for the foundation course. The first two of these
will be a repetition of the two CDs in the introductory course, hence
the latter is not worth buying unless all you want is an answer to the
question whether the method works for you or not. I’ll give you the
answer to that, if it doesn’t work, nothing will, so just go ahead and
buy the foundation course, especially while it’s 30% off. After this
you get an “advanced” course (it’s not really “advanced”, off course,
expect in comparison with the foundation course) and that has 4 CDs
with the pace slightly upped so that you really score as much vocab
again off the advanced course as you did on the Foundation course. And
then after that you get for most languages a vocab course (for Greek
there isn’t a vocab MT course but the authress has craftily made her
own Chinnor-based vocab book and CD set and Amazon sells it of course
as a set with her two MT products) and in the case of MT Russian you
get 4 CDs. And you are getting drilled on the vocab as it emerges -
you are using it in sentences that also reinforce recently learned
vocab.

So if you take the three together you have 16 hours of recordings.
Used properly, ie with the pause button, you’re going to use 50 hours
of your time or more to go through the three level course. Equivalent
class room time would have cost a good deal more of course, but you
would have been able to ask questions. But I’m really no fan of the
language classroom, not as an efficient means of learning languages,
anyhow, however pleasant and collegial it may be.

And maybe we can say that Pareto’s rule has applied to MT’s method
course, that these 50 hours, spent efficiently, will give you 80% of
what 250 hours of conventional learning would have given. That may be
a bit overgenerous on my part, as I am still not convinced that a lot
of what goes on in the lessons isn’t going into the short term memory.
Only a staged presentation system that goes over two weeks can really
tell you that. But on the other hand if you don’t rush at a Michel
Thomas course like a bull in a china shop, but take it relaxed, and go
back after two weeks and check you can still do it – don’t try to
learn while you are doing it – then you may well find that the key
drivers of the goldlist method as regards short and long term memory
can also come into play in the MT method.

However, all of this still only gets you, regardless of the ambitious
names of the courses, at a level where you will be close to entry
point once you start actually writing in Russian. If you did the MT
course, you’ll feel a familiarity with the words when you come to
write them. While doing the MT course, an absolute beginner might do
my RL 101 which keeps the actual Russian content intentionally low for
the first half – those cyrillics equally well apply to almost all
languages written in cyrillics. And then that beginner should drill
the Russian alphabet as I say, by writing his own language in
cyrillics. Or they can learn (using Wikipedia, for example, or Google
translate) how place names and personal names are transcribed into
cyrillics by Russians. That will be a very good drill for cyrillics,
as well as be useful for the future for the learner to know, but won’t
conflict much with what the MT tutor Natasha is presenting the MT way.
It’s coming in from a wholly different direction.

Then when you finish all that MT has to offer and also feel really
comfortable with cyrillics as a writing system, then you go an get a
nice, traditional book and put the two together, or you can watch what
there is of my RL 102 course, an unfinished work as we all know, and
go to the course book from there.

Before I finish I will say that a learner’s book should have the
cyrillics with stresses on the stressed vowels and the two dots on the
‘yo’, but also make it clear to students that they shouldn’t get used
to them. I decided in the video course that as I was sitting there
giving the pronunciation for the words on screen anyway, that neither
of these crutches were necessary, and so it is in real Russian. Which
you may say is ironic.

Hope this was useful.

Viktor D. Huliganov

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