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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.

RL101-4 The next five letters


Playout date:    23 September 2006
Location:    Home
Other people featured: None
Music used:    Akon’s Mr Lonely karaoke track, used to rap Onegin’s letter from the end of Evgeniy Onegin
Languages used:    English, Russian
Animals featured:    None

 This fourth lesson deals with 5 letters that are not in English at all but come from Greek. Here we have a difference to the previous lesson which had letters that look like English letters, but because of Greek they have a different use in Cyrillics.
 With 160 likes against 2 dislikes, this has to be one of the most popular videos I ever did.

RL 101-3 Six letters that look the same but are different


Playout date:    9 September 2006
Location:    Moscow Hotel
Other people featured: None
Music used:    All around my hat” Steeleye Spam, karaoke, with some Russian lyrics.
Languages used:    Russian
Animals featured:    None

 This time Huliganov shows the letter group BPHXCY where the usage in Russian follows that of Greek, the letter shapes in this group appear in Latin script but with different values.
 The professor also warns people of the necessity to roll their ‘r’s. He finishes off with one of his all time favorite folk songs “All around my hat” as well as a rather ribald joke.

RL 101-2 The Six Letters That Are The Same


Production date:    20 July 2006
Playout date:    21 July 2006
Camera:    Logitech Webcam
Post Production:    Windows Movie Maker – slight use
Location:    Home on the terrace
Genre: Lesson
Soundtrack info:    Oy, Moroz, Moroz! Russian folksong – a capello
Languages used:    Russian
Animals featured:    None
Date added here: 25 September 2010
Number of days this video was up at time of posting: 1527
Number of views at time of posting: 28822
Number of views per day: 18,9
Number of comments at time of posting (don’t forget to click through to read the comments!): 120
Comments per thousand views: 4,2
Likes at time of posting: 198
Dislikes at time of posting: 3
Likes to dislikes ratio: 66
Votes per thousand views: 7,0
Ratio of comments to votes: 59,7%

As you can see I’ve extended as it were the table of stats that there is at the start of each of these vlog reposts. The stats aren’t dynamic – to get the up-to-date ones or to read the comments, don’t hesitate to click through to the YouTube version, just by double clicking on the film. You can do that to any film on this vlog.

Please give me feedback on whether you like the tabular approach to analysing the videos or prefer the way I did it on the earlier ones.
This is the second ever of Huliganov’s Russian lessons – intended originally only to teach the alphabet. Here we look at the first six letters – not in alphabetical order but in thematic order. They spell the word KOMETA, a comet. But even on these six letters there are minor differences to look out for so listen carefully to the explanations!
 The song is “Oy moroz, moroz” a well known Russian work. Look out for the jokey switch in the last verse! A few commentators appear to have got the joke. The joke in this part is one of my favorites about the way the youth of today all look like the same gender…


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