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Total hours spent studying Russian this year: 242
Words I’ve clicked: The truth is, I’ve lost count (lol).
Estimated reading level: 91% (B2) +1% – Level up! Level up!

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Several months have passed since I did any study-and-click, and my last reading score in this log back in May was approximately 83% (B1).

I’ve recently decided to try and pick up from where I left off for the 6 Week Challenge (which started on 1st August 2011).

After just a couple of weeks, and a new wave of about 7-8 hours of study-and-click after 3 months’ absence, I’m happy to report I’ve hit my next milestone, and achieved a reading score in Russian of 90% with a contemporary adult book (“Дневной дозор”, pt. 3, ch. 4) for the first time in my life! 🙂

Hours spent studying Russian this year: 191
Words I’ve clicked: 7,435 (+737 new words over the last fortnight)
Estimated reading level: 90% (B1+) green belt +7% – Level up! Level up!

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Upon reflection, my original new year’s resolution of hitting 98% in Russian reading skills by February was perhaps a tad over-ambitious (lol). I put it down to the sugar rush from too much left-over Christmas cake on the day. 😉

However, I’ve never been a quitter, and am stubbornly determined to keep on climbing until I reach the summit of this majestic mountain of words. And I’m confident I’ll get there in the end despite all the setbacks and difficulties. So from now on, I’ll simply update this series of posts from time to time to let you know where I am in my epic journey and report how much closer I am to that initial goal!

Hours spent studying Russian: 102.1
Words I’ve clicked: 6,698
Estimated reading level: 83% (B1)

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Study-and-click: 3.8 hours (91.1 total)
Current text: Евгений Замятин, “Мы”
New words clicked whilst listening and reading: 349 (6,575 total)
Estimated reading level: green belt 80% (B1)

I’ve joined a 6 Week Challenge beginning in May to give myself an extra kick up the backside! 🙂

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Study-and-click: 2.1 hours (87.3 total)
Current text: Евгений Замятин, “Мы”
New words clicked whilst listening and reading: 177 (6,226 total)
Estimated reading level: green belt 80% (B1)

Дурачок сново берется за дело (this little fool is back on the case)! O.O

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Study-and-click: 2.6 hours (85.2 total)
Current text: Евгений Замятин, “Мы”
New words clicked whilst listening and reading: 306 (6,049 total)
Current estimated reading level: green belt 80% (B1)

Reading test score: 80% (-7%, “Дневной дозор”, Часть вторая, Глава 5, 300 words).

See my weekly log above (PROGRESS UPDATE, WEEK 17) for more details.

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Study-and-click: 3.8 hours (82.6 total)
Current texts: Эхо Москвы, “Культурный шок” (podcasts); Евгений Замятин, “Мы” (novel)
New words clicked whilst listening and reading: 326 (5,743 total)
Current estimated reading level: B1

Oops – broke my daily study regime and lost it down a plughole for several weeks! So here I am starting over again with link number one in a bright and shiny new chain…

I’ve been carrying out a few experiments recently as well to try and improve on my vocabulary acquisition. From my tall tatty top hat of bizarre ideas, I pulled out i) making machine translated interlinear text (that is, until Google throttled my access), ii) exhausting my online hover-over dictionary (can you believe it, my Babel fish broke down and ended up virtually floating upside down!), and iii) playing around with automatically highlighting reoccurring connecting phrases. I also tried out a variety of transcription and audio editing software, with a view to controlling audio files better and having a go at backtracking (I haven’t got around to this just yet, but it’s on my to-do list).

And the initial results…well, quite disappointing really! The interlinear text was more distracting than useful and only helped to reduce my focus on Russian words. It’s a bit like having subtitles in a movie…no matter how hard you try, you always end up looking at the captions and missing out on part of the film. And as for the translations offered by Yahoo and Google, they were pretty abysmal much of the time, both at the word and phrase level, which left me feeling generally lost and demotivated. The biggest shock, however, was that the hover-over mechanism didn’t really help much either, and actually contributed to slowing down my overall progress in the end.

One good thing that came out of all this was that the automatically highlighted connectors proved to be a useful additional feature on the whole, helping me identify and recall commonly repeated phrases, and much to my amusement, revealing how much people use these again and again (often several strung together in a row) to borrow time throughout dialogue!

When I eventually returned to my tried-and-tested methodology with trusty old paper and pencil, simply as a control, I discovered that my efficiency skyrocketed by 200-300% over these various new online techniques. This was the most surprising result of all, as I had hoped to improve on my overall approach and save myself some time aligning and printing off parallel texts in the future. But no such luck it seems, and I largely put this down so far to three possibilities: 1) the podcasts I used for my experiments from the Эхо Москвы website were simply too fast or different for me, 2) having an accurate man-made translation is key to success, or 3) parallel texts force the reader to try and memorise words across columns, whilst quickly switching between analysis and alignment, which facilitates overall recall. Who knows…perhaps it’s a combination of all three, but for now I’m putting the experiments aside, and will take my chances with the better devil I know. 😉

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