When learning a foreign language communication is crucial. Without anyone to talk to while studying a new foreign language your vocabulary, your phrases are all bound to die (as goes for your native language too, when there’s no one around to talk to in it) sooner or later. If left unused, that is! I tell my Russian students of Swedish to join Swedish online communities, and the same advice goes for you who are studying Russian – join a Russian online community! Not only will you find lots of interesting (or uninteresting) clubs as well as people, or be able write to strangers from one sixth of the Earth’s ground (that’s just how big a country this is), but for those of you who are only beginning to study Russian joining in itself will be a challenge. After all – one must join in Russian. And then try to find one’s way around the community – in Russian. Now you see why this is something anyone trying to learn a language would profit from? For all of those who already use Facebook the news I’m about to bring you are good; for MySpace people – not so much. There’s a Russian version of Facebook, though it’s completely independent, and in no way connected to Facebook, except for one thing – it is an almost exact copy of the way Facebook used to look before (the old Facebook), translated into Russian. It’s called «в контакте» [in contact] and can be found online as www.vkontakte.ru. (I’m sorry for the poor quality of the following pictures – there must be something wrong with the uploading-pictures-machine on WordPress…)
Here you’ve got everything you’d ever need on your left – «Мои Друзья» [My Friends] «Мои Фотографии» [My Photographs] «Мои Видеозаписи» [My Videos] «Мои Сообщения» [My Messages] «Мои Заметки» [My Notes] «Мои Группы» [My Groups] «Мои Встречи» [My Meetings] «Мои Новости» [My News] and «Мои Настройки» [My Tuners].
Not only Russians can be found “in contact” but also Ukrainians and Belarusians, as you can see from the list of languages to choose from above. Do also note that they’ve got a beta version «по–английский». But what does «спортивный (язык)» [sporty language] and «ностальгический (язык)» [nostalgic language] mean? Let’s have a look!
Here you’ve gone from being «в контакте» [in contact] to being «в команде» [in the team]. This means that you now have to your left, instead of those noted above, «Моя Команда» [My Team] «Мои Фоторепортажи» [My Photo stories] «Мои Трансляции» [My Transmissions] «Мои Сообщения» [My Messages] «Мои Заметки» [My Notes] «Мои клубы» [My Clubs] «Мои Мероприятия» [My Events] «Мои Сводки» [My Summaries] and also «Мои Настройки» [My Tuners].
And now we take the next step – or to be honest, a step back – and enter «в союзе» [in the union]. Here, as you might have been able to guess, we find the following ‘functions': «Мои Товарищи» [My Comrades] «Мои Фотокарточки» [My Snapshots] «Мои Киноленты» [My Reels of Film] «Мои Телеграммы» [My Telegrams] «Мои Записки» [My Notes] «Мои Союзы» [My Unions] «Мои Собрания» [My Assemblies] «Моё Информбюро» [My Inform Bureau] «Мои Настройки» [My Tuners].
No matter how much fun these ‘details’ make the site, I’ll have to break your heart with a little piece of brutal reality – if you change your language to ‘in the team’ or ‘in the union’, it won’t be saved when you log in next time…