Listen While You Read, or – Read As You Listen Posted by josefina on Sep 10, 2009 in language
In three days I’ll be returning to Russia – more specifically, «на Урал» [to the Ural Mountains] – but until then I have a great tip for all of you. One of the things that make learning a language outside of the country in which it is spoken very difficult is because it is hard to learn its melody. It is hard to learn how to speak it if you’re not sure how it is pronounced; what it sounds like. To make this problem a little bit smaller – to give a helping hand, so to speak – you could try listening to Russian books as you read them. Or the other way around – read them while listening to them. This idea came to me the other day when I was once again browsing through the splendid Russian site about Varlam Shalamov (I know, I know, this summer has been a little too much about this brilliant author, but sometimes I can’t help myself) and came across a section called «аудиозаписи» [recordings] where you can download (very legally and entirely for free) files with Varlam Shalamov reading some of his own short stories and poems. So I did. And was very pleasantly surprised both by the sound of his voice and the way he read his own works. Especially good is the recording of the short story «Белка» [The Squirrel] found in his short story collection «Воскрешение лиственницы» [Resurrection of the Larch Tree]. I recommend first locating the short story’s text here, then downloading the short story’s sound file here, and look at the text while you listen to Varlam Shalamov reading it. I loved it. I hope you’ll all like it just as much as I did.
And remember – this is one thing you can’t do with authors like Dostoevsky; download a file where he’s reading «Преступление и наказание» [“Crime and Punishment”] and then follow his voice in the text…
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