Learning Russian and Ukrainian as foreign is not only about studying grammar. It is also an opportunity to get to know Russian and Ukrainian cultures and, ultimately, people. Our new series of lectures will help you do just that! Each course has two options: a single overview lecture or a package of about 5 either one-on-one or group lessons. The lectures are available in English, Russian and Ukrainian. Your lecturer will be Nazar, PhD, linguist and writer, author of monographs and articles published in Ukraine, USA, Italy, Hungary and Greece. Going on a tangent of student’s choosing during the lecture will only be welcome and encouraged ;) Upon completing the course you will receive a certificate.
THE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN RUSSIAN JOKES (‘ANEKDOTY’) (A2 and up)
If you need a break from drilling Russian grammar, we hear you! Here is your chance to have fun and at the same time learn something new about Russian grammar, vocabulary and, of course, about the Russians themselves. We designed an exclusive course of 5 lessons, where we read and analyze classic Russian jokes to get familiar with Russian colloquial vocabulary, slang and everyday idioms, as well as witness a lighter side of that mysterious and brooding “Russian soul”.
Lessons: reading and commenting on Russian jokes. Laughter is optional.
THE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN RUSSIAN POP-MUSIC (A1 and up)
Learning languages while listening to songs is a lot of fun! This is where you can effortlessly, yet considerably improve your pronunciation and build vocabulary.
Following some general information about Russian pop music, its styles and genres, influential artists of the XX and XXI centuries, we will listen to the songs every Russian knows and loves and analyze the lyrics.
Lessons: general information on genre/style/artist, listening to songs, analyzing the lyrics.
RUSSIAN SLANG AND ‘MAT’ (taboo language) (A2 and up)
You have always been curious what those Russian baddies in action movies are actually saying, or what that friendly neighborhood “gopnik” shouted at you in northern regions of Kyiv yesterday – now you’ll know!
Jokes aside, strong language is widely used and loved by many (not all :)) Russians and Ukrainians, and being offensive is far from the objective (in most cases). Our emotions often run high and creative profanity is but a way to express that intense love or anger (or hunger), when socially acceptable language falls short.
High level of profanity tolerance is required for the course. You’ve been warned! ;)
Lectures: 1. General overview of youth slang. 2. General overview of “мат”. 3. Teen slang, slang in different subcultures. 4. Criminal slang. 5. Slang and “мат” in Russian literature: from XIX c. to nowadays.
RUSSIAN LITERATURE OF THE XIX-XXI CC. (knowledge of Russian is not required)
You might associate Russian literature with Pushkin, Chekhov, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. However, many outstanding Russian authors, despite not making it to schoolbooks overseas, were absolutely crucial to Russian literature and culture, and, frankly, are such a shame to skip on. A wrong that we will happily right!
The overlooked gems include one wondrously prolific poet, whose legacy consists of 30000 poems, an author, who had not published a single book in his lifetime, only to have his works translated into numerous languages and published worldwide today. A writer-pornstar and a writer-magus made the list too.
We will discuss fascinating personalities and read extracts from their works.
Lectures: 1. Russian literature: 800 years of history (general overview). 2. Russian prose and drama of the XIX c. 3. Russian poetry of the XIX-XXI cc. 4. Russian prose of the XX-XXI cc.
UKRAINIAN LITERATURE OF THE XIX-XXI CC. (knowledge of Russian is not required)
Ukrainian literature is quite an Atlantis and holds plenty of secrets. You will learn about the major trends in classic and contemporary Ukrainian literature. We will discuss a variety of authors (and read extracts from their works), representing hugely different generations, styles of writing and cultural periods. One was influenced by Greek and Roman antiquity, another drew inspiration from the plight of Ukrainian peasants, one never left Ukraine, another moved to Brazil, but kept writing in their mother tongue.
Ukrainian literature is a glimpse into the life and hardships of a nation of more than 40 million now scattered all around the world.
Lectures: 1. Ukrainian literature: 1000-year-long history. 2. Ukrainian literature in the XVII-XVIII cc. 3. Ukrainian literature in the XIX cc. 4. Ukrainian prose in the XX-XXI cc. 5. Ukrainian poetry in the XX-XXI cc.
RUSSIAN CINEMA AND ANIMATION (knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian is not required)
Russian film industry existed already at the beginning of the XX c. century! Russia is the birthplace of the first ever animated film (by a Polish director). Since then the industry (and the art) grew and today there is plenty to choose from in any genre – horror, comedy, art house etc.
In the 80-s. Japan listed 100 best-animated films of all time and both the first and second position were taken by Russian films.
As you can see, there is much to be discovered! Not to mention, movies are extremely helpful in foreign language learning, and during the course we will watch and comment on fragments from some of the most famous and significant works of Russian cinema.
Lectures: 1. Russian films in XX-XXI cc.: beauty and terror, laughter and propaganda. 2. Russian films of the first half of the XX c. 3. Russian films of the second half of the XX c. 4. Contemporary Russian cinema. 5. Russian animated films.
UKRAINIAN CINEMA AND ANIMATION (knowledge of Russian or Ukrainian is not required)
Ukrainian cinema can boast so much talent both behind the camera and on screen. Epic classics by Dovzhenko, poetic Paradzhanov with his unique visual style, ironic Muratova – all created their films in Ukraine. Kids laughed and cried growing up with Ukrainian animation.
We will watch and discuss fragments from some of the most beautiful Ukrainian films.
Lectures: 1. Ukrainian films in XX-XXI cc.: a well for the thirsty. 2. Ukrainian films of the first half of the XX c. 3. Ukrainian films of the second half of the XX c. 4. Contemporary Ukrainian films. 5. Ukrainian animated films.
ESSAY WRITING IN RUSSIAN / ESSAY WRITING IN UKRAINIAN (B1 and up)
As an author of more than 200 articles and essays published in Ukraine as well as worldwide, I will share with you tips on good writing in Ukrainian / Russian (in two different courses). You will learn about key words, structure and fundamentals of style. During this course, you will write your first essay in Ukrainian or Russian!
Lectures: 1. Reading and analyzing best Ukrainian / Russian essays. 2. Essay structure. 3. Writing introduction and conclusion. 4. Writing the body paragraphs. 5. Discussing essays. Polishing style.
SURZHYK (A2 and up)
Surzhyk (суржик) is a kind of pidgin spoken in many regions of Ukraine and Russia. Though it can be seen as a result of scarce education, it still exists as an everyday phenomenon and is heard in the streets of Kyiv all the time. What does this strange mixed language mean? We will tell you, and then take a look at songs and books written in surzhyk (yes, there are those!). They might be the funniest texts ever written in Ukraine, though not exactly in Ukrainian.
Lectures: 1. Surzhyk: what is it? How does it sound? 2. Who uses it? What other features does it have? 3. Who dares to write in it? Examples. 4. Who dares to sing in it? Examples. 5. Who became the queen of surzhyk? Examples of texts and video clips for analysis.