Core Russian Language Courses - РГГУ.РУ
Core Russian Language Courses

Russian as a Foreign Language: Beginner’s Level

(from no prior knowledge of Russian to basic competency in Russian as a foreign language

Course goal: laying the foundations of Russian pronunciation and conversation for everyday situations; introduction to Russian language and culture.

The program includes work with phonetics, grammar, and conversational practice. The scope and content of the course may vary based on the students’ proficiency levels and professional & academic interests.

PHONETICS

Goals: Correct arrangement of the speech apparatus, internalization of articulation patterns, learning intonation with relation to communication goals (asking questions, making statements & evaluations).

Content: FOUNDATIONS OF RUSSIAN PRONUNCIATION

  1. Features of the Russian basis of articulation and phonological system: articulation of consonants and vowel formation, the main sound oppositions (voiced/unvoiced, hard/soft, etc.).
  2. Features of Russian word construction: qualitative and quantitative vowel reduction, the principles and placement of stress in Russian.
  3. The system of Russian intonation and the intonational and semantic structure of the Russian dialog.

GRAMMAR

Goals: Mastery of grammar skills of everyday interaction.

Content: FOUNDATIONAL GRAMMAR FOR CONVERSATION

  1. Gender categories of nouns as subjects.
  2. Case system of nouns for different communicative purposes: location, direction, time, etc.
  3. Verbal aspect system for expressing the time, result or process of an action.
  4. Verbs of motion.

CONVERSATIONAL PRACTICE

Goals: Ensuring correct and rapid responses in basic academic and life situations; rehearsing a collection of stereotyped interaction patterns for typical academic and life situations; rehearsing stereotyped interaction patterns with the goal of expressing communicative needs such as informing, inquiring, negotiating, discussing, proposing, and motivating.

Content: CULTURAL AND COMMUNICATIVE ADAPTATION

A course organized into 7-10 topics that reflect the spheres of everyday, academic, and cultural communication.

Proposed topics: Introductions, telling about youself; Education, work;

  • Hotels, student residences;
  • Social gatherings, conversations, entertaining guests;
  • At the store, in a cafe;
  • Free time, movies, theater, music;
  • Hometowns, capital citie
  • Health; Weather.

Linguistic material: Basic vocabulary (1,000-1,500 words), idioms and phrases, typical syntactic constructions and speech patterns.

Cultural material: Information about national traditions, cultural and conversational etiquette in typical situations, adapted literary texts, songs.

The basic level program consists of approximately 370-430 academic hours. To achieve elementary proficiency starting with no prior knowledge of Russian requires 120-150 academic hours. To progress from elementary proficiency to basic proficiency requires 250-280 academic hours. Successful completion of the course will make it possible to meet the basic needs of everyday communication and to pass the TORFL Basic Level.

Russian as a Foreign Language: Intermediate Level

(from basic proficiency to Level 1 TORFL certification)

Course goal: to enable students to participate actively in real-life conversations and higher education at Russian institutions, and to expand their cultural knowledge about Russia.

The program encompasses phonetics, grammar, and conversational practice. The scope and content of the course may vary based on the students’ proficiency levels and professional & academic interests.

PHONETICS

Goals: Correction of pronunciation through a conscious approach, work on mechanisms of spontaneous, connected speech.

Content: CONVENTIONS OF SPEECH

  1. Models of Russian pronunciation and speech conventions.
  2. Stressed and unstressed sounds; correction of vowel pronunciation.
  3. Identification and correction of deviations in consonant pronunciation.
  4. Variability of sounds in connected speech.
  5. The rhythmic structure of speech; work on speech tempo.
  6. The intonational structure of speech.
  7. Semantic and stylistic functions of intonation.

GRAMMAR

Goals: Practice and review of difficult points of Russian grammar.

Content: GRAMMAR IN THE LINGUISTIC, TEXTUAL, AND COMMUNICATIVE CONTEXTS

  1. Morphology, word formation.
  2. The function of verb prefixes and suffixes.
  3. Formation and use of verbal forms.
  4. Verbal aspect.
  5. Verbs of motion.
  6. Syntax, types of sentences.
  7. Active and passive voice.
  8. Expressing conditionality, causation, consequentiality, etc., in complex sentences.

CONVERSATIONAL PRACTICE

Goals: Expansion, systematization, and activation of vocabulary, practicing mechanisms of spontaneous speech, developing reading and writing skills through work with texts containing information about Russian life.

Content: ACADEMIC TOPICS

Thematic course made up of 7-10 themes, including information about Russian behavior and

etiquette in a broad cultural context.

Proposed topics: 

  • Biography, family, interests;
  • Professions and associated expressions;
  • Education systems in Russia and in one’s home country;
  • Studying foreign languages at the Russian Language Center;
  • Lifestyle, social interactions, traditions, holidays; 
  • Free time: art, sports, travel, entertainment;
  • Russian cities as centers of culture and tourism, problems in cities;
  • Russia and one’s home country (geography, economics, history);
  • Famous artistic and cultural figures.

Linguistic and cultural material: Literary texts with varying degrees of adaptation, mass media materials, news reports about the cultural life of Russia. Conversational practice for intermediate-level students is typically combined with the courses Analyzing Literary Texts and The Language of Mass Media.

For students starting with basic proficiency and wishing to achieve Level 1 TORFL certification, the intermediate-level program will consist of approximately 350-450 academic hours. Successful completion of the course enables students to meet everyday, cultural, academic, and professional communication needs.

Level 1 TORFL certification is required for enrollment in Russian institutions of higher education.

Russian as a Foreign Language: Advanced Level

(from Level 1 to Levels 2 and 3 of TORFL certification)

Course goal: improving Russian proficiency to the level of fluency, understanding and producing stylistically differentiated speech and writing.

The program includes phonetics, grammar, and conversational practice. The scope and content of the course may vary based on the students’ proficiency levels and professional& academic interests.

PHONETICS

Goals: Developing an understanding of causes of and means for overcoming a foreign accent, expanding knowledge of the phonetic foundations, pronunciaton conventions, and stylistic repertoire of the Russian language.

Content: THE CULTURAL AND EXPRESSIVE ASPECTS OF RUSSIAN PRONUNCIATION

  1. Analysis of mistakes in Russian speech among students, incorporating information about differences between the phonetic systems of Russian and their native language(s).
  2. Work on the cohesion and fluency of pronunciation.
  3. The rhythmic structure of Russian words, phrases, and texts.
  4. The relationship between the meaning and intonational structure of speech.
  5. Russian stylistic devices.
  6. The main features of oral stylistics: academic, journalistic, conversational, and literary styles.
  7. Practicing expressive and artistic recitations of Russian poetry and prose.

GRAMMAR

Goals: Improving grammatical and stylistic proficiency, producing writing texts.

Content: ACADEMIC DISCOURSE: WRITTEN LANGUAGE

  1. Syntax of simple and complex sentences; grammatical devices for expressing space, time, conditions, and causes; synonymy of syntactic structures.
  2. Usage of participles, adverbial participles, and participial and adverbial participial phrases; verbal aspect; pronouns and conjunctions.
  3. The relationship between grammar and vocabulary.
  4. The syntax and stylistics of academic texts.
  5. Functional and stylistic differentiations of the Russian language: conversational style, official/business style, journalistic style, literary language, and academic style.

CONVERSATIONAL PRACTICE

Goals: Gaining understanding of written and spoken Russian in all of its complex shades of meaning and subtexts; developing skills in the structuring and explication of texts;summarizing and annotating texts of different genres and styles.

Content: RUSSIAN LANGUAGE IN A CONTEXT OF CULTURE AND DIFFERENT SUBJECTS

Lexical themes incorporating a variety of illustrative area studies subtopics.

Proposed topic: Individuals and their personal lives;

  • Individuals and society;
  • Individuals and politics;
  • Youth problems;
  • Art and science;
  • Spiritual life;
  • Traveling in Russia;
  • Happenings and cultural life in Moscow.

Linguistic and cultural material:In addition to a variety of textbooks (information and reference, nonfiction, art), the course uses audio materials and films, and the students attend theatrical performances and visit museums.

It is recommended that the advanced-level program’s foundational RFL aspects be combined with specialized courses such as Russian Literature, The Language of Art, and Russia and the World.

For students starting with Level 1 TORFL certification, the advanced-level program will consist of 1,100 academic hours (two semesters). Achieving Level 2 TORFL certification requires 720 academic hours (380 for overall proficiency and 340 for professionally-oriented proficiency).

Achieving Level 3 TORFL certification requires a minimum of 280 academic hours (including 160 hours focused on professionally-oriented proficiency).

Successful completion of the advanced-level course results in a high level of proficiency, enabling students to engage fluently in a wide range of cultural, academic, and professional spheres of communication. 




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