The story so far

Posted: 18/05/2012 in Uncategorized

Nearly 3 weeks ago we started with the Super Challenge… I had hoped I would have already finished my first book by now… well, I’ve not. I did read 101 pages out of the 227 the book has, so I wasn’t completely wasting my time, and I did listen to the first 3 chapters of the corresponding audio book (total 3 hours of listening)

At the end of the month, I’ve got some Russian exams. So until my exams are done, I won’t really be doing much with Belarusian at all for the simple reason that it starts to interfere with my Russian. I’ve noticed a sharp incline of spelling errors in my Russian writing, and we can’t have that with exams coming up.

Last week I got my copy of Factory of Tears, a bilingual Belarusian-English poetry collection. Although I’m not a fan of poetry, it’s pretty much the only way to get a hard-copy of Belarusian books (the translation is a great bonus, though). And on another note, after my exams I’ll be going to Belarus to get my hands on some books (maybe movies, but I doubt that). And before you all thing “Oh, immersion”, forget it. The main language spoken there is Russian, and it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to speak Belarusian within 2-3 weeks… Better stick to Russian then.


The Big Day

Posted: 01/05/2012 in Uncategorized

So today is the first of May… The start of the Super Challenge.

So we begin. I realize I need a decent planning on how to actually read. As I’ve hardly any knowledge about Belarusian (except spelling rules), it might prove a challenge.Fortunately for me, I know Russian, which enables me to read (and understand) a lot. Although it sounds like it’ll be easy, it’s not. A lot of words are unfamiliar (fortunately the grammar isn’t). Rather then that it confuses me at times. So I definitely need a planning. At first I thought I would be doing just carefree reading, however I noticed that some pieces of text can be very difficult to grasp.

Because of that I’ve decided to change my planning a bit. I’ll continue to read without caring about individual words, but if a paragraph is confusing (or interesting to get the details) I’ll look up unfamiliar words to understand the text. Maybe I should set a rule that when I encounter a word 5-10 times, I’ll look it up, regardless of the context? That’ll become my strategy for my ‘literary’ reading…

Last week I found some interesting schoolbooks for Belarusian children. They are for literature and they contain a lot of small stories with some questions (all in Belarusian), so I’ll be using those books to enhance my vocabulary. So I’ll combine the carefree reading strategy with looking up every unknown word.

Earlier I mentioned a lack of movies in Belarusian, which still is a problem. However, I got my hands on some audiobooks, interestingly enough for 2 books which are currently laying on my bookshelf. There my strategy will be pretty simple, listen and read… So first I’ll listen and read a chapter of a book (counting as listening) and after that I’ll read the chapter again (counting as reading) paying more attention to the story and details of the language.

So let’s begin the first chapter of Дзікае паляванне караля стаха


8 days remaining for the start of the super challenge. Finding b0oks in Belarusian isn’t that difficult at all, or so it seems. A lot of famous Soviet Belarusian writers published in Belarusian first, before it got translated into Russian. Unfortunately, some books I want to read are only available in Russian (or at least on the internet). Ah well, I’ve got 14 books so far, that’ll be enough for quite awhile, or at least until I’ve the chance to go to Belarus and get the books I want. Spoken materials, unlike the books, are very hard to find. Films in the Belarusian language are a rarity. I’ve only found a handful, and some clips on youtube.

While registering my participation in the challenge and seeing many participants doing more then one language, I’ve made the decision to add Persian to the mix as well. But rather then watching 100 movies in Persian or reading a 100 books, it’ll be a semi-challenge. I’ll be doing half of that amount. Fortunately Persian has a lot more audio materials available then Belarusian. So far I’ve the entire collection of Paulo Coelho in Persian (freely available)

When I was working on my lessons yesterday, it hit me that all of this challenge is based on passive abilities. Although some of the participants will talk to natives to practice their skills, I’ve decided to write 1,000 pages in Belarusian (and 500 in Persian) to practice my active abilities for both languages.

I wish everyone participating in the challenge good luck and I hope to see you all at the finish line!

So finally I’ve started a blog. The reason for that is that over at the HTLAL forums a great challenge has been presented by Christina; the so-called “Super challenge”. Basically it involves reading 100 books and watching 100 movies in the language you’re currently studying between the first of May and the end of December 2013. As I’m studying multiple languages at the moment, I’ve to decided to enter with the one I most recently started studying: Belarusian.

Why Belarusian? To be honest, I’ve not really got a clue, but I like the sound of it and it’s Russia’s little brother. The resources for this beautiful language are rather scarce, and I could only find 4 on the internet. Part of this challenge is to read 100 books, and I’m confident I can get a long way with that, as I already know Russian many words I’ll be able to recognise. The 100 movies, however, will be another challenge altogether. Wish me luck with even finding 100 movies in Belarusian.

My first book will be “Дзікае палявенне караля Стаха” (The Wild Hunt of King Stach) by Uładzimir Karatkievič. After that I’ll hopefully find some good books on