Archive for the ‘learn english’ Tag

The easiest way to turn $20 into $1500 or more!

I recently wrote about “What’s the best $20 investment?” and in that article I outlined a concept for participating in a new project that would very likely provide an excellent return on your investment of 20 dollars.

When you invest in stocks, etc then you are essentially a ‘passive investor’. You’re not able to participate much in the growth of the businesses.

Quite obviously, those who are ‘active’ in developing successful new businesses will reap much higher rewards than ‘passive’ investors.

An earlier post of mine suggested “A Better Alternative to GDI.” which outlined a multi-level payment structure for those who actively promote the business. This scenario involved a $10 per month membership fee which is the same as with GDI and the same as the cost of our memberships for people learning Indonesian or Russian.

Taking all these elements a step further, I think we now have the final piece to the puzzle. For a simple $20 investment, people can now join a website which will provide them with exactly what they need to learn English (or improve their English). They can remain ‘active learners’ and ‘passive investors’ if they wish, and they will eventually still get a very nice return on their $20. That’s what I described in detail in “What’s the best $20 investment?”.

But I’ve always insisted that I don’t want to be busy with marketing and advertising. I want members, who love the product, to tell others, and I’m more than happy to allocate a marketing budget to be paid to them. Thus, the solution.

By applying a similar multi-level payment structure for those who pay a one time membership fee of $20, anyone who introduces 5 new members, who then also introduce 5 new members, etc, will soon earn $1,585. That’s a heck of a return with almost no effort.

10% $2.00 x 5 $10.00
5% $1.00 x 5 $25.00
2% $0.40 x 5 $50.00
2% $0.40 x 5 $250.00
2% $0.40 x 5 $1,250.00
21% $1,585.00

Regardless of whether you believe it’s really likely to happen or not, the absolute downside is just $20. If this is a complete scam, you will have only lost $20. If I deliver on my promise, you will earn thousands of dollars.

And the growth will never stop. Why should it? We are committed to developing the best language learning material available anywhere. Members can also become employees; working as teachers, translators, programmers,  etc.

And as the membership grows travel agents, hotels, resorts, airlines, bars, restaurants, etc will all want to promote their products to our members and that income will all be paid back to the members.

Businesses and others spend a LOT of money on language training, and our members, as ‘owners’ will share in those profits.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. Let’s simply start getting people to take that first simple step of investing $20 to join our vision of the future.


Get Paid 20 Dollars to Learn a Language

It sometimes takes an incredibly long time to really nail down an idea into a complete and clear concept that can be put into action.

My ideas for teaching English (and other languages) online have really developed a lot recently, and many of the ‘missing pieces’ have been found. Until now, I’ve been waiting for a group of people to ‘kick-start’ the project by investing $20 each.

Yesterday (June 26, 2013), the final ‘missing pieces’ clicked into place. I finally came up with an idea and concept that allows me to begin promoting it on my own. To heck with waiting for others.

As with so many things in life, the answer has been there all along, and I essentially ‘knew it’, but for some reason I hadn’t ‘connected the dots’ to make it a complete concept.

I had already trimmed it down from $10 per month, to a simple $20, one time payment. As I told a group of people practicing their English at a Language Exchange Club meeting recently, there’s no point in me teaching English and getting paid $40 an hour. Why not get people to pay $20 each and teach a million or more people?

That helped them realize that $20 wasn’t actually incredibly cheap for them to learn English. They have each already spent hundreds of dollars to learn English with very poor results, yet to get them to commit to a ‘very cheap’ $20 investment is still not easy.

Now, I’m going to offer “Get paid $20 to learn English“. If I can’t get people to sign up with that offer, then the whole idea is completely dead with no future.

Here’s the concept.

I will offer 3 options for joining our website for learning English and other languages. All members will share in the income from AdSense, new memberships, etc, so for sure they will make a profit on their ‘investment’, in addition to gaining access to top quality language learning material.

Even though they will get ongoing income year after year, there still needs to be a way to get them to take that first step.

Option 1:

Pay $20, join, get full access and receive ‘member rewards’ (basically like a dividend; a share in the profits).

Option 2:

Click on my affiliate web-hosting link, and get a website of your choice for 2 years FREE. I switched to iPage this year and they have a promotion now for $1.99 per month with a free domain. Thus, a 2 year hosting plan currently costs $48. The affiliate payment is $105, so I will pay the person back their $48 and sign them up as a member to our language site for free, since they have effectively paid $20, and in fact paid me $57. We will then also help them get their website going and earning money, so that in 2 years time they will re-new the hosting. If not, that’s okay also. That’s the risk that iPage and other hosting companies are taking.

Option 3: 

Do the same as Option 2, only I’ll take the new domain and hosting (with a domain name of my choice), I’ll pay back their $48 plus give them an extra $20 and sign them up as a member to our language site for free, since they have again effectively paid $20, and in fact paid me $37.

It’s extremely simple, and the only requirement is a credit card to make the payment through. Many Ukrainians and Indonesians don’t have a credit card, so this will be a limitation, but it’s easy enough for them to get a card, so it’s not a big problem.

The website hosting / affiliate aspect is something I’ve known for years and used a few times before with PowWeb. I was never able to make money as an affiliate because I wasn’t promoting it and nobody ever clicked and bought from the links on my webpages.

Now, I can use it to help motivate people to take action, join our program and begin making money online while learning a new language or improving their English.

Such a concept should be appealing to anyone, anywhere, and in fact everyone, everywhere!!

Human nature is such that taking the first step can be difficult, but this makes it incredibly easy. It’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks. 🙂

For those of you that have begun following my blog and clicking on the ‘Like’ button, you’re also most welcome to sign up and get either a free website or $20 cash.

For more information on our concepts you can read previous blog posts: What’s the best $20 investment? and A Better Alternative to GDI

To read more about our language learning project you can start here: ExpressWay Languages – A truly new approach to language learning

All the best, Brian

Learn Russian and English – Word focus: know

I recently asked a Russian friend to help me with a ‘simple’ question, and his reply left me with even more questions.  It’s fairly basic Russian, but again, understanding the idea being expressed can often be difficult.

Here’s the simple dialogue I was trying to write:

Кто это? (Who’s this?)

Это Брад Питт. (That’s Brad Pitt.)

Кто он? (Who’s he?)

Кто он? Ты не знаешь Брад Питт? (Who’s he? You don’t know Brad Pitt?)

Ты не знаешь…… (You don’t know who Brad Pitt is?)

I didn’t know how to write the second sentence, and I later realized I’d made a mistake in the first sentence.  In English, the idea is essentially the same.  He replied as follows:

По-русски эту фразу можно сказать по-разному:
In Russian this phrase is possible to tell differently:  (It’s possible to say this phrase in several ways.)

Вариант 1. Ты знаешь Брэда Питта? Кто он такой?
Вариант 2. Ты знал Брэда Питта? Кто он был такой?
Вариант 3. Ты не знаешь, кто такой Брэд Питт?

В первом варианте есть предположение, что этот Брэд Питт может быть
личным знакомым собеседника в настоящем времени.
Так нельзя спрашивать, если заранее известно, что это исключено.

Во втором варианте есть предположение, что этот Брэд Питт мог быть
личным знакомым собеседника в прошлом. (Так обычно спрашивают о людях,
которые уже умерли.)
Так нельзя спрашивать, если заранее известно, что это исключено.

В третьем варианте вы зотите узнать, что известно Вашему собеседнику о
человеке по имени Брэд Питт. Это наиболее универсальный вариант. Он
подойдет для любого случая.

Google translates this as:

In Russian this phrase can be said in different ways:

Option 1. You know Brad Pitt? Who is he?
Option 2. Did you know Brad Pitt? Who was that?
Option 3. You do not know who this Brad Pitt?

The first option is the assumption that this could be Brad Pitt acquaintances of the interlocutor in the present tense. That’s not asking if it is known that it is excluded.

The second option is the assumption that this Brad Pitt could be acquaintances of the interlocutor in the past. (This is usually asked about people who have already died.) That’s not asking if it is known that it is excluded.

In the third variant zotite you know that you know the person on a man named Brad Pitt. This is the most versatile option. He suitable for any occasion.

Here’s how I would translate each variant, and I don’t think any other them is the one I was looking for.

Вариант 1. Ты знаешь Брэда Питта? Кто он такой?  Do you know Brad Pitt? Who is he? (and you have no idea who he is)
Вариант 2. Ты знал Брэда Питта? Кто он был такой?  Did you know Brad Pitt? Who was he? (and now ‘know’ means ‘knew personally’ and he’s dead)
Вариант 3. Ты не знаешь, кто такой Брэд Питт?  Do you know who (this) Brad Pitt is? (and you’re rather perplexed)

Now, Brad Pitt is a famous person, so the question is one of surprise because the other person has never heard of him.

Here’s a sampling of phrases from various movies with ‘know who’.  There were quite a few from the movie, The Bourne Identity.

I wanna know who saved my life. Я хотел бы знать, кто спас мою жизнь.
Mary, I wanna know who I am now. Мэри, я хочу знать, кто я такой.
Do you know who that little wife will be? И знаешь, кто будет моею женой?
It’s okay.  I know who you’re talking about. Да нормально всё.  Я слышу о чём вы тут говорите.
{Bourne} Do you know who I am? Вы знаете, кто я?
I do not know who I am. Я не знаю, кто я.
Tell me who I am. Скажите, кто я?
If you know who I am… please stop messing around……and tell me. Если Bы знаете, кто я – прошу Bас, .. не юлите, скажите мне.
I don’t know who you saw last week. Я не знаю, кто с Вами беседовал.
I don’t know who I am. I don’t know where I’m going. None of it. Я не знаю – кто я? Что меня ждёт? Куда ехать? Hичего.
What, like, like, amnesia? Что это – амнезия?
I don’t know who this guy was! Не знаю, кто на нас напал, ..
I don’t even know who I’m hiding from. Вот я скрываюсь от кого?
I don’t wanna know who I am anymore. Больше не хочу знать, кто я такой.
You’d know who was sick at the time.. who wasn’t. Вы знаете, у кого бывают расстройства, а у кого – нет.
You know who I think really did it? Знаете, кто, по-моему, виноват?
Now you know who to call first. Теперь ты знаешь кому первому звонить.
Do you know who I am? Ты знаешь, кто я?
I won’t sign it, and he won’t know who sent it. Я не подпишу её и он не узнает, кто её отправил.
You know who he is, don’t you? Вы знаете, кто он, не так ли?
Starling!  Starling, we know who he is, and where he is. Старлинг!  Мы знаем, кто он, и где находится!
I wanna know who saved my life. Я хотел бы знать, кто спас мою жизнь.
Mary, I wanna know who I am now. Мэри, я хочу знать, кто я такой.

Lots of great examples, and do we now know how to say:  You don’t know who Brad Pitt is?

I think it’s perhaps the 3rd variant actually, which can be translated in 2 different ways, or used in place of at least 2 distinct English ideas.  Ты не знаешь, кто Брэд Питт?  And does the meaning change when you add такой?

Interesting how many examples you can get from movies, eh?  I’ll be doing more of these, so come around often. 🙂  Пока!!

A Driver for Vera (Водитель для Веры) – Part 2/11

If you haven’t watched part 1, best to go there first: A Driver for Vera – Review and Discussion

Now, let’s continue our chat, focusing on part 2.

When Victor sees her pull a mickey out of her purse and take a drink, he’s clearly upset, maybe disappointed, maybe feels some sympathy for her, but probably nothing more than seeing a nice looking girl pull out a cigarette and start smoking, and you don’t like girls who smoke.

She very quickly establishes her character as a ‘bitch’, which he brushes off easily and casually. He’s far too easy going and content and happy to let much of anything bother him.  When she tells him, “Closer.”, he neatly pulls up to within an inch of the wheelbarrow, showing that he’s a good driver and confident in his abilities and perhaps a bit cocky.

Tough to stay exactly what he thinks and feels when he sees her walk to the house.  In the KinoKultura review he says: “All the more striking is the expression of surprise and disgust that appears on his face at the sight of Vera’s physical disability.  A crippling childhood illness has left Vera severely lame, able to walk only with great difficulty.  For young Viktor, and one might suspect for Pavel Chukhrai, beauty and its opposite are not simply surface attributes of the physical world.  They go to the core of human existence and inform our attitudes towards politics and morality, or, in this case, towards Russia and the contemporary course of Russian cinema.

I don’t think it was so much ‘disgust’ as surprise, along with a little “oh, gross”. It’s a natural reaction for everyone if they see something physically surprising and unattractive. Most people then get over the initial shock/surprise and then look past that to see the real person. I think most people, or at least I like to think most people look past physical appearances and see things as they really are.  Appearances are unfortunately very important in all societies.

Lida is still fully in her role of being the flirt. If you don’t believe it’s realistic, then you haven’t travelled to Ukraine, Indonesia, Hong Kong and other places.  It’s totally realistic.

Sure, Victor is then eavesdropping, but only because he was given a lamp to fix and he moves into the light to see what he’s doing.  He then leaves because he clearly feels uncomfortable listening in on their conversation.

The characters of Vera and the General, and their relationship with each other, then gets developed nicely. He clearly cares for his daughter, and you guess that he’s a single parent doing the best he can. He’s very traditional in his values and morals, naturally, but you sense that he’s fair and caring.  She’s the rebellious, angry daughter.

She then goes to her room feeling all the range of emotions that any girl would feel in her situation, and unplanned pregnancy is an all too common problem. Of course she’s not going to stab herself with the scissors, but she wants to, as most would, and many do go for the ‘back alley abortions’.

From Victor’s expression as they’re about to leave, you can clearly see the concern and interest he feels. He’s already seeing past the ‘bad things’, understanding where they’re coming from. His interest in her is renewed. He liked her from the moment he saw her, hit a little bump in the road, and is now back to his original feelings, and more.

In the car, chatting with the General, Victor replies that he plans to go to the Army Academy for top officers. That’s been his plan and ambition since long before he met the General and was transferred to work for him. Thus any future claims that he uses the situation for his own personal gain, aspiring to be an officer, are pretty hard to substantiate.   And he’s totally relaxed, cheerful and confident about everything. He’s certain that with time and hard work everything will work out.

You quickly get a feeling for who that bad guy is going to be when the General’s assistant asks Victor to report on everything that happens; what they say and do; including the General.  He’s not keen to do it, but he’s in no position to refuse.

In the scene with Vera and Lida, you get a quick sense that there’s already plenty of animosity between the two. Lida undoubtedly wishes she could be the daughter and not the maid.  She wants the finer things in life, naturally.

In the car, Victor is cheerful as always. No signs yet that he’s anything but a nice guy. And I never did find any signs to contradict that viewpoint. So for everyone who thinks otherwise, I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

For more material to help you learn Russian (and learn English for Russian speakers) come visit our website: Learn Russian

A Driver for Vera (Водитель для Веры) – Watch Video and Discuss – Review

A Driver for Vera  (Водитель для Веры) is a great Russian movie that’s thoroughly enjoyable to watch. The great scenery of the Crimea is beautiful, and along with nice music and an enjoyable story it’s a film that can be watched and enjoyed many times over.  Enjoy it now, with Russian and English subtitles. It’s a great film to help you learn Russian.

I came across 2 other reviews, which really made me want to add my 2 cents, and by creating a post here, everyone else can add their opinions and comments also.  I’m also using it to learn Russian, so with this and other posts with the other parts of the video, I’ll be asking questions and I hope some of you can help me out.  I’ll also make comments and corrections of the English subtitles to help those of you learning English.  Sound good?

If you want to read the other reviews, you can see them here at KinoKultura and Russia Blog.

The film opens in Moscow, 1962, on a sunny summer day.  A young army sergeant is getting photos taken with his car, which is clearly his pride and joy.  You soon discover, if you didn’t realize immediately, that it’s not his own car, he’s simply a driver, but he treats it with all the attention of a young man with his first new car.  You also immediately get the feeling for his enthusiasm and optimism about life, and his complete enjoyment with simple things.  It’s a very refreshing outlook to have.

His name is Victor, and by coincidence he is chosen to be transferred to work for a General in the Crimea.  The one review (KinoKultura) then says: “Yet it quickly turns out that his primary function is to be the servant, supervisor, spy, and potential suitor of the General’s headstrong and prickly daughter, Vera.

Now I completely disagree with that.  As you can see in this part of the film, he was chosen completely by coincidence.  It was a spur of the moment choice while the General was looking for a reason for coming to Moscow.  How can there be a ‘premeditated’ or ‘ulterior’ motive for something that was entirely a spontaneous and simple decision?

He gets ‘recruited’ by the villain, the General’s ‘right hand man’ who’s actually working for the KGB.  Victor doesn’t feel comfortable with his request but since he’s new and of low rank, he agrees to write down everything he sees and hears.  There’s a pretty big difference between that and actually spying on someone.

There was also no intent for him to become a “potential suitor” of the General’s daughter, Vera.  He was simply being employed as a driver and when he picks her up and sees her for the first time, yeah, he thinks she’s very attractive, but so would most guys.  Nothing more, nothing less.  And he certainly never got any sudden ideas that she could be his ticket to a better life.

I had a great discussion with some friends in Ukraine regarding the main character, Victor, whether he was ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (opportunist, social climber, etc).  I absolutely insist he’s a good guy throughout, but feel free to argue against me.

Also in the KinoKultura review: “The most serious critiques of the film have focused upon the degree to which the film’s characters lack in psychological verisimilitude.  Viktor seems too innocent, too upright, and too morally pure.  Savel’ev is too evil and Lida too outrageously sexual.

I’m a native English speaker and I had to look up the word ‘verisimilitude’. (verisimilar : probable, realistic)  Hey, it’s a movie! I thought the characters were pretty realistic except for the villain, who wasn’t so much “too evil” as a bit corny.  By western standards Lida was certainly “too outrageously sexual”, but if you visit Ukraine, you’ll see many such beautiful, confident women who aren’t shy.

I loved the scene when they meet and she checks him out and he does the same to her.  Totally real and honest.  It doesn’t happen in the west, sure. Men (usually) try to be discreet and women don’t want men to look (but do they really?), and western women look also but they’re really good at not getting caught.

It’s definitely not ‘love at first sight’ between them but there’s naturally a physical attraction.  When he sees Vera for the first time, there is a spark for him.  Hey, every guy has particular tastes in women, and Vera caught Victor’s eye, not Lida.

In the car, driving Vera home, you get another glimpse into Victor’s character.  He’s almost too good to be true with his high standards and morals, but I believe there are lots of guys like that, and I certainly identify with him.

I’ll continue this on my next post with the second part of the video.  Now let’s have a look at some of the expressions.

For more material to help you learn Russian (and learn English for Russian speakers) come visit our website: Learn Russian

A Driver for Very (Водитель для Веры)

Changeling – Great movie and Learn English and Russian

Hi, just finished watching the movie, Changeling, with Angelina Jolie.  Great movie! And an amazing story. Pretty frightening the corruption that has and does exist.  And it emphasizes the need for individuals to have the courage and the strength to fight against it.

Here’s a look at the trailer and then I want to chat about many of the simple phrases I picked up from the Russian subtitles.

The entire first scene is fairly manageable for a beginner to intermediate learner.

Walter, honey. Уолтер, дорогой.
Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Just 10 more minutes. Ну еще 10 минуточек.
Oh, I’m sorry, sport. You can sleep in tomorrow. О.. Прости, малыш. Ты можешь отоспаться завтра.
That’s what Saturdays are for. Для этого и существуют субботы.
Up against the wall. Вставай к стене.
Come, come, come. Сюда, сюда, сюда.
All right. Хорошо.
Got it. Got it. Look, look! Вот.. Вот.. Смотри, смотри!
All right, sit down. Хорошо, садись.
Your breakfast is getting cold. Твой завтрак остывает.
It’s cereal. Это хлопья.
It’s supposed to be cold. Они должны быть холодными.

Straight away you can see why Russian speakers use the expression ‘stand up’, where we say ‘get up’.  And it gets used twice, so nice for comparison.

Movies are great for seeing how phrases are used and developing a better understanding of them.  For example:

It’s time…. = Пора…

Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Walter, it’s time to come in, honey. Уолтер, пора домой, милый.
But I think it’s time for you to move on and start over for yourself. Но я считаю, что вам пора двигаться дальше и начать жить для себя.
We should go, ma’am. Нам пора, мэм.

And movies are proof that we don’t speak English ‘properly’.

Here’s your books. Вот твои книги.

This is a very common ‘mistake’, so much so that in spoken language, I wouldn’t call it a mistake. It’s what people say, so it is the language, regardless of what the rules say.

Similarly, words at the beginning of a sentence are often dropped when speaking casually.

Well, what is he doing? Ну, что он делает?
Oh, my… Боже мо..
Everything all right? Все в порядке?

It’s ‘okay’ to drop words, or say “Where’s my keys?”, when you’re simply speaking quickly and being lazy, or ’rounding the corners’.  Of course it should be “Is everything all right?”, and it is there, sort of, in thought.

And notice that he says: what is he doing, and not “what’s he doing?”. There is a difference.  It’s a difference of emphasis and it will come naturally over time if you’re learning English (and have good examples to follow!).

A lot of the movie is way too difficult for me and other beginners, but sections of it are great, and are just a bit above my ability. With a little help with some of the vocab and having both languages side by side, I can manage to understand it all.

Hey, sport. Привет, малыш.
Hey, Mom. Привет, мам.
How was school? Как в школе?
Okay. Хорошо.
Yeah? Да?
We learned about dinosaurs. Мы проходили динозавров.
And I got in a fight with Billy Mankowski. И я подрался с Билли Манковски.
What happened? Что произошло?
He hit me. Он ударил меня.
Did you hit him back? Ты ударил его в ответ?
(he nods yes)
Good. Молодец.
Rule number one, remember? Правило номер один, помнишь?
Never start a fight, always finish it. Никогда не начинай драку, всегда заканчивай ее.
Why’d he hit you? Почему он тебя ударил?
Because I hit him. Потому что я ударил его.
You hit him first? Ты ударил его первым?
Why? Почему?
He said my dad ran off because he didn’t like me. Он сказал, что папа сбежал, потому что не любил меня.
Honey, your father never met you, so how could he not like you? Дорогой, твой отец никогда тебя не видел. Так как он может не любить тебя?
Then why did he leave? Тогда почему он ушел?
Well, because the day you were born, something else arrived in the mail. Ну, потому что в день, когда ты родился, кое-что другое прибыло по почте.
And it was in a box a little bit bigger than you. И это была коробка, чуть большая, чем ты.
You know what was in it? Знаешь, что там было?
Something called responsibility. Кое что, под названием ответственность.
And to some people, responsibility is the scariest thing in the world. А для некоторых людей ответственность – самая страшная вещь в мире.
So, he ran away because he was scared of what was in that box? Значит, он сбежал, потому что боялся того, что было в той коробке?
Uh-huh. ..
That’s just dumb. Это просто глупо.
That’s exactly what I thought. Это в точности мое мнение.

Short phone calls, and even one sided phone calls for really simple expressions, are also great for learning.

Hello? This is Margaret. Алло? Это Маргарет.
Hi, Margaret. Привет, Маргарет.
So, how are you? Ну, как у тебя дела?
Fine. Хорошо.
Listen, Jean can’t come in today and now we’re a little shorthanded. Слушай, Джин не может сегодня прийти и нам сейчас немного не хватает людей.
When did she call in sick? Когда она позвонила, что заболела?
About half hour ago. Где-то с полчаса назад.
I’m having a hard time trying to find someone. У меня возникли трудности в поиске замены.
Well, what about Myrna? Хорошо, как насчет Мирны?
I know she could use the extra hours and… Я знаю, она могла бы использовать дополнительные часы и…
She’s busy. Can’t you come? Она занята. Может ты придешь?
No. No, no, no. I just… Нет. Нет, нет, нет. Я просто…
I promised Walter that I’d take him to the movies, is all, and… Я обещала Уолтеру, что мы пойдем в кино, и…
Well, it’s just until 4:00. Ну, это только до четырех.
All right. Ладно.
Just… Just until 4:00. Но… Только до четырех.
I’ll see you then. Увидимся там.

I’ll do a more complete summary of expressions from the movie soon and put them on our website, complete with audio, so come visit us there: Learn Russian

And if you have questions or comments, please, I’ll answer the English questions and perhaps others can help with the questions about Russian.


Walter, honey. Уолтер, дорогой.
Time to wake up. Пора вставать.
Just 10 more minutes. Ну еще 10 минуточек.
Oh, I’m sorry, sport. You can sleep in tomorrow. О.. Прости, малыш. Ты можешь отоспаться завтра.
That’s what Saturdays are for. Для этого и существуют субботы.
Up against the wall. Вставай к стене.
Come, come, come. Сюда, сюда, сюда.
All right. Хорошо.
Got it. Got it. Look, look! Вот.. Вот.. Смотри, смотри!
All right, sit down. Хорошо, садись.
Your breakfast is getting cold. Твой завтрак остывает.
It’s cereal. Это хлопья.
It’s supposed to be cold. Они должны быть холодными.

English for Russian Speakers – Students and Teachers

I’ve been wondering how to start this for quite some time, and after reading an old message from a friend, it seems as good a place as any.

“I’m currently teaching English  little children. In the morning I teach at the university and in the evenings I work with 5-6-7 year olders! That’s so interesting and they are so cutie!!!!! I enjoy it so much!!!! They try to kiss  me, to hug me, to treat me with a candy and so on…. Иногда, я действительно думаю, что рождена быть учителем!
P.S. teaching is not a profession, that’s a passion”

She’s absolutely right, and what I’d really, really like to do, is to help her and others who have a passion for learning and teaching English.  I want to show you a new way to learn and teach English, or any language, and I want to help teachers become better teachers.  First, let’s correct her English. 🙂

I’m currently teaching English to little children. In the morning I teach at the university and in the evenings I work with 5-6-7 year olds! It’s so interesting and they are so cute!!!!! I enjoy it so much!!!! They try to kiss  me, and hug me, and treat me with a candy and so on….  P.S. teaching is not a profession, it’s a passion.

Hmmm… not so good when the teacher makes so many mistakes.  Of course it’s not her fault, her English is likely much better than her teachers, but perhaps there’s a way to help her and all other teachers fix their own English, so they can then teach others correctly.

And not just teachers, but parents teaching their kids, and others teaching their nieces and nephews, or younger brothers and sisters.

While helping all of you learn English, I will be learning Russian, and hopefully you will help me with that by providing corrections and such in your comments.

So from her comment:  Иногда, я действительно думаю, что рождена быть учителем!

Google translates it as:  Sometimes, I really think that is born to be a teacher!

Now, the most important point is always the idea.  What idea is being expressed? Probably she means, “Sometimes, I really think that people are born to be teachers!”  or  “Sometimes, I really think that one is born to be a teacher!

So how would I say in Russian: “Sometimes, I really think that I/she/he was born to be a teacher!”

Иногда, я действительно думаю, что он был рожден учителем!  Correct?

A ‘simple’ aspect of English which needs to be ‘internalized’ is when to use ‘that/this’ and ‘it’.  As you saw above, that mistake was made several times.  It’s very simple: this/that ‘point’ to something, something is being identified.  Once it’s known what is being discussed, then ‘it’ is used from then on.

This takes a while for kids to grasp, but you can do the following to build the foundation.  With pictures, ask the following:  What’s this?  (It’s a ….)  What colour is it?  (It’s ….)  And then change it around: What colour is this?  (It’s ….) What is it?  (It’s a ….)

Very simple, right?  For kids, it’s not so clear and obvious, but with practice and consistent and correct examples from their teacher, they will internalize the rule and never make the mistake.  For adults, it helps to clarify the concept, and then, with practice, and seeing mistakes pointed out, they’ll also be able to internalize the concept and stop making the mistake.

The word ‘to’ is a tricky word in English, since there’s no consistent rule as to when it appears after the verb.  Yet, for particular verbs, it’s totally consistent, and when you learn with the new method that we’re developing, you’ll again, never make the mistake.

….. listening to ….  Always with to.  (I’m listening to the radio.)  (I’m watching TV.)

The mistake above was a different case where the ‘to’ is connected to the noun. Again, with practice and a good method, such basic mistakes are avoided.

Often there are 2 ways of saying something, and people combine half of each.  For example:  Where are you come from?  (Откуда Вы?).  The correct way is: Where are you from? or Where do you come from?  Again, these fundamental concepts need to be internalized completely, and it’s not really that hard to do.

I work with 5-6-7 year olders.  Again, 2 choices:  I work with 5-6-7 year olds.  or  I work with 5-6-7 year old kids.

How old are you?  I’m 5.  /  I’m 5 years old.  You can’t say “I’m 5 years.”

A lot of people know the grammar but because it was never internalized, and they’re still thinking in Russian, then it often comes out wrong.

A great example of ‘Russian English’ is “I go in for sports.”  I don’t know the Russian expression that it comes from, but in English we’d simply say, “I like sports.”  And many English speakers trying to express that idea in Russian would similarly come out with an ‘English Russian’ expression. 🙂

And a final point from my friend’s message:  They are so cutie!  X    …you have to say: They are so cute.  or  They are such cuties.  Similarly, you could say to a child:  You’re so cute. / You’re such a cutie.

Movies are great for getting good little expressions that are common in real life.  The other day I was watching the video, И все-таки я люблю…, and after putting on Vera’s lipstick she says:  Вот так сделай.  The English subtitle was completely wrong:  That’s do it.

Such expressions are great because they’re very, very useful and common.  In English we’d always say:  Go like this.  ; )

So, I’ve finally gotten this started!  Hope you find it useful, and I look forward to sharing more with you.  And hearing from you!!  Please leave your comments below, and for more material, please check out or website for learning Russian, there’s lots of material there for Russian speakers learning English.

Basic Russian and English with Sasha

Here’s a voicethread of my emails with Sasha, a 13 year old girl from Ukraine. Her emails have been a great help for me learning Russian and hopefully it will help others learning Russian and English.

It’s difficult to read in this small size, so you can watch it at VoiceThread:  Basic Russian and English with Sasha

Please come back here and add your comments.  This is my first attempt and I think I should change several things. Firstly, I think I need to show the fully corrected English which I’m reading and maybe put the original English with mistakes below for students to review.

Anyway, I’d really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions and look forward to hearing the Russian from Sasha!! 🙂

For more material for learning Russian, check out of websites:  Learn Russian and