II. BASIC COURSE

1. Uses of the Cases

The presence in Russian of numerous declension patterns often proves to be a stumbling block for foreign students. However, without a thorough knowledge of these patterns and considerable practice in their use one cannot acquire good Russian speech habits. Hence the large number of exercises included in this section.

In introducing the cases and their meanings, the compilers of this manual followed the practice generally accepted in Russian tuition for foreigners. They list those cases and their meanings first which are the most vital in everyday communication. Thus students are first taught to name persons or objects; then to name places of action and objects of action.

The numerous exercises will enable the student to assimilate both case forms and the constructions in which they occur.

2. The Use of Verbs

The Russian verb is difficult for foreign students to grasp at first. This is due (1) to the peculiarities in its conjugation (which in traditional grammars are reflected in the division of verbs into different classes) and (2) to such phenomena as verbal aspects, verbs incorporating the particle -ex and verbs of motion with and without prefixes. It is these phenomena that make up the subject-matter of the numerous exercises of this section, designed to teach the student to use verbs correctly.

3. The Complex Sentence

The exercises included in this section give the student practice in the use of complex sentences containing clauses introduced by the commonest conjunctions and conjunctive words. Special attention is given to clauses introduced by the conjunctive word … and the conjunction …, since their misuse accounts for the greater part of mistakes made by foreign speakers of Russian. The section also contains exercises in replacing direct by indirect speech and sentences involving participle or verbal adverb constructions by complex sentences.

The character of the exercises given in this book is determined by two factors: (1) the specific nature of the language phenomenon concerned and (2) the need to activate the form concerned in speech. Thus, the use of cases is best practiced in question and answer exer­cises, whereas the use of verbal aspects should be practiced in exer­cises in which the student has to compare the meanings of aspect forms or to choose the appropriate aspect from among a number of forms given in the exercise. The authors of this manual strove to compile the exercises so that the student should not only memorize the language phenomena concerned but also learn to use them in speech. Exercises under the headings "Answer the questions", "What questions do the italicized words answer?", "Complete the sentences” and "Replace the sentences by synonymous (or antonymous) sentences” will enable the student not only to consolidate his knowledge of the various forms and constructions but also to activate them in speech.

Each section comprises a series of graduated exercises. The initial exercises aim at acquainting the student with the new phenomenon. Then practice exercises are given, followed in a number of cases by exercises which demand of the student that he activates the knowledge he has gleaned in the previous ones.

In the authors' opinion, the exercises will prove most effective if they are practiced not only in written form, but also orally, as for instance in the form of answers to the teacher's questions or as dialogues between the students.

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The book should be studied in a cyclic pattern and not straight through from beginning to end. This should prevent the student from learning the accusative of direction in isolation from verbs of motion, or the instrumental in isolation from the short form of passive participles; it is useful to study the accusative of the object of action in conjunction with the section devoted to verbal aspects, etc.

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Russian in Exercises is based on a limited number of the common­est Russian words, a feature which makes it possible to use it to supplement any comprehensive Russian course.

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