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CULP: General Language Courses - Russian

Why Study Russian?

General Information

The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world: it spans nine time zones and covers about 1/8th of the world's land surface. Russia has a population of almost 150 million people, which constitutes slightly more than 50% of the population of the former Soviet Union. There are around 270 million Russian speakers in the world.

Russian became one of the languages of world communication – or a global language – as early as in the early twentieth century. Today, there are less than ten global languages in the world. This means that the Russian language – just like English, French or German – is used for communication by a very large number of people around the globe. In addition, Russian is one of the official UN languages.

Out of approximately 300 million people in the world who know Russian, 160 million people consider it to be their native language. The Russian language is ranked the fifth most prevalent language in the world.

Science and Technology

According to a recent study, the number of publications in the sciences is highest for English, with Russian second. This is the case for chemistry, mathematics, physics, geology, mathematics and biological sciences. Russia always has had a rich tradition in the sciences, from Mendeleev to recent Fields medalists in mathematics and numerous Nobel Prize winners. The Soviet tradition of creating scientific towns and scholarly communities is giving way to a system of entrepreneurship backed by state agencies and private-sector start-ups. Innovations in computer programming, software engineering, and information technology are coming out of Russian government agencies and private firms.

Economy

Russia is one of the largest producers, if not the largest producer, of numerous natural resources and raw materials including oil, gas, petroleum, diamonds, gold, copper, manganese, uranium, silver, graphite and platinum. Russia is the second largest steel producer in the world after Japan, and has an enormous timber reserve. It is the world's largest producer of natural gas, third largest producer of oil and fourth largest in terms of the mining of coal. Russia has an estimated 40% of the world total reserves of natural gas. Russia's proven oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia's, and it is the top oil producer in the world. Russia is an enormous market for goods and services. With Russian language skills, you can work with international businesses participating in this successful market. And Russia ranks among the top ten countries in the world for entrepreneurship.

World Player

Russia is a member of G8 and G20 and has associations with the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, such as a Customs Union (Kazakhstan and Belarus) and collective security treaty organization. Key Russian politicians are proposing a "Eurasian Union" embracing these states, strategically encompassing the economic and security spheres. This prospectively boosts Russian economic and foreign policy, as well as its military influence in the region. Russia also defends its traditional influences in the non-aligned and developing world and continues to prioritize the modernization of defense. NASA depends on the Russian Space Agency to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. Finally, Russia's resource-based economy has emerged from the global crisis relatively unscathed. Energy industry analysts suggest that up to 50% of Europe's natural gas could be controlled by Russia by 2030.

Culture

Russia is home to some of the world's finest traditions in the arts. Literature, music, ballet, opera, theatre, cinema and visual arts are only a few of the areas in which Russians have established great traditions and continue to produce remarkable innovators. From Lev Tolstoy to Joseph Brodsky, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov to George Balanchine and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Sergei Eisenstein to Andrei Tarkovsky, Anton Chekhov to Boris Pasternak, Fyodor Dostoevsky to Ivan Bunin, Shostakovich to Khvorostovsky, Bolshoy and Mariinsky Ballet companies, and so on. Russia produces great arts and has more Nobel Prize winners in literature, music and arts than any other country in the world.

Future Career/Research Opportunities

Russian combines well with many other disciplines: science and Russian, political science or history and Russian, English and Russian, another foreign language and Russian, engineering and Russian, mathematics and Russian, physics and Russian, business and Russian, economics and Russian, music and Russian. Knowing Russian provides you with excellent career opportunities and looks great on CV. For instance, a biology student studying Russian can get a scholarship to study fresh water ecology in Lake Baikal and Lake Tahoe, and then go on to medical school. Knowing Russian strongly reinforces career opportunities in non-academic world as well. The areas where Russian language skills are currently particularly in demand are Banking and finance, Law, Oil and gas industries, Accountancy, Publishing, Advertising, Journalism, Foreign Office and Not-Profit Agencies.

... And Finally

According to the latest statistics (2012), over 500,000 Russians now live in London and the South East. There is a long established scientific and academic Russian community in Cambridge. The number of Russian undergraduate, postgraduates and post-doctoral research students in Cambridge University has been growing steadily in the last decade.


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR A1

Prerequisites

For absolute beginners (ab initio learners) or for those with very little knowledge of the language.

Educational Aims

At the Basic 1 level the main aims are:

    • To develop a basic understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features;
    • To establish the learner as a fairly confident language user in a range of predictable every-day situations;
    • To introduce students to the cultural background of Russia within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Understand basic instructions or take part in a basic factual conversation on a predictable topic.
Reading Understand a set of basic notices, instructions or information.
Writing Write letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

How to say hello, present oneself, to tell your origin, age and ask people relevant questions to get same information - to converse about work/study as well as family and languages spoken - to be able to describe a dwelling, give/ask for address, ask/explain who people live with... - to talk about preferences, interests, sport, hobbies, weekend activities - to place orders at the bar, talk about likes, dislikes, ask people what they want to drink... - to make a restaurant booking, read the menu, ask about the dishes, place order, talk about food, ask for the bill and ask for info re the bill... - to talk about your work/study, the timetable and to talk about your professional past - to ask for directions, understand indications, traffic signs, call a taxi, explain where to go... - to be able to read texts in a historical context, understand issues about Russian history, talk about the past in general and tell stories - to buy food and clothing items, inquire about prices, size, quantity and get other relevant information - to understand information relevant to travel, holiday and stay in hotel - to talk about health and fitness, describe ailments, understand instructions and discuss them.

Specification produced: 2012. Last reviewed: 2012

Syllabus:

Russian Basic

Sample Past Paper:  

Listening Comprehension | Reading Comprehension


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR A2

Prerequisites: CULP Basic 1 / CEFR A1

Educational Aims

At the Basic 2 level the main aims are:

    • To establish the learner as a confident language user in a range of predictable everyday situations;
    • To further develop the understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features of the language;
    • To enhance students understanding of historical and cultural background of the Russian speaking world;

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.
Reading Understand routine information and articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area.
Writing Write brief letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.

Topics

The Course introduces students to the following functions and notions:

    • To be able to describe one's study/work routine, free time and weekends;
    • To be able to talk about hobbies and interests;
    • To be able to describe one's work experience including previous studies/jobs;
    • To be able to discuss lifestyles, cooking and food;
    • To be able to talk about the past and compare it with the present, tell about historic events;
    • To be able to comment on one's plans and wishes, and to analyse what one would do in a variety of hypothetical situations.

Specification produced: 2014. Last reviewed: September 2014


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Qualifications framework level: CEFR B1

Prerequisites: CEFR A2

Educational Aims

At the Intermediate 1 level the main aims are:

    • To build on a basic understanding and an appreciation of the salient linguistic features;
    • To establish the learner as a confident language user in a range of predictable everyday situations;
    • To equip the learner with the skills and knowledge to deal with straightforward job applications and interviews;
    • To increase students' knowledge of the cultural background of Russia within the context of language teaching.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Express opinions on abstract/cultural matters in a limited way or offer advice within a known area, and understand instructions or public announcements.
Reading Understand routine information and articles, and the general meaning of non-routine information within a familiar area.
Writing Write letters or make notes on familiar or predictable matters.

Topics

The Course will include:

    • To be able to introduce oneself, giving information about one's age, origin and where one lives;
    • To be able to describe one's routine, free time and weekends;
    • To be able to describe one's work experience including studies/jobs, and writing a mini CV;
    • To be able to describe what one used to do before the current work/study situation, one's current responsibilities, and to produce a CV for an interview;
    • To be able to identify a suitable job from a website, apply for it and attend a job interview;
    • To be able to talk about one's health, request medication and understand instructions given by a doctor or pharmacist;
    • To be able to discuss life styles and fitness routines;
    • To be able to recount an accident in general and to follow the diagnosis and treatment;
    • To be able to recount an incident in detail, describing the setting and elaborate what could have happened in another circumstance;
    • To be able to analyse how life used to be in the past and compare it with the present, recounting historic events;
    • To be able to comment on one's plans and wishes, and to analyse what one would do in a variety of hypothetical situations.

Specification produced: 2012. Last reviewed: 2012

Syllabus:

Russian Intermediate 1


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This course will not be offered during Michaelmas.

Qualifications framework level: CEFR B2 / FHEQ 4 / CEFR C1

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully completed the Intermediate 2 and Advanced course in the Language Centre, or have acquired a proficiency equivalent to B2 in Russian.

Educational Aims

These weekly sessions will allow those who are interested in maintaining and improving their Russian to do so by watching and discussing a number of both classic Soviet and contemporary Russian films.

We will discuss the films' main themes, characters and conflicts in the context of historical and cultural developments, while our main focus will be firmly on improving your language skills.

Specification produced: 2017. Last reviewed: March 2017

Qualifications framework level: FHEQ 4 / CEFR C1

Prerequisites

Students who have successfully completed the Intermediate 2 course in the Language Centre, or have acquired a proficiency equivalent to CEFR B2 in Russian.

Educational Aims

At the Advanced Russian Level the main aims of the Course are:

    • To develop the language skills needed to understand and express complex ideas and opinions in real-time oral/aural situations and to improve the presentation skills in the target language;
    • To deepen the knowledge and enhance the appreciation of the cultures of the countries where the language is spoken, as well as of the varieties of the spoken language;
    • To equip learners with the necessary knowledge and skills as well as to establish them as successful and independent lifelong language learners.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the Course students will be able to:

Listening/Speaking Contribute effectively to meetings and seminars within own area of work or keep up a conversation with a good degree of fluency, coping with abstract expressions.
Reading Read quickly enough to cope with an academic course, read the media for information or understand non-standard correspondence.
Writing Prepare/draft professional correspondence, take reasonably accurate notes in meetings or write an essay demonstrating the ability to communicate.
As well as to...
  • Communicate fluently whilst maintaining a high degree of grammatical accuracy;
  • Apply their language skills effectively in a broad variety of contexts including academic ones;
  • Use relevant language registers and acquire an understanding of the main aspects of the historical, political, economical, cultural and linguistic situation of the countries where the language is spoken;
  • Understand audio/visual items from the media;
  • Conduct research in the target language;
  • Speak in public and deliver presentations in the target language.

Specification produced: 2015. Last reviewed: August 2015

Syllabus:

Russian Advanced

The Advanced courses run by the Language Centre lead to an official, award-bearing University qualification called the CULP Award, which is issued by the University of Cambridge, and which corresponds to C1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Advanced is the only level, which leads to a CULP Award. The Language Centre issues Certificates of Proficiency for all the other levels.

Advanced Assessment Framework

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This course will not be offered during Michaelmas.

Russian Through Film, History and Culture

Prerequisites

A content-based language course for students who already have a good command of the Russian Language (at least B1 and preferably B2).

The course is based around classic Russian films that are readily available from the John Trim Centre for Independent Learning at the Language Centre.

Course Outline

Russian Through Film, History and Culture will begin with a general introduction to the Russian language with special reference to film-related terminology.

Every film will be introduced by a session (2 lessons) devoted to its linguistic features and a range of relevant listening, reading and subsequently communicative exercises. After the viewing of the film (students will do this in their own time at the John Trim Center for Independent Learning at the Language Centre) there will be a session devoted to the artistic (director, actors, style of expression etc.) context followed by a further discussion about the film's aesthetic, wider cultural, historical and political implications. All teaching and discussions will be in the Russian language and students will be expected to actively participate and contribute.

The following films will be used in this course:

    • Жестокий романс
    • Неоконченная пьеса для механического пианино
    • Цирк
    • Утомлённые солнцем
    • Зеркало
    • Восток-Запад

This course features no assessment component and upon completion (attendance required is at least 12/15 sessions) students will be awarded a Certificate of attendance issued by the Language Centre.

Specification produced: 2013. Last reviewed: August 2013

Syllabus:

Russian Through Film, History and Culture


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Standard - Michaelmas-Lent 2017/18

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Basic 1 15:00 - 17:00
[Mich. MML R207
Lent MML R327]
12:00 - 14:00
[MML R207]
 
Basic 2     16:00 - 18:00
[MML R207]
Inter 1 17:00 - 19:00
[MML R207]
   
Inter 2     18:00 - 20:00
[MML R207]
Adv   17:00 - 19:00
[MML R219]
 
Adv Plus 19:00 - 21:00
[MML R207]
   

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23jun

Study with CULP and become fluent!

Our very own student (Milo Edwards, Alumni 2015, read Classics @ Peterhouse.) of CULP Russian (Basic 1 & I1) has moved to Moscow to become a stand-up comedian.... in Russian!