Fall 2017 will bring another foreign language option to the course catalogue for Colorado Mesa University students: Beginning Russian.  

The class will be taught by new professor Oxana Allen and will take place Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-1:50 p.m. in Houston Hall. As almost every major requires two consecutive classes in a foreign language, Russian will be a new option from which students can choose.

Despite the current focus on languages such as Spanish or Chinese, Allen explained in an email interview that Russian is a beneficial language to learn as well.  

Though Allen acknowledged that learning any language is advantageous, both for a career and the development of the brain, she pointed out a few advantages to Russian.  In the fields of science, linguistics, politics, foreign relations, international studies or criminal justice Russian may be helpful.  

Allen advised students considering a career that deals with natural gas or energy to consider learning the language as well because many energy companies are located in Russia. Home of the world’s largest natural gas reserve.

Allen’s teaching strategies for this class will revolve around practice, repetition and interactive learning.

“The best way to learn a language is to practice it as much as possible without feeling the pressure of being put in the spotlight,” Allen said.  

She plans on including small group activities, such as having students work together to grasp the main ideas of what they hear in recorded conversations.  Other activities will include acting out scenes, interviewing each other and using games like “Hot Potato” and “Simon Says” to learn vocabulary words.

Allen explained that even though this course will be language-focused, there will be, “glimpses of Russian culture, mentality and literature.” Each unit in the course will have what she calls a “cultural box” to introduce Russian lifestyle to students.

The course will also include a small introduction to Russian literature, but the inclusion of texts will mainly serve as another avenue with which to practice the language. Though Allen wishes she could include some of the most famous Russian writers in her course (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin), their lengthy novels and formal diction are too complex for a beginning class.

Instead, Allen plans to include some easier poems by Russian poets, such as Pushkin and Lermontov, to “demonstrate the beauty of rhyme in Russian language.”

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Lauren Lipski
Lauren Lipski is a senior at Colorado Mesa University serving as The Criterion's managing editor for the 2017/2018 school year. She is also majoring in English literature, English writing and Hispanic studies. She also served as the managing editor of Pinyon, CMU's poetry magazine. Upon graduation in May 2018, she plans to pursue graduate studies in writing and publishing.



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