Intermediate High/Advanced Low Tatyana’s Letter to Onegin

 

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In Russia, reading or reciting poetry is a part of family gatherings, social events, school activities, television programs, and national holidays.

Reading Russian poetry aloud is an exciting language learning experience. Also, reading poetry can instigate acquisition of new words, mastering their literal meanings and their potential meanings. Reciting and memorizing poetry may help to acquire some knowledge about rhymes, meters, syllables, word stress and intonation pattern of the sentences.

Moreover, Russian public discourse is periodically shaped by referencing, quoting, and alluding to classical poetry; and public speakers are gleaned from poets and writers of the Russian classics.

Watch the video clip and listen to a professional actress read one of the most moving poetry lines in Russian literature - Tatyana's impulsive love letter to Onegin. It can be found in book III of Alexander Pushkin's novel "Eugene Onegin". It is a good idea to find the Pushkin’s novel in translation as it is important to understand what the excerpt expresses the first time it is read.

This clip can be used at every level of proficiency, however the level of grammatical and pholonological knowledge of students should be taken into account to provide an effective focused listening activity. Listen to it once as a piece of music and pay attention to the actress' sense of drama, the expressive intonation, and rhythm. Without intonation, it is impossible to understand the expressions and thoughts that go with words.

One of the pre-listening activities is to figure out the missing words or endings that are key for studying the sentence sturcutres and syntactic functions of the words. One important point is to use blanks sparingly.

This clip lends itself well to linking and blending activities since vocabulary is introduced in related clusters. Quite often non-native speakers is trying to enunciate each and every word in a sentence, whereas in spoken Russian words are blended, sometimes new sounds are created; and learning to correctly link words can result in significantly more fluid and fluent sounding Russian speech.

Pay attention to the linking that usually occurs between a consonant and a vowel, like in не оставите меня, but it can also occur between two vowels, e.g. я имела. On the other hand, blending occurs between two consecutive occurrences of the same consonant, for example в вашей.

Post-listening assignmentcan be the follwoing: recite and memorize the excerpt.

You can recite poems as you are doing something else; but consider looking up unfamiliar words and repeat them a few times aloud.