Intermediate High/Advanced Low Tatyana’s Letter to Onegin

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

Reading Russian poetry 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 auqire knowledge about rhymes, meters, syllables, word stress and stress patterns in sentences. Above all, Russian public discourse is periodically shaped by referencing, quoting, and alluding to classical poetry, and public speakers assume the existence of audience that can glean the distinct quotations or literary reminiscences in the media.

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 complexity 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.

One of the pre-listening activities is to figure out the missing words that allow studying the sentence sturcutres and the grammatical forms 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 of words. Quite often nonnative speakers is trying to enunciate each and every word in a sentence, however natural speech occurs at a very fast pace and it is important to link or blend sounds so as not to sound choppy while speaking. 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 assignment:recite and memorize the excerpt. You can recite the poetry as you are doing something else, but always look into what it means and repeat or utter aloud.