JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Learning Russian #general

Avigdor&Laia <lbendov@...>

Sam Schleman suggests the option of learning Russian to deal with vital
records in that language, but reading old Russian script is far different
than just learning the language. I bought some self-instruction lessons in
Russian and had a private tutor, but just to get thru the phonetics of the
alphabet was several months in the doing (part time) and picking up the
vocabulary a matter of much practice. This depends of course on the learner,
but again, decifering script is not quite the same as "knowing" a language
and it is best, in my opinion, to have a native speaker who is familiar with
the shapes and configurations of penmanship. Being able to identify some
characters is a nice skill, but not very useful unless mastered. Learning a
new language is a challenge for most people and has its own value, but
unless you have lots of time to practice, I have concluded it is not
effective in dealing with older, hand written records.
Avigdor Ben-Dov
Director of Special Projects
Yad LeZehava Holocaust Research Institute