Advanced Seminar with Laura Janda

Title: TWIRRLL Workshop: Targeting Word forms In Research-based Russian Language Learning

Everyone with expertise in or an interest in teaching Russian is welcome to this workshop. The aim is for us to work together on how we can make learning of Russian word forms more strategic and relevant for our students.

Recent (and as yet unpublished) research shows that the vast majority of inflected forms even of high-frequency Russian words are never or extremely rarely encountered. In other words, there are only 1-3 inflected forms of any word that our students really need to learn. Furthermore, a learning simulation experiment shows that memorizing full paradigms of Russian words may not be optimal for learning: higher and more consistent accuracy can be achieved in producing inflected word forms when learning focuses on the highest frequency forms for each word (instead of the whole paradigm). The 1-3 crucial inflected forms of each lexeme are motivated by a small set of typical grammatical constructions: for example, чемпион ‘champion’ occurs most frequently in the Instrumental Singular due to its frequent appearance in the construction стать/быть чемпионом ‘become/be a champion’. In this hands-on workshop, we will review this new research and put it into practice by using the Russian National Corpus to ferret out the crucial grammatical constructions for high-frequency nouns and see how these constructions can be represented in the Learner’s Constructicon of Russian. Both the Corpus and the Constructicon are publicly available on-line resources that are easy to use.

No knowledge of linguistics is required or expected. If you have your laptop with you at the conference, please bring it. However, it is also possible to participate without a laptop. We will be working in small groups, so feel free to bring a friend.