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Advanced Russian
Suggested Course Outline

NOTE: The following is a suggested course outline by SRAS. While indicative of the subject matter presented over a one-semester course, actual curriculum and the order it is delivered in will differ by location and teacher. This is especially true of custom courses which do not cover an entire semester. 


Course Objectives 

Students will explore Russian grammar and vocabulary and its use in written and spoken Russian in both formal and informal settings and literary and technical styles.  Students improve the language competence they have learned in beginning and intermediate classes by reading literary texts, listening to songs, watching videos, and discussing them and other subjects exclusively in Russian.  By the end of the course, students are expected to be comfortable with social interaction with native Russians in everyday life and to embark in subject-area studies in Russian. Students should be able to participate readily in conversations with native speakers of Russian, to write complex Russian, and to competently read complex Russian texts.

The courses will be conducted in small groups. Every student will be expected to play an active part in class discussions.


Time Allocation 

The following flexible allocation of time is generally used:

35% - Conversational speech 
30% - Russian grammar
15% - Phonetics 
20% - Vocabulary building  


Course Subjects

The format of the course will center on more complex aspects of Russian syntax and stylistics. Vocabulary development emphasizes verbs and verb government as essential to effective communication with the main focus on the analysis of words into their meaningful parts in order to give a key to efficient vocabulary learning and retention. One of the aims of the course is to ensure a sound grammatical and structural understanding of the principles of contemporary written Russian: to increase vocabulary; to develop strategies in comprehension and vocabulary acquisition; to build confidence in the use of written Russian. A wide variety of contemporary Russian-language materials is used, which may include films and Russian television programs, recent journalism, and fiction.

Subjects to Cover 

  • Development and improvement of communicative speech skills.
  • Improving of lexical and grammar phrase formation.
  • Profound study of Russian word formation and phraseology.
  • Expanding vocabulary.
  • Studying Russian stylistics.
  • Accumulation of the cultural country knowledge with the aim of understanding social background.
  • Reading and comprehension fiction texts of Russian classical and contemporary literature.
  • Reading Russian periodicals.

Advanced Grammar Topics

  • Subject
    • Nomination of a subject.
    • Syntactic structures that express a subject in conversational and bookish styles.
    • How to express:
      • objective characteristic of a subject.
      • quantitative and qualitative characteristics of a subject; study of the structures that include the verbs состоять/заключаться, рассматривать, расценивать and some others.
      • color characteristics of a subject.
      • size characteristics of a subject.
      • characteristics of a subject according to its form and material.
      • characteristics of a person; describing one’s abilities, character and manners.
  • Predicate
    • Nomination of a predicate.
    • Auxiliary verbs in Russian language.
    • The form of an adjective in predicates with auxiliary verbs.
    • The form of an adjective with the auxiliary verb быть.
    • Full meaning verbs functioning as links.
    • How to express:
      • The change of quantity, quality, action and state;
      • The change of a characteristic’s intensity;
      • Temperature changes;
      • Cause-and-effect relation in Russian sentences;
      • Main and complementary actions;
      • Characteristics of actions in simple and complex sentences.
  • Object
    • How to compare objects and express their similarities and differences; 
    • Semantic differences between тот же; такой же, как; так же, как;
    • Words indicating similarity: похож, подобен, сходен, напоминает;
    • Compatibility of words within phrases;
    • Complex sentences with comparative clause;
    • "Bookish" style;
    • How to express:
      • comparative differences in quantity;
      • superlative degrees.
  • Active and passive mode
    • Passive mode in impersonal sentences.
    • Comparing binomial passive and active turns of speech.
    • "Doers" in passive mode in indirect sentences
  • Modal Semantics
    • The usage of modal words with a different semantic.
    • Speakers attitude to the content of an utterance: studying modal words and modal particles.
    • The usage of verb aspects in structures that express obligation and possibility.
    • How to express:
      • modal meanings of necessity, possibility and desirability;
      • the necessity of an action or a characteristic;
      • expressing the necessity of a subject or an event;
      • possibility/impossibility of an action;
      • permission/prohibition of an action;
      • an impulse to starting an action: advice, request, demand;
      • advice, request, demand by means of a word-combination “verb+ noun”;
      • an impulse to starting an action by means of an infinitive form;
      • wish, intention, aspiration.


The texts are taken from the newspapers, magazines, books and other authentic sources. At the end of the course the students should be able to read authentic informative or narrative texts, to understand the plot and the details, conclusions made by the author.


Students will practice writing in formal and informal styles. Students are highly encouraged to keep a personal journal, written in Russian, of their experiences in Russia.  

Listening and Speaking 

Special attention is be paid to the listening and speaking. Students should be able to quickly and correctly react to basic study and life situations. By the end of the course the student should be able to understand and participate in short and long dialogues in most subjects and express and argue opinions. Russian is the only language to be used by both students and instructor during all sessions of listening and speaking.

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