Monday, June 4, 2007

First day @ Pitt

Today was my first day of Ukrainian classes at the University of Pittsburgh.

The entire Summer Language Institute met as a group this morning. What an eclectic and interesting mix of people! All ages are represented - there are even retired people in the program - but the majority of students seemed to be at the graduate level. So far, the people I've met are wonderful.

After lunch, we separated into our "target language" classes. There are a grand total of 3 students in beginning Ukrainian, including me. Our professor seems great - she really wants to cater the course to our personal needs and learning styles. She taught Russian and Ukrainian as foreign languages in Ukraine for many years, and now she teaches at SUNY Albany.

Today, we listened to Ukrainian music, met three of our "other classmates" (finger puppets with Ukrainian names), went over the syllabus, and learned part of the Ukrainian alphabet:



I am having the most trouble with the vowel that looks like a backwards N (second row, sixth column). There is no English equivalent. In order to pronounce it, you have to jut out your lower jaw, squeeze your upper and lower palettes together, and say "yuuuuuuuu."

This language will be a challenge to learn, but I think it will be fun.

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