Introducing the Cyrillic Alphabet

Wizard Russian’s Alphabet Lesson

 

Congratulations! You have decided to learn the Russian language, and you already deserve a pat on the back. Russian is a very rewarding language to learn. Neatly folded in the confines of a family of Slavic languages which also include, Czech, Ukrainian, Polish, Bulgarian and several other languages found in Eastern Europe.

 

However, unlike Polish and Slovenian and a fair few others, Russian uses the Cyrillic Alphabet which is different than the Roman Alphabet you are familiar with in English and Western European languages. So, for this first step in learning Russian, allow me to introduce you to the 33 letters that make up the Russian language.

 

Want to sing the alphabet song in Russian? Here are the letters in alphabetical order…

Аа, Бб, Вв, Гг, Дд, Ее, Ёё, Жж, Зз, Ии, Йй, Кк, Лл, Мм, Нн, Оо, Пп, Рр, Сс, Тт, Уу, Фф, Хх, Цц, Чч, Шш, Щщ, Ъъ (hard sign), Ыы, Ьь (soft sign), Ээ, Юю, & Яя.

 

Русский Алфавит

 

Hard Vowels

А – A as in sofA

Э – E as in Echo

Ы – Y-glide makes a sound similar to the word we

О – O in cOld

У – OO in tOOl

 

Soft Vowels

Я – YA

Е – YE as in YEt

И – EE as in lEEk

Ё – YO as in YO– yo

Ю – YU/U as in YOU or Union

 

Consonants

Б – B as in Bank

В – V as in Vote

Г – hard G as in Goat (never, ever pronounced as jee)

Д – D as in Dog

Ж – ZH as in meaSure

З – Z as in Zap

Й – OY as in boY

К – K as in Kayak

Л – L as in Lamp

М – M as in Mat

Н – N as in Nap

П – P as in Puppy

Р – R as in Rat

С – S as in Sun

Т – T as in Tea

Ф – F as in Family

Х – KH as in loCH or German’s iCH (This is a very hard H sound)

Ц – TS as in caTS

Ч – CH as in CHurch

Ш – SH as in SHeep

Щ – SHCH as in freSH CHeese

Ъ – hard sign – not pronounced

Ь – soft sign – not pronounced

 

Pronunciation Guide:  

  • A consonant is hard unless it is followed by a soft vowel (refer to the list above and memorize the soft vowels). A soft Н (N) is pronounced like the N in the word oNion.
  • Only pronounce an O sound if it is stressed. When it is in an unstressed syllable pronounce it like the A in the word sofA. I will mark stress on new words as we learn them, by capitalizing it in the pronunciation brackets – like this; Группа {GrUppa} – Group
  • Consonants become voiceless at the end of words, or before voiced consonants. Memorize these; Б –> П, В –> Ф, Г –> К, Д –> Т, Ж –> Ш, & З –> С.
  • The soft vowel Ё (ё) is ALWAYS stressed but in writing, Russians rarely add the two dots over ё. Also, in dictionaries the words that begin with this letter are listed under the letter Е (е). Best advice I can give you is to memorize these words and spellings as we come across them, or as you do in your own studies.   

Obligatory New Year’s Post…

So, we’ve put 2016 behind us, and are now looking forward into 2017. For me, this has been a trying and absolutely horrifying transition. I’m normally fairly optimistic with the new year that’s coming in, so I’ll try to get back on that horse for this post.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen where 2017 is going to bring about an overhaul of this blog. If you don’t follow me, I won’t hold that against you. But also now you know.

Here’s what I’m going to do…

I’ve been going utterly loco trying to keep several blogs up and going for a while now. I write the Critic Croc Review Blog. I write The Polyglot’s Guide to the Universe Blog. I write the Madam Money Blog. I also write the Wizard Russian Blog. That’s a LOT of blogs. When you include this one, that’s five. As a ‘side effect’ there are times when each and every one of these blogs have been neglected. I’ve been a terrible Blog Mama. And, I aim to clear that up. After all, no one wants to be a bad mother.

So…

Starting this month – Every Monday there will be a new post on this blog. Those posts will vary between the five that I have, so in an essence, I am funneling all of these blogs through this one. I hope to eventually be able to separate them again, but unless the FDA allows human cloning soon that may take a while. It’s hard work being an entrepreneur and trying to balance all the other things too. I already work like a fiend. That being said, here’s the breakdown of each of the blogs listed above…

1.) Critic Croc Reviews

– Be wary because here, I’ve been labeled a scathing critic. I give HONEST, no frills, sometimes acid-tipped tongued reviews of products, apps, books, films, and everything in between. I do NOT sugar coat things. If I don’t like it, I’ll tell you I don’t like it and why. If I do like it, I’ll tell you that and why. There is a reason I named this CROC. Sometimes, I bite.

– If you have something you’d like me to review (your book, your app, your software, your product or anything in between) feel free to contact me via TWITTER or EMAIL. Click the links…

2.)  Madam Money

– This blog is devoted to personal finance and shopping savvy. I help you understand your money better, and try to help you live a happier financial life.

– I’ve been a single mom for the entire length of my kids’ lives. (One’s 18 now and the other’s 16.) I’ve spent copious amounts of time working in retail, saving money, and trying to make ends meet – I know a bit about personal money management. I’ve raised my kids on less than a $1000/month or less for a big part of that time.

3.)  Wizard Russian

– This blog was intended to teach others the Russian language, the culture, and even the food. As so many of the Russian learning texts and apps on the market today teach archaic Russian from the distant past years of the Soviet Union. Hate to tell you this, but the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 90’s and the language and culture of the Russian Federation has evolved with it. More should be done to update all the Russian language learning ‘help’ that’s out there. But it’s not. Sure, you’ll find books, ‘new’ books even, that boast updated information, but take a look at the copyright dates – and you’ll find a huge percentage of them hail originally from the 1950’s. Dudes, even America has changed since the 50’s. I am happy to note though, it seems like a few learning paths are starting to recognize this. ( A tad bit of my Critic Croc is showing here.)

4.)  Polyglot’s Guide to the Universe

– This blog is my curious and wondering blog. I speak seven languages, and have been exposed to a great number of world cultures throughout my life, starting from my childhood. I think I look at the world differently because of it.

– I spend a ton of time on multiculturalism and acceptance of people with different points of view and backgrounds on this blog.

5.)  This blog

– This blog will remain the same. I’ll still have all the writing helps, tips, and tricks.

– I’ll still have all of the #AdPit and #KidPit information here. If this interests you, you may want to note that the next #AdPit and #KidPit joint pitchfest will take place on April 5, 2017. I’ll be changing things up a bit this round to try and help your completed manuscripts gain as much exposure as possible. That being said, the new rules will be up sometime in early February, as I’m still finalizing the details.

I hope that by spreading my wings you’ll decide to stay with me. I just like to think that I have a voice, and can possibly help the planet with it.

Thanks for reading,

~ Heidi

THE CHEMIST – Stephenie Meyer

I just finished reading THE CHEMIST by Stephenie Meyer, and I wanted to share my thoughts…

No worries, if you haven’t read it – there will be no spoilers from me!

Do I recommend this title: YES!!

Is it worth the read: YES!!

Now, my thoughts:

I wasn’t a fan of TWILIGHT (I’m not much of a vampire person), but I did love THE HOST. So when I stumbled over THE CHEMIST, I didn’t hesitate to buy. It didn’t disappoint.

The flow was excellent with nearly constant and exciting plot twists. The book starts out with a thrilling bang and the bangs keep coming. Alex, the main character, goes through a full positive character arc, and she is a joy to read and experience her trials and tribulations with her.

I loved THE CHEMIST, and the screenwriter in me would love to get my hands on this to turn it into a screenplay.  I could actually see this novel coming to life into a film from the pages of the book.

 

My TNT Horror Contest Entry

Not many of you may realize that this, but I write stories. (HAHAHAHA!!!!) Yeah right! Every single one of you knew it.

I recently entered a short story into a contest being hosted by TNT Network. Yes, that TNT Network, the one that has wonderful TV shows like …

Animal Kingdom, The Last Ship, The Librarians, and Major Crimes

Their contest asked for an original short horror story, but I had to keep it under 10,000 words. They asked that I make them too scared to turn their lights off at night. And, apparently I did, because I recently found out that my story, LISA CANNON, was named one of the Top 100! When I first found out I was too shocked to breathe. It’s true!

The catch is that I need votes to continue on into the Top 35. Hopefully I can then progress into the Top 10, where I will receive $2,000 and TNT Network will option my story for a Network TV show. Then, from the Top 10, the Network will choose one lucky grand prize winner that wins $20,000 and their story will be made into a show. It’s an amazing opportunity, and I am so happy that I made the Top 100.

Now, the part I hate doing, but that I need to do.

I’m writing to ask you for your vote. It’s easy to do. All you have to do is follow this link:

LISA CANNON

Then click to open the story. Read it if you like, and click the star icon in the top right corner.

And, that’s it! You’re done! I appreciate each and every vote, as it only takes one to push me from 36 to 35.

You can stick around and read all 100 entries, and vote on as many as you like. I’d like to thank you in advance for your vote. And remember, the voting ends December 6th at 11:59 GMT, so you need to vote before the cut off date and time.

I hope you enjoy LISA CANNON!

Wattpad And A New Venture…

I’ve avoided it for years. I really have. The very idea – terrifying.

But a couple of days ago, I did it. I pulled up my big girl panties. Then, I did it.

I’ve started a Wattpad account.

Now, what to do with it? That’s what I kept asking myself, and then it clicked.

I’ve had a certain story on the shelf for a LONGGGG TIME…. There was always something just not quite right about it, and I couldn’t figure it out. I had alpha readers, and then beta readers read it, and they didn’t know really what it was either.

Then, the other day (in the shower of course. That is, after all, one of the best thinking of idea spots in the house preceded, I think, only by the toilet.) I figured it out. So I fixed that long put away story – Then, I didn’t know what to do with it.

Most of you know me more as a children’s writer I think, but the fact is – I also write for adults. And this story, is for the adult audience. Though it isn’t graphic, not at all so really probably young adult readers would be okay with it as well.

Secondly, I tend to lean to the far darker recesses in my writing (Yes, that’s possible even though you write for kids) or to Science Fiction and/or Fantasy. Again, this story is none of those things either. It’s a simple suspense/mystery with a bit of a romantic subplot.

So, that meant querying it was out (at least to me. I’m not ready to spread myself so thin). Then, that thing I’d been avoiding kept swimming round an’ round in my noggin. I couldn’t shake it. Then after many arguments with myself, I decided it was the perfect answer to two things. So, I did it.

I decided to serialize my adult suspense on Wattpad!

YEP! I’m officially a Wattpad author now. Only the first chapter is up so far, but I hope to get a couple of chapters up a week. I’m shooting for Tuesdays and Thursdays to be my post days.

Right now though, I’m lonely over there and so’s Deanna and her story. So, if you’re interested in reading MURDER AT SUNSET… just click the title there and it’ll take you to my Wattpad page.

Just wanted to share with you, but now – I have a YA horror to revise. This one will be queried, unless of course one of the other books I’m querying lands me an agent before I’m finished with this one… *fingers crossed*

Problems with Translation Competency Tests…

…As I see them.

Okay, some of you may know that I am a polyglot, and as a result, I find myself being an occasional translator. Mostly, I deal with Russian (Русский), Dutch (Nederland), and English. Now, I am a member of some freelance translation sites and I love it. However, sometimes translation agencies from abroad find me.

These agencies send me requests to join their teams as a translator, be it RUS/ENG or NDL/ENG. Which is fine! I love getting these requests because it allows me access to even more jobs and that’s more people I get to meet and help in whatever small or large way that I can.

Sometimes though these agencies require, what’s known as, a competency exam. In other words, it’s a small translation that they want you to do (for free mind you) so they can judge whether or not you are qualified to work in your language pair.

I have two problems with these types of exams…

1.) I’m not getting paid. That $0.08/word or $27.00/hour is money that I need. You wouldn’t ask a plumber to put in a new faucet for free to see if they are able to re-plumb your house, now would you? No. Of course not. And to be honest, most plumbers would be like, ‘Sorry crazy lady…I’ve got other you know PAYING jobs to get to.’

Yeah, these translation exams take (most of the time) an hour away from you, when that’s an hour that you could be working on a paying assignment for a super good client that you love.

2.) What are the chances that these competency exams are really translations that the agency is getting paid for, but they don’t have a ready translator to do the job? I hate to be that way, but people, I’ve seen it happen and I’ve heard through translation discussion boards’ grapevines that it’s happened to other people. I’ll go back to the plumber I mentioned before – he wants HIS money for the JOB HE DID. And since, they passed it off as a competency exam – who gets to keep that money the client paid for? Bet you can figure that one out.

I want to clarify that in the instances I’ve had to deal with this type stuff in number 2 – further research on my part has revealed that the said ‘agency’ wasn’t a credible agency. Most likely they were/are scamming everyone involved.

Sadly, the tricky part is – how do you tell? Usually you can tell by the competency exam itself, but by that time, you’ve already been suckered into it.

You know, actually, I have 3 things…

3.) When you do find a credible agency that requires a competency exam – why in the name of all things holy do they not give you exam texts that are in your area of specialization?

Yep, translators are like most other professions – we specialize. For me those specializations are LITERATURE and TOURISM. But, everyone is different. If the industry is there – you can specialize in it as a translator; medical, legal, marketing, finance, insurance, real estate, and etc…

So, I just gave you my specializations, and now – drum roll please – the last competency exam I took was in engineering and tech. Now, some words are entirely interchangeable, but the problems arise when choosing the best word to use to substitute for the target language from the source language. Some words it’s easy, because they’re cognates or so similar to basic English words there are no problems – but then, they start talking about motherboards and giving you acronyms for things you’ve never heard of before IN YOUR NATIVE TONGUE, much less the source language. That slows your translation WAYYYYY DDDOOWWWNNNNN. And remember the majority of these competency exams are timed. Essentially, you have an hour or so to teach yourself vocabulary in both the source language, and then your native language too. Not easy to do…and it’s positively not fast.

That being said, it’s like they set you up for failure on the exam. Not as a translator. You ARE NOT A FAILURE AS A TRANSLATOR IF YOU FAIL SOME COMPETENCY EXAM! I think most translators, if they are being completely honest, will admit that they have failed a competency exam at some point in their careers. I have.

That engineering and tech one I mentioned. I bombed it. I didn’t get finished by the time limit. They didn’t mark anything inaccurate or wrong on the parts I did get finished, they failed me simply because I didn’t get finished. Well, if they’d given me 500 words in tourism or literature, I’d’ve been done with time to spare, but with the samples they sent me not being in my area of expertise…nope!

So, what did I do? I accepted a job from somewhere else translating a children’s picture book. You just keep going.

These three reasons are why I do not support the use of competency exams. I might be persuaded to change my tune about it if agencies made a few changes in their exams. For instance, they could either disregard the time limit or give you say 24 hours if they insist on testing you on some topic that’s not within your specialization. Or, they could give you an exam within the spectrum of your specialization. There many different ways they could go about them. If only they would…

 

A Good News post

In a world where there is so much bad thrown in our face everyday, it’s hard to stay motivated to follow our dreams whatever they are.

I’m just as bad as the next person – and so, I’m preaching to myself with this blog post too.

I’ve been writing professionally for neigh-on to a-huntin’ forty-five years (no, not really – it’s only been 10), or so it feels. Rejection after rejection, coupled with utter rudeness and horrid actions of some people in the publishing industry (yeah, it’s true – not everyone in the world of publishing has your best interests in mind. There are loads of good people though out there, and thankfully they outnumber the bad.), and then multiplied by life hurling curve ball after curve ball at me – beats down one’s motivation, badly. In fact, I’d almost given up.

I mean dudes, I’ve shelved nearly a dozen books (picture books through adult) over the course of my ten year career as a professional writer.

Then Friday happened. Yep, Friday, August 5th, 2016.

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS PART!!!

I have written a Russian/English bilingual picture book (well really, it’s meant to be a series – I’ve got three books done already sans illustrations), and on Friday I learned that it had been accepted for publication by a Russian book publisher. The Moscow-based publisher has put my beautiful (yeah, I’m biased) picture book in the hands of an illustrator. I don’t have definitive information to share yet, since the illustrator just has got hands on it, but things are happening. My book will be published! It will! It will be a physical book that people can touch and buy!

Some people may say but it’s Russia, not America or the UK or Canada… so to those people I say this –

Every writer travels a different path. No one will get to be a famous, published author overnight. It just flat doesn’t happen. You can dream big and you should, but don’t put all of your eggs in one basket – because your basket may have a hole in it.

Interestingly enough last week was full of goodness for me, because I’ve also managed to connect with two other fellow writers and we have super, sneaky, peaky plans up our sleeves for our fellow writers. But, I’ll say no more – *tapes mouth shut*.

Also, I learned that thing I’d been dreading (I’ve not told anyone anything about it before) is nothing to dread.

Perseverance is a beautiful thing. There really is some truth in the old adage, ‘keep shoving until it falls over’. So here’s a note to all of you struggling to keep the faith with your writing right now…

Every writer travels a different path, and of those writers on a certain path they still have many obstacles to get around, over, or through. Even those whose books are already on the shelves – they didn’t get to be on the shelves overnight. Most likely, they’ve been plowing through their own obstacles for years before they finally reached their destination.