Brigham Young University and McGraw-Hill Inc. have developed an innovative language program to help people gain a comprehensive understanding of the Russian language.
"We have been working on this project for seven years," said Russian professor and BYU Faculty Center director Donald Jarvis. "Our Russian language course aims to increase the students' ability to communicate effectively. It goes beyond memorizing vocabulary."Jarvis and his colleagues have developed a Russian language package that includes two textbooks, student workbooks, audio tapes and an annotated textbook for the instructor. Other learning aids include a vocabulary tutorial disk and a 70-minute introductory video filmed in Russia.
"Almost every major publishing house was interested in our program," said Jarvis.
The course also strengthens a student's understanding of cultural differences. Jarvis believes that without cultural training, the language alone will not help the student feel comfortable in social situations.
"In Russia, for example, you can only say `How are you?' to a person once a day. If you say it a second time, you are considered insensitive. We want the students to avoid these types of cultural blunders."
The new language program is used at BYU, Utah Valley State College, Ohio State University and Purdue.