The current study examines aspects of the Russian language that are particularly challenging for English-speaking students. It focuses on the complexity of Russian's grammatical morphology, specifically Russian case endings. In this study, methods and theories from the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) are reviewed to support a study aide designed by the author to help students with the acquisition of Russian case endings. The proposed study aide consists of 24 sentences composed of high-frequency Russian words. The 24 sentences contain all regular (approximately 75) Russian case endings. The purpose of the model sentences is to teach case forms using a concrete language referent that can be manipulated during spontaneous speech. The proposed method was tested at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah to verify its validity in a formal classroom setting. Two sets of missionaries learning Russian were tested on their acquisition of Russian case forms over a period of three weeks. The control group, consisting of 34 missionaries, was tested first. This group was given the Russian case paradigm chart traditionally used at the MTC as a study aide for learning Russian case endings. The test group, consisting of 22 missionaries, was tested second. This group was given the model sentences in place of the traditional paradigm chart as a study aide for learning Russian case endings. The test-group missionaries were asked to memorize the model sentences. Each group was given a pretest on their knowledge of case forms on their first formal day of instruction. Three weeks later, they took a posttest. Missionaries from the test group were also given a quiz to test their knowledge of the model sentences. Gain scores for the two groups were analyzed statistically using a Two-way ANOVA (analysis of variance), finding the treatment for the control group (the paradigm chart) to be 0.2323 not significant, and the treatment for the test group (the model sentences) to be .0001 highly significant. This study suggests that by using model sentences as a companion to traditional case paradigms, a greater amount of case endings can be learned and retained in a shorter period of time.
College and Department
Humanities; Center for Language Studies
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Jensen, Sara Lyn, "Learning Russian Case Endings Through Model Sentences" (2007). All Theses and Dissertations. 1171.
Russian, case endings, inflection