FACULTY OFMEDIEVAL AND MODERN LANGUAGESFinal Honour School HandbookRussianRUSSIANINFORMATION FOR STUDENTSWHO NORMALLY EXPECT TO BE TAKING THEFHS EXAMINATION IN TRINITY TERM 2023 (I.E. FORSTUDENTS STARTING THEIR RUSSIAN FHS COURSE INOCTOBER 2020 OR WHO ARE BEGINNERS' RUSSIANSTUDENTS TAKING THEIR YEAR ABROAD IN 2020-21)1Russian FHS Handbook, 2020-21
This handbook gives subject-specific information for yourFHS course in Russian. For general information about yourstudies and the faculty, please consult the Faculty’sUndergraduate Course mdiv:modlang).2Russian FHS Handbook, 2020-21
THE FINAL HONOUR SCHOOL IN RUSSIANTHE YEAR ABROAD IN RUSSIA – BEGINNERSUndergraduates who have taken Course B as beginners in Russian are required tospend the second year of their studies on a specially designed seven-month languagecourse in Russia. This course has been arranged for Oxford by a British charitableorganization, Russian Language Undergraduate Studies Ltd (www.rlus.co.uk), and isheld at the State University in Yaroslavl′. The aim of the course is to consolidate firstyear work and develop active competence in both written and especially spokenRussian. During the year in Yaroslavl′ undergraduates are required to read in Russiana number of texts, mostly those set for the post-A2 Preliminary Examination, to writetwo essays on this material over the course of the year, and send them for marking totheir College Tutors, who act as liaison officers with RLUS and monitorundergraduates’ progress on the year abroad.Students will not be required to pay for the compulsory seven -month languagecourse at the Yaroslavl’ State University. They will be liable to pay the yearabroad fee (currently 1,385), and will be responsible for covering all other costsrelating to the year abroad, including administration and visa fees, livingexpenses and flights.THE YEAR ABROAD IN RUSSIA – POST-A-LEVELAlmost all undergraduates who take the post-A-level course in Russian spend asubstantial period of time in the country (3-10 months) as part of the third year of theircourse. The decision about where and how to spend your third year and theconsequent practical arrangements are made individually under the guidance ofcollege tutors, who monitor the benefits of the year abroad, and can give you adviceon college-specific funding.A visit to Russia can be a challenging experience, not just because of the sometimessevere weather, but because there is plenty of red tape associated with your visit inthe way of visas, work permits, etc. In particular, please note that obtaining a visarequires you to produce ‘support’ (i.e. a formal written invitation, submitted through theMinistry of Internal Affairs), which takes at least a month to originate, and that youshould allow at least another month for the visa itself to be processed. You should becertain to start preparation for your visit well in advance. You must also familiariseyourself with the up-to-date official regulations (a starting point is the official page ofthe Russian consulate, https://www.rusemb.org.uk/consular/, which has links to theagencies now used for processing applications). Once in Russia, you will receive alanding card (migratsionnaya karta) which you must keep safely, and that you must getregistered with the authorities immediately (currently within 7 working days after arrival,though the rules do change, and you should be sure that you know what the latestones are).When in Russia, you are strongly advised to register with your country’s embassy andto sign up for FCO travel advice (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice).The Sub-Faculty holds a regular briefing meeting on a Saturday in Michaelmas Term(normally in fourth or fifth week) to provide you with an overview of different types ofstudy and work opportunity. There is, unfortunately, nothing resembling the Erasmusscheme, and assistantships are only available to those who already hold a first degreeand a TEFL qualification. However, study at a university or specialist institute,3Russian FHS Handbook, 2020-21
internships, charitable work, teaching English, as well as study on Russian-languagecourses are all possibilities. Our information flow is greatly improved by the reports ofreturning Finalists, who complete a detailed questionnaire, and some of whom attendthe meeting in order to comment on their experiences. You can, of course, also makecontact with them informally yourself.It should be said that though the Sub-Faculty will do its best to brief you on the basics,and you will also receive valuable advice from your college tutors, it is impossible forus to find you a job and accommodation and sort out visa, ticket, and insurance issues.If you do not feel up to organizing all this yourself, you may wish to take advantage ofthe courses organized by RLUS, the company that arranges the language course inYaroslavl’ for RAI second years. RLUS has many years of experience in organizingcourses; the costs of the course fees and accommodation are competitive, and all thework of visa support and travel planning will be done for you. If you do wish to makeyour own arrangements (as many undergraduates at Oxford regularly do), we wouldonce again emphasize that you need to plan, both practically and financially, inadvance. Please be aware also that Russian organizations are not at all good atreplying to emails or sending invitations etc. at the time requested. It is not unknownfor promises of work not to materialize and for essential documents not to turn up.Planning at a distance can be stressful, and it does also demand confidence in yourspoken Russian and a modicum of local knowledge. Where French, German, Spanishetc. companies may advertise internships, Russian companies prefer to recruit thosewho come with a testimony from someone they know. It would be wise to schedule avisit in advance (e.g. in the summer before your second year) to research possiblearrangements; a face-to-face meeting can make all the difference.Whether or not you decide to opt for a RLUS course, you will find their website(http://www.rlus.co.uk/) invaluable as a briefing resource. The guidance includesgenerally helpful advice about different places in Russia; you may well find that asmaller city, such as Petrozavodsk or Tver’, is less expensive and friendlier, thoughless dynamic and with fewer cultural resources, than Moscow and St Petersburg, whichcost as much to live in as Western ones (or indeed more), and which are large,crowded, hectic, and with eye-stretching traffic problems. It may also be worth bearingin mind that in some former Soviet countries (e.g. Ukraine, Kazakhstan) Russian is stillthe first language of substantial sections of the population. Costs are lower and travelformalities can be less intricate.The Sub-Faculty is very aware of the financial challenges that face you when you areorganising your trip. At present there is only one scholarship specific to Russia (theAndrew Levens Bursary), awarded annually on a competitive basis. However, you maybe able to find other funding (e.g. the Faculty’s Heath Harrison Travel awards or theGladstone Memorial Trust travel awards, though NB the latter will not pay for languagecourses) in the University. Consider also whether there are local charitableorganisations (Rotary Club etc.) or town-twinning schemes, that may be able to help(Oxford is, for instance, linked with Perm’, and you may find that your own home townhas a twin city in Russia too).The Sub-Faculty warns undergraduates embarking on the year abroad againstassuming that exposure to spoken Russian and the acquisition of conversational skillsare sufficient to produce the improvement in grammar, syntax, and vocabulary thatthey should be aiming at. This can only be achieved by combining speaking andlistening practice with a substantial amount of reading and writing during one’s time inRussia. In terms of your academic work, it is usual for your college to require you towrite at least one long essay when you are in Russia, which may form the draft of anextended essay, or allow you to explore a topic that you are covering for one of the4Russian FHS Handbook, 2020-21
analytical papers in more depth than a tutorial essay would allow; but your college tutorwill give you individual advice, and set individual assignments, as best befits thesituation and your own needs.THE FINAL HONOUR COURSEApart from the description of the course, including set texts, below, please referto the Russian FHS Examining Conventions for further detail about the preciserubrics for each paper.RUSSIAN LANGUAGEThe Honour course in Russian aims to develop a good active and passive commandof correct spoken and written Russian for non-technical purposes, with someappreciation of different stylistic registers. This is done by means of regular obligatoryclasses in translation to and from Russian, instruction in writing essays in Russian,grammar classes as needed, and classes allowing you to work through a range oforal/aural exercises.In addition, the study of literature in the original is seen as an intrinsic and essentialpart of the language-learning process, of no less importance than language classes orthe year abroad. Accordingly, familiarity with the Russian original will be tested throughthe medium of textual commentary in some examinations on literature or philology (seePapers IV-V, IX-XI).Paper I:(1) Translation into RussianClasses in translation from English into Russian, which undergraduates are requiredto attend weekly throughout the course, are organized centrally rather than in colleges.Tuition for this subject will help you to handle more complex syntactical structures,acquire a richer active vocabulary and gain a command of abstract written Russian, aswell as of narrative prose.(2) Short Essay in RussianInstruction is provided in the first year and final year of the Honour course in the formof classes, organized in small groups. Tuition in this subject is designed to enable youto address intellectual, political and cultural issues in clear, coherent, and complexRussian modelled on authentic Russian textual material.Paper II: Translation from RussianClasses in translation from Russian into English, which undergraduates are requiredto attend throughout the course, are organized by college Tutors. These classes helpyou advance your command of textual analysis and stylistics, as well as aiding you inthe comprehension of complex literary and analytical prose.Paper III: Translation from Pre-modern RussianThere are annual courses of classes in translation from pre-modern Russian in theMichaelmas and Hilary Terms for those taking Russian sole.The Oral Examination5Russian FHS Handbook, 2020-21
Classes in oral Russian are given on a weekly basis throughout the FHS course. In thefinal year, practice is given in the aural comprehension exercise for the oralexamination in the Final Honour School, and in the presentation of ‘discourses’, asrequired in Finals.The Oral Examination consists of three parts:1. Listening comprehension of a passage. Listening comprehension will be testedby questions based on the passage and not by a summary. The following willapply:(i)Each question refers to a single block of text.(ii)The questions follow the order of appearance of the relevantmaterial in the text.(iii)The inclusion of irrelevant material will be disregarded.(iv)Answers should be given in the form of complete sentences inEnglish.(v)The number in brackets following each question refers to themaximum marks each question carries.2. A short discourse. There will be a selection of three types of topic: one oncurrent affairs, e.g. politics, ethical debates, social issues; one on literature,language, music, or the arts; one on broadly intellectual or philosophicalquestions. Each topic is ca. 3 to 5 lines.3. Conversation.Discourse and Conversation: Candidates receive their choice of topics 15 minutesbefore the examination, and have that time to prepare. They should be prepared tospeak for approximately 5 minutes on the topic they have chosen. After the end of thediscourse, there will be a further 5-7 minutes for conversation.Credit will be given for accuracy, idiomatic register and fluency as well asstructured presentation of argument. Native or near-native fluency in an informalregister alone will not normally be sufficient to attract a top mark. For further informationsee the assessment guidelines (descriptors) for the Russian discourse andconversation exercises, which are appended to the Russian FHS ExaminingConventions (see the link at the end of this Handbook).The Language Centre makes available recordings of the passages used for auralcomprehension, together with copies of the questions set on them in pastexaminations, and offers facilities to watch Russian television. Video recordings ofRussian news broadcasts provided by the Language Centre are sometimes used ac.uk/portal/site/:central:aad:langteach:library .PAPERS IV-XII: LITERATURE, PHILOLOGY AND LINGUISTICSThe structure of the Honour courses involving Russian is similar to that for otherModern Languages, as outlined in the general Undergraduate Course Handbook.Undergraduates who read Russian sole cover a wide historical conspectus ofliterature, since they must study some earlier literature (Paper IX, Enlightenment Texts)and will usually also opt to do both period papers covering both medieval and modernRussian literature (Paper VII, 1100-1700, and Paper VIII, 1820-present). (Paper XII,General Linguistics, may be taken instead of one of these two period papers.) Theycan also deepen their knowledge of individual authors or of modern Russian literaturein general (Papers X, XI and relevant Paper XII options). They have the opportunity6Russian FHS Handbook, 2020-21
to take options which few British universities can now offer, the analytical study ofmodern Russian, of its historical development or of Church Slavonic and other Slavoniclanguages (Papers IV, V and relevant Paper XII options), but are free to determine therelative prominence which this type of work has in their course.Those reading Russian sole may also take Polish as a subsidiary language; see FHSOPTIONS IN POLISH, below.Those who read Russian with another language or subject usually study literature ofthe 19th and 20th centuries (Paper VIII and optionally the relevant Paper XII) and oftentake the opportunities offered by Paper X or Paper XI to deepen their knowledge ofindividual authors from that period, but they may decide to choose the medieval periodof literature (Paper VII) if they prefer, or to take philological options (Papers IV, V andthe relevant Paper XII options) or Russian Enlightenment texts (Paper IX) rather thanPapers X-XI.If you read Russian with another Modern Language, you are required to take at leastone option in either the pre-modern literature or the lin
RUSSIAN LANGUAGE The Honour course in Russian aims to develop a good active and passive command of correct spoken and written Russian for non-technical purposes, with some appreciation of different stylistic registers. This is done by means of regular obligatory classes in translation to and from Russian, instruction in writing essays in Russian, grammar classes as needed, and classes allowing ...