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Russian language -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Russian literature


Decoding the 1920s: A Reader for Advanced Learners of Russian was published by the Portland State University Open Access initiative in 2021. The 1920s is a major part of the Russian literary canon but is notoriously difficult for American students to read in the original, due both to its stylistic complexity and its hidden historical, political and cultural references. And yet, the period is crucial for understanding Russia – not only in the Soviet period, but also today. The 1920s and 1930s were the period when “The New Soviet Person” emerged, with its Soviet mentality. Recent attempts to glamorize the Soviet past in Putin’s Russia indicate that the Soviet mentality is still alive; and literature provides the best window into that world. But how can one teach 1920s prose in a language class, if the prose is decidedly different from everyday speech due to its poetic devices, figures of speech, and allusions; if the prose, that is, can hardly serve as an imitative language model for a learner? This textbook aims to offer a solution to the problem, proposing language assignments that would, on the one hand, help students transition to ACTFL’s Advanced Mid proficiency level, but at the same time promote meaningful engagement with literary texts. While the potential audience of this book may seem like a relatively small group of students (rated as Advanced Low), in reality it represents a highly important group whose needs must be met, and an open educational resource is the best venue for achieving that goal.


© 2022 by Nila Friedberg


Presented at the 2022 Language OER Conference

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