Getting Around Town in Russian: Situational Dialogs

Lora Paperno. English translation and photographs by Richard D. Sylveseter

The book is divided into 14 chapters (Transport, Knizhnyj magazin, Pervyj vizit v gosti, etc.). Each chapter contains 15 to 20 dialogs, typically 4 lines long. The dialogs are written in a very colloquial style. The book contains no grammar explanations, and no glossary. Side-by-side translations make clear what each line means, and a number of footnotes explain cultural differences. The dialogs have worked well with students in their fourth or fifth semester, and fit conveniently into a course that has a conversation class once a week. They can also be useful to graduate students, exchange scholars, and anyone residing in the Soviet Union for a period of work or study. They're easily memorized, and should be, to be acted out with another person. Once performed, the situation can be developed -- ask directions, take a taxi, and so on. The 39 photographs, taken expressly to go with these dialogs, provide a context and a starting point for new situations. Additional materials for this title are available through the Cornell Language Resource Center at: