This year, Khabarovsk did not have an offline platform for “Total Dictation”. None of the local activists dared to confront the organization. Despite this, preparatory courses were held at the “Boiling Point”, where everyone was able to remember the rules of the Russian language. And the closest places to the regional center where they wrote dictations were the Komsomol-on-Amur State University and the Birobidzhan Priamursk State University named after Sholom Aleichem. Some Khabarovsk residents went there.
I decided to take the test online and registered for all four parts of the dictation, not knowing what time would be most convenient for me. I got to the third, the announcer of which was the writer, author of “RG” Pavel Basinsky. However, the online broadcast began to freeze, and the hosts still did not get to the point, announcing German pens. Therefore, I decided to write under the dictation of Vladimir Pakhomov – candidate of philological sciences, chairman of the Philological Council of “Total Dictation”. A note with him appeared next to the window where the text had to be written.
As it turned out, the choice fell on Pakhomov not in vain. He paused perfectly and spoke his words clearly.
He wrote “Ecology according to Arseniev. Lesson three.” I found the essay monotonous and not very complicated. Avchenko’s text abounded in applications, which meant commas. Difficulties arose only with punctuation marks: put a hyphen or a comma in a sentence, if both are suitable?
The dictator (this is what the speakers of “Total Dictation” are called) suggested how to write difficult words, for example, “passionate”. In my opinion, this is wrong; after all, we check our literacy. About nine years ago, I took part in an action within the walls of Pacific State University, then no such indications were given. Perhaps that is why he got a solid “four”.
My husband began to check literacy with me, but quickly fell asleep – the host read too slowly and evenly. He finished it along with the cat: he kept trying to make his own edits, playing the keyboard and “giggling” with red eyes. After sending the dictation for verification, the original text appeared in the window – I did not verify it, I will wait for the results on April 22. But my mother wrote a dictation at home before me, she checked everything and proudly boasted: “No mistakes.”
Total Antalya: remember everything
One of the six cities in Turkey where “Total Dictation 2023” was written was the Mediterranean Antalya. Local Russian speakers are taking part in the action for the sixth time.
According to the organizers, during this time the maximum number of participants here reached thirty, and in neighboring Kemer once even exceeded one hundred. In 2023, 14 people sat at desks in Antalya, among whom was me, a former resident of the Far East.
The text didn’t seem too complicated to me. Dictation was measured, although the youngest participants (there were five of them) did not have time to write anything.
I still had to remember the school curriculum, especially the spelling of the particles “not” and “nor”, introductory constructions, direct speech, participial and adverbial phrases. Some spelling bottlenecks (“Ussuri Territory”) were demonstrated on the screen, but even without them he was sure of the spelling.
Handwriting worries me most of all, even at school it was regular and it didn’t improve, because now I write by hand infrequently. It turned out that I had two options for writing the letter “t”, the rules for capitalization were completely forgotten, and in some places parts of words did not want to be combined.
Alexandra Nikiforova, a participant in the action, shared with me her impressions:
– I treat “Total Dictation” with tender sympathy. I like the idea itself and the fact that the project originated in Novosibirsk, the city of my student years. In Antalya, I will note the excellent organization: it is immediately clear that this is not the first dictation here: everything is clear, according to the rules and on time. The female announcer is a Russian language teacher, she felt like she was at a school desk. I love to read, so if I see a mistake somewhere or write incorrectly, I feel uncomfortable. In this text, I had to think a lot about punctuation: where is a comma needed and where is another punctuation mark.
A year ago, a native of St. Petersburg Ivan Kuznetsov wrote “Total Dictation” in Antalya with “excellent” – seven times participating in the project, this was his first “five”. On April 20th it will be known if someone has obtained the highest score today.
The “total dictation” took place the day I was preparing for a business trip. Therefore, I immediately planned to participate online. Very convenient – you can start at any time by simply rewinding the live stream. I got “Lesson Two”, which was read by Vasily Avchenko. The text spoke of the “ecological” perspective of Vladimir Arseniev’s famous friend, the hunter Nanai Dersu Uzala.
I must say that we journalists write “total dictations” all the time, transcribing the recordings of interviews. So there is a skill in writing texts. The other side of the coin: the action seemed to drag on very slowly. Vasily Avchenko read each sentence three times: first, just so that the participants could listen to it, then to write it down, and finally to self-examine. He did not expect a second or third reading. However, if he had to participate in person, with pencil and paper, then perhaps he too would ask to speak more slowly. Vasily discussed this possibility in advance, expressing his readiness to wait if someone is late.
It is good that the theme of the dictation is connected with the Far East. It would seem that we who live here could gain some kind of advantage. But the organizers leveled it, demonstrating on the slides the spelling of some “difficult” words like “deer”.
I have no doubt that “Total Dictation” wrote well. There were no problems with the spelling of the words. I’m more concerned with the score. Somewhere I might get confused with hyphens or colons.
By the way
For the first time, “Total Dictation” was written in Cambodia this year, and Kazakhstan became the record holder for the number of cities involved abroad. There the action was carried out in ten cities. At the Antarctic stations, the dictation was written for the tenth time, and in person. The works were scanned by the employees of the Russian Antarctic Expedition and submitted for verification to the experts of the Philological Council.
Vasily Avchenko, writer:
– “Total dictation” is an educational action, and I wanted it not to be just a literacy test, but for the text to carry an important and interesting message. If someone wants to discover Vladimir Arseniev’s prose or reread his books after the action, I will consider my task accomplished. I was very worried when I was writing, when I was preparing and when I was dictating. Because it is a great responsibility. But everything turned out great. I dictated in Nizhny Tagil. The main site there was the Demidov ironworks. Its ancient walls breathed the energy of years gone by. Therefore, the dictation connected not only space (I remind you, I am from Vladivostok), but also historical times and eras.