Learning a foreign language is not easy and since we're speaking of Russian, you could think that it will be even more complicated.
Indeed, Russian does not use the Latin alphabet (used by 39% of the world population).
But if you want to read Tolstoy in its original version, you'll seriously need to get to it! But that doesn't mean you have to take language lessons.
Superprof has the solution to start Russian without paying a dime! Follow the guide!
We will teach you the basics of grammar without being too technical, just a few basic rules to point you in the right direction. We do our best to explain these concepts very clearly. Our site has a quick reference menu on the left side so you can quickly refer to any information. Many think that Russian grammar is complex. It's not more difficult than other languages like French or German. Very often, it is not clearly explained.
Make review cards in Russian
Head to the public library on your first tip! You will just need to borrow a Russian textbook or a Russian-English dictionary. Or if that's not possible, stay a few hours in the library to do your review cards.
All you need is a notebook or cards and pens of many colors.
In Russian, everything starts with the Cyrillic alphabet of course!
This is the first step to introduce you to the writing of Russian characters.
But of course, many review cards can be made!
Everything depends on what you need to work on but it can be for example:
- Presentation phrases,
- Common words
- The courtesies expressions,
- The most useful questions and answers,
- Russian words classified by theme,
- Conjugation points, verbs and Russian grammar...
Remember to enhance on the visual presentation to learn more easily. For example, set a color code. If you know how to draw, why not draw the vocabulary words you are learning? And if you draw less well than your 4 year old niece, try out printing out images.
Work thoroughly on your customization to learn new words and phrases faster!
While learning Russian, the learner can use his cards to memorize and then review later on!
Meet up with Russians
When spoken, russian can be more easily learned. Try to find out if there are Russian people in your city: even better than a language course! Couchsurfing for example is a website that organizes events and friendly meetings in your city with many international people!
The idea is simple, you choose your city on the map, you register and you then have access to all the proposed outings in your city. A native speaker will be able to help you to understand, and maybe you can help him or her out in English too.
It's a good way to meet new people and therefore Russians to practice speaking, pronunciation and your accent! You'll get to learn about the Russian language and culture.
Regular practice of Russian with native Russian speakers is important to progress and master more and more vocabulary! If you've not managed to find people around you, don't forget you can also use Skype.
Because we can learn Russian alone but it's more fun to interact with others. Prepare yourself for a trip in Russia by teaching yourself the Russian language.
Memrise software based on the Leitner system
The Leitner system is based on memory cards. You know the principle: a sheet of paper with a question on the information to learn on the front and the answer on the back.
As for languages, it is often a matter of writing down and learning vocabulary: a word in English on one side and a word in Russian on the other (used in both directions depending on the student's way of learning). Put any word you want : nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs...
In the Leitner system, the memory cards are arranged in three different boxes, in ascending order of knowledge:
- In the first box are the cards unknown by the learner,
- In the middle one, cards that still require revision,
- And in the last, those he knows perfectly.
This system uses spaced repetition. It is therefore important to review memory cards frequently.
"Each time we revise, if we successfully recognize the card, we pass it in the next box. If it is not the case, it is put back in the first box or in the previous box, according to the version of the system of Leitner which one uses."
The Memrise software uses a system mixing memory cards and quizzes. It's free except if you want a premium subscription. The cards are often accompanied by mnemonics with fun word games...
At Superprof, we like the way word learning is represented on Memrise: we plant a seed and water it with each revision until we get a flower. The metaphor is rather telling.
It's a good way to learn Russian for free, as a beginner.
If you live in London, simply search for "Russian language course London" and find a tutor near you.
The Loecsen website
The Loecsen site is ideal for beginners in Russian language. It offers real Russian online courses for free to learn the Russian alphabet, to pronounce Russian words, to improve your knowledge of the tonic accent according to the word, etc.
Through 17 themes, available online or downloadable in PDF format, beginners can learn to speak Russian quickly, starting with basic russian:
- Essential expressions,
- Conversational words,
- Looking for a person,
- Time markers,
- Days of the week
- Bars (very important in Russian culture),
- In case of trouble.
Audio files are also available online and downloadable in MP3 format to prepare your trip to Russia even while you're in public transportation.
Depending on wether Russian is a new language to you, if you are a beginner, have an intermediate, or a fluent level in Russian, you will find different Youtube Channels. Here are a couple Russian lessons that could help.
Weekly lessons with Natacha
Natacha has a very popular youtube Channel. It's perfect for you if:
- You curse the declensions,
- You have trouble making simple sentences,
- You think that Cyrillic Russian writing is complicated,
- You are interested in Russian but you feel that your progress is not fast enough,
- BUT you dream of being able to master Russian.
Learning Russian is easy and it's fun! With these weekly exercizes you'll be able to make sure and constant progress.
If you like the Russian language and want to study it online, this is your place: we offer free basic to advanced courses, texts with audio, grammar, activities and much more.
There are videos on very specific topics of the Russian language but also on essential and very concrete vocabulary.
RussianPod101 is a youtube companion to the paid online courses on their website. They make 3-minute mini classes and separate playlists dedicated to the alphabet, listening practice or vocabulary. There are great short videos, but be ready to bear with constant ads encouraging you to subscribe to the paid course on their website!
The best Russian films in their original version
To learn Russian in a fun way, you can also watch Russian films. In addition to improving your language skills, you will learn more about Russian culture. And language learning obviously requires knowledge of the culture.
Start by watching movies with English subtitles if you have trouble understanding everything. It will help you develop your ear and adapt it to listening to Russian. Then as you go, switch to subtitles in Russian, then no more subtitles at all!
Your Russian pronunciation will be better, reading and writing in Russian will be child's play for you and you will gradually become bilingual in understanding. All that remains for you to become bilingual and speak fluently! Here is a selection of Russian films:
Moscow does not believe in tears
Directed by Vladimir Menshov in 1980, this film is about the life of three friends in Moscow. It is a dramatic comedy and romance that draws life in Moscow between 1958 and 1978. Thus, we learn more about everyday life in the Soviet Union: work, life in society, aspirations... There are many dialogues, allowing to the beginner learner to learn how to cope quickly.
Рассказы - Stories
Directed by Mikhail Segal in 2012, the film is modern and dynamic. A manuscript mysteriously influences the lives of all who read it: stories come to real life. Four stories mingle and address the ethical, social and cultural issues of today's Russia.
Стиляги - Stilyagi
Directed by Korotkov Juri in 2008, it's a cool, rhythmic and entertaining film. The angle adopted is interesting in Soviet life, especially in relation to music and lifestyle.
The film takes place during the 1950s. Mels, a young Muscovite falls in love with a different kind of girl: she loves jazz and is influenced by the United States.
This movie is easy to watch, and you'll see, you will keep those songs in your head for a while!
- When you want to learn a language, review cards are essential. They allow to memorize more easily and especially to come back to a point or a lesson if you have a memory lapse.
- To work your oral skills in Russian, you have to go out! Why not test the linguistic meetings and events in your city?
- The Memrise software focuses on Russian vocabulary and helps to fix it in its memory.
- Learning Russian online obviously involves watching YouTube channels in addition to particularly well-designed websites such as Loecsen.
- Finally, to finish with a moment of relaxation, watch a film in Russian. Progress ensured in no time!
If you want to take your Russian language lessons to the next level, best to hire a tutor.