Learning Russian for absolute beginners
27 March, 2019
So, you have just decided to learn Russian and look for a helping hand? Congratulations, stop searching – you’ve landed on the right page! This blog is for all who have just started learning Russian or have decided to start learning this interesting and mysterious language. My aim is to provide absolute beginners with the best methods and guidelines to make learning Russian as smooth as possible. Plus, at the end you will find good reasons and motivation to stay on track!
The first objective in learning Russian is to learn the Cyrillic alphabet – otherwise it might be rather challenging to carry on. Although it has 33 letters, I promise you, it is not as difficult as it seems to be. On the internet you will find plenty of different websites where you can easily learn the alphabet within a few hours through explanations, exercises and videos. Keep special attention to the so called “false friends”. They look exactly like Latin letters but are pronounced differently. I would also recommend getting an alphabet poster or creating it yourself to hang it on the wall somewhere you can see it every day. You can also check out this alphabet song from sesame street
Get used to the Russian pronunciation and basic vocabulary through children’s series and YouTube videos. It is an excellent way to combine audio stimuli with visual perception. Here is a short list of children’s series which are pretty easy to understand and funny as well: Sesame street (Улица Сезам), Winnie Pooh (Винни Пух) and Masha and The Bear (Маша и Медведь). Click here to find out more about TV Shows to improve your Russian.
Small pieces, chapter by chapter
Learning, for example an hour per day, instead of learning every two weeks for ten hours, is much more effective. Split your workload into manageable chunks and set milestones to make sure you can monitor your progress. Also try to implement learning vocabulary and doing grammar exercises in every learning session and repeat them regularly. You should also integrate Russian in your daily life: Use post-its, follow social media accounts which post in Russian language, try to read Russian news etc.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. For me, as an absolute beginner I was shy and nervous about pronunciation and this reason is often responsible for impeding progress. It’s a good thing to make mistakes, because it’s only when you make mistakes that you know what you can improve. Besides that, I’ve never met someone who doesn’t make mistakes when he or she speaks a foreign language. Practice makes perfect!
Combining a language course with a stay abroad is probably the best and fastest way to learn a foreign language, and so also Russian. Nowhere else you’re able to implement learnt things into daily life as well as in the country where the language is spoken. During your stay abroad, you can live the culture and dive into the daily life of a local. It is also a great possibility to make friendships – especially in Russia – for life!
Don’t mind how difficult and complicated it seems, don’t give up. Of course, you have to practice Russian like every other language. It helped me a lot to see learning Russian not as an obligation, but as a great possibility to enlarge your horizon and be able to communicate as a foreigner in a language that not many people are able to. Try to find your own motivations, write them down on post-its and stick them in the spot where you usually learn. Since there are so many reasons to start learning Russian, I can’t write about all of them (this article would be endless). Let me provide you with those that drove me to learn Russian.
- It combines all the languages from eastern Europe and will help you to understand things from a different point of view. It’s an old country with a long history, so there is a lot to discover.
- With more than 144 million people living here, Russia is one of the biggest economies in the world. Besides that, more than 275 million people worldwide speak Russian. So, take advantage of Russia’s economic potential and its possibilities.
- It’s a challenge! So, go for it, you won’t regret!