Russian is not often seen as a particularly popular language to learn in the UK. There are a few reasons why that might be the case, such as the fact that Russian doesn't tend to be taught much in primary or secondary schools throughout the UK, as other languages, such as French and German, tend to be more popular foreign languages to learn in schools.
Despite this, there are plenty of reasons why you might like to study the Russian language or want to take a course to maintain and develop any fluency you may already have.
For instance, you might be planning an extended trip to several countries across Eastern Europe. As Russian is a widely spoken second language in such countries, learning Russian can really help you on your travels, especially if your trip involves actually visiting and staying in Russia for a period of time.
Although some people speak English in Russia, it's not a guarantee that everyone you meet will be able to speak English, so learning as much Russian as you can in advance of any period travelling in Russia may prove invaluable when you are in the country.
Alternatively, you might want to learn Russian to give yourself a bit of a challenge. While some languages, rightly or wrongly, are labelled as being relatively straightforward for English native speakers to learn, this reputation certainly doesn't extend to Russian.
In fact, there are some nuances to the Russian language that can be considered challenging for native English speakers to master. For example, one of the common stumbling blocks when learning Russian is actually the Russian alphabet, which is written in a different script to that which is used in English.
As a result, it can take new learners some time just to become accustomed to the Russian alphabet, before even learning any more advanced aspects of the Russian language!
Regardless of your reason for learning Russian, this article highlights some ways that you can learn and improve your knowledge of Russian as a foreign language in Birmingham.
Naturally, it’s also worth remembering that Birmingham isn’t the only place that you can learn Russian in the UK. There are other major cities where you can just as easily find a Russian language course, whether you’d like to learn Russian in Manchester or improve your Russian in Glasgow.
What Could I Learn During Russian Language Lessons?
There are lots of different ways to learn a foreign language and what might work for one person may not suit another. Therefore, don't be afraid to try out different language learning methods to see what works best for you.
For instance, some people might really enjoy learning about the grammatical rules behind a foreign language and would prefer to focus their time on learning about things such as:
- Verb conjugation, moods and tenses;
- Different cases;
- Pronouns; and
- Common prefixes and suffixes.
If you’re looking to learn Russian and particularly enjoy learning about grammar, you might also prefer to attend a course that looks at technical aspects of the Russian language, including an in-depth look at the Russian alphabet (known as the Cyrillic alphabet) as well as the particularities of the perfective and imperfective aspects of verbs.
On the other hand, some people might prefer to keep their initial focus on learning common words and phrases in a language or improving their overall vocabulary, rather than focus on grammar.
Ultimately, if your aim is to become fluent in a foreign language, then you should have an exceptionally strong understanding of both grammar and vocabulary.
However, at the beginning of your language learning journey, it’s important to learn the language in a way that keeps you engaged and entertained, while also improving your speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. As long as you keep regularly practising your Russian, your overall language level should improve over time.
As a result, you might want to try and find a language course that helps you to learn a language in a way that appeals to you. So, if you prefer to learn common words and phrases, then a more conversational class might be more appealing to you as opposed to a language course that follows a rigorous syllabus that covers multiple grammatical points in depth.
Take Russian Classes At The Library
If you are looking to learn Russian alongside others, whether friends or just as part of a group, you might consider learning Russian through Brasshouse Languages at the Library of Birmingham.
Brasshouse Languages has a very wide selection of language courses, with over 30 languages to choose from, including languages such as:
- Mandarin; and
One of the main benefits of learning Russian through a programme offered by Brasshouse Languages is that there is a range of language courses to choose from based on your current proficiency levels in your desired language.
For example, when it comes to taking Russian classes, there are currently classes that cater to the following ability levels:
- Beginners plus;
- Improvers; and
- Lower Intermediate 2.
A fuller description of what each proficiency level looks like is available on Brasshouse Languages’ website.
If you are a complete beginner when it comes to learning Russian, or you only have a handle on the basics, it’s great to know that there are lots of different classes available for you to take that can help you grow and improve your understanding of the Russian language.
Of course, if you’re actually an advanced Russian learner, then you might find that there aren’t any courses offered by this particular language school at present that cater to your ability and proficiency level.
While it’s always worth keeping an eye out for new courses, it may be worthwhile also seeing if there are other language courses or centres that offer advanced Russian courses that are available in the meantime.
Finding Other Russian Classes
Libraries aren’t the only place where you can learn Russian in Birmingham. There are lots of other avenues to learn the language, including:
- Attending a class at a language school or centre;
- Teaching yourself through an app or online course; or
- Hiring a tutor to provide you with personalised Russian lessons.
Ultimately, how you decide to learn Russian will likely come down to a number of different factors, including your budget, your willingness to travel to Russian classes, what you want to get out of Russian lessons, and your current proficiency level.
If you’re a complete beginner, for example, you might find that teaching yourself Russian is a good way to start learning the language. There are plenty of courses, both free and paid for, that you can take online that help you to learn Russian at your own pace.
Choosing to learn Russian initially with the help of an app such as Duolingo or Babbel can help give you an idea of whether Russian is a language you would enjoy learning, and should also give you exercises to help develop your proficiency as a beginner or novice Russian learner.
As apps aren’t particularly time intensive, they are also useful for those who have limited time or aren’t sure whether they’d like to commit to a longer-term course.
While learning Russian through an app or online course might work well for some people, others will prefer to learn Russian by connecting with another person and may consider either attending a Russian language course in person or by speaking to a Russian teacher online through tools such as Skype.
For example, there are a number of online tutoring websites out there, such as Superprof, which provide both in-person and online-only tutoring services for a wide range of subjects and languages, including Russian.
The benefits of using a tutor to help you learn a language are numerous. For instance, a tutor can:
- Help you practice your speaking and listening skills in Russian;
- Provide lessons that focus on a particular aspect of Russian you’d like to focus on, whether that’s idioms, expressions, or Russian phrases that are useful in a business meeting; and
- Teach you Russian on your own terms and adapt lessons based on your existing proficiency.
What’s more, tutoring sites such as Superprof also often have tutors that are native Russian speakers, which can be particularly helpful when it comes to learning how to pronounce words and phrases correctly, as well as when developing your listening skills in Russian.