Russian is the 5th most spoken language worldwide, and one of the most useful languages for any learner to study.
Russian teachers and students alike will both admit that Russian is not the easiest language to learn.
In order to learn Russian properly, you must be diligent, persistent and avoid any distractions from the learning process, no matter how difficult it may be.
And under no circumstances should you trust the websites or textbooks that promise you that you can become fluent in Russian in a week, a month or even 3 months.
This is absolutely impossible, despite the fact that there are in fact many effective methods to accelerate the learning process – just not that much!
And so, today, we are sharing our top tips for learning Russian properly…and as quickly as possible.
Tutoring is definitely the fastest method for learning Russian!
Tried, tested, and practically infallible, finding a private tutor is the best way to learn Russian quickly…as well as any other foreign language like French, Spanish or German.
Group classes are a good way to get started with a language, but like the name says, you won’t be on your own.
Although some students can find learning with others helpful, for other students the lack of personalized help and support quickly leaves them feely like a failure.
Private tutoring offers several advantages:
All of this means that you can improve your Russian faster when you take lessons with a private tutor instead of going to a group class where you may feel helpless, lost and consequently lack motivation.
Your private Russian lessons will also help you learn to speak quickly, correctly and with the correct pronunciation.
However, it’s always good to find a language partner in Russia who can speak with you in Russian and with whom you can speak in your native language. These types of exchanges work best via online apps like Skype.
In order to learn Russian more effectively, you can even organize get-togethers where you do exercises together, watch Russian videos and talk about specific topics, etc.
You can’t reach your goal if you don’t know what it is!
Before you can start learning Russian, it’s important to know what you’re hoping to achieve! A good way to learn a language quickly is to set and follow a SMART goal. It’s a mnemonic, certainly, but it helps us know if we’re moving in the right direction:
There’s no point in taking an intensive course to learn the Russian language, you’ll need to work step by step!
It’s no secret, to learn to speak Russian (or any language) quickly, immersion in the country is always the best option.
After learning the basics of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, speaking the language with natives is the best way to improve your vocabulary of Russian words, better understand their usage (pronoun, adjective, preposition …), improve pronunciation and learn how to cope on your own in daily life.
Full language immersion is also a great way to deepen your knowledge of Russian culture in a much more engaging way than going to a Russian class.
You find yourself in real life situations, immersed in Russian and enriching your understanding of the language.
So what are you still doing here?
Get yourself on a plane to Russia!
Anytime is a good time to speak Russian, but if you can do it with a few drinks, that’s even better! ?
Of course, in Russia, you will have ample opportunity to improve your oral expression and meet other Russian-speaking contacts.
But if you do not have the means and/or the time to immediately jet off to this transcontinental country, here are a few other ways to practice speaking with Russians:
As you make plans to speak with native Russians, it is a good idea to learn a few simple sentences that you can pull out of your sleeve.
Being able to introduce yourself and say please and thank you is always important in any place.
It’s worth mentioning that Russian letters have a consistent pronunciation, unlike English or French.
The 33 letters of the Russian alphabet are phonetic, which means that they sound like they look.
The pronunciation of these letters is always the same, no matter what words they are in.
This is different from English, where each letter can have several different sounds.
Knowing exactly what each letter that you see sounds like helps you learn and pronounce new words quickly.
In Russian, you always know how to pronounce a word because there is no question about how each letter is pronounced!
Keep in mind that the Russian alphabet is Cyrillic, which means that the letters are very different from English.
The Russian language is a member of the Slavic language family, whose languages evolved from Old Slav.
It’s a good idea to have a look at the Russian alphabet written out so you have a better understanding of all the Cyrillic letters.
Focus on the noises and pronunciation for each letter because this is what defines the pronunciation of Russian words in general.
In Russian, you need to stretch out the sound of each vowel, like when you’re calling your mother from the other room – “Mo-o-om!”.
It’s totally possible to learn Russian online! And when combined with private tutoring, it’s a very efficient way to learn a language.
There are many excellent websites available to help you to learn Russian:
If you prefer a more, IRL resource, there are some great textbooks out there that can help you improve your Russian quickly. Why not try out the tried and tested Assimil method, or check out Russian for Dummies? It’s a bit more difficult and requires more dedication than the online resources, but they are great resources to gain some more knowledge about Russian culture and history!
Are you a fan of the Simpsons? Why not re-watch your favorite episodes in Russian?
20 minutes ran a special about it in 2015: it’s much easier to learn a language when it seems like entertainment, and it isn’t surprising! We learn much easier and faster when learning is fun, otherwise, it’s hard to stay motivated.
Why not try a few different language learning apps? There are some great ones that aim to make language study into a fun and easy habit you can do every day!
Try out Duolingo, and practice Russian for 5 minutes every day! This app has made learning languages fun for millions!
The learning is personalized and topics are repeated at regular intervals to jog your memory. Corrections are immediate and the student is rewarded by learning new words and grammar without even realizing it.
The app is 100% free. One study even found that 34 hours spent on Duolingo is the equivalent of 1 semester of language study at university!
You can also do quizzes in Russian. There are many different ones available online where you can test out your knowledge, and you’ll learn without even realizing you’re doing so.
Want to go to Moscow?
Want to try out a new TV series?
Why not put watch some TV in the original Russian and add English subtitles or watch it dubbed in English with Russian subtitles, depending on what you want to work on?
It’s an excellent way to acquire vocabulary without feeling like you’re studying! And of course, it also works with Russian films too!