Russian language lesson 1


In the first lesson, we are going to talk about the Russian (Cyrillic) alphabet.

Also, you will learn your first words in Russian!

Watch the video:

The Russian alphabet is not that difficult to learn! I have good and bad news about it.

Bad news: there are 33 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet, and some of them will be completely unknown to you.
Good news: once you learn those 33 letters, you’ll be able to read ANY Russian word. Sounds promising, right?

Here you can download the Russian alphabet PDF. Print it and carry it with you everywhere for several days, review it every time you have a minute. Seriously, for some reason, it helps more than looking at the letters on a screen.

Here is another tip for learning the Russian ABCs. Use your imagination! This is how Russian kids learn it. Try to connect those unfamiliar letters with some existing information in your memory. Feel free to draw, to create, to play like a child!

Look at the picture ВЕСЁЛЫЕ КАРТИНКИ to get some ideas.

Now let’s dive in and have a look at Russian letters. I’ve divided them into several groups.

А [a], К [k], М [m], О [o], Т [t] – these letters are easy to learn, because both writing and pronunciation reminds of the Latin alphabet.

Here are several words to practice your writing skills:
МÁМА [ma:ma] – mother
КОТ [kot] – cat
ТОК [tok] – electricity
ТАК [tak] – so
ТАМ [tam] – there.

В [v], Е [ye], Н [n], Р [r], С [s], У [oo], Х [kh] – these Russian letters look like Latin ones, but they sound differently, but we’ll talk about it in the next lesson. Now your goal is to master Russian writing.

Words for practice:
ОН [on] – he
ОНÁ [ona] – she
СЕСТРÁ [sestra] – sister
НЕТ [nyet] – no
МЕТРÓ [metro] – subway
КÁССА [ka:ssa] – cashbox
РЕСТОРÁН [restora:n] – restauraunt.

Б [b], Г [g], Д [d], Ё [yo], З [z], И [ee], Й [short y], Л [l], П [p], Ф [f], Э [e], Ю [yu], Я [ya] – these Russian letters look unfamiliar, but you certainly know the sounds.

Words for practice:
ФУТБÓЛ [futbol] – football, soccer
РОССИ́Я [rossiya] – Russia
ЛÓНДОН [london] – London
ПАРК [park] – park
САМОЛЁТ [samolyot] – plane
АЛЕКСÁНДР [aleksandr] – Alexander
МЕНЮ́ [menyu] – menu
КАФÉ [kafe] – cafe
[kofye] – coffee

Ж [zh], Ц [ts], Ч [ch], Ш [sh], Щ [sch], Ы [i], Ъ [hard sign], Ь [soft sign] – these letters are REALLY challenging!

Words for practice:
ШОТЛÁНДИЯ [shotlandiya] – Scotland
ХОРОШÓ [khorosho] – good
ДÁЧА [dacha] – cottage house
ЧАЙ [chai] – tea
ЧЕЛОВÉК [chelovek] – human

And don’t forget that you should learn the Russian alphabet fast! As soon as possible. Trust me, it will help you a lot.

And now comes your first piece of Russian grammar. We start with the construction: THIS IS something – Э́ТО something.

Э́то мáма – This is a mother
Э́то пáпа – This is a father
Э́то кот – This is a cat
Э́то Амéрика – This is America
Э́то Лóндон – This is London


Look around you and make a list of 20 objects that you can name in your own language (maybe it’s a table or a computer, maybe it’s a tree or a car – anything!). Go to Google Translate and find the translations. Listen to the pronunciation and practice it. Now make as many sentences with the construction “ЭТО something” as you can. Write them down and say them out loud (это стол, это компьютер, это дом, это окно, это пицца, это кофе, etc.). And make it a habit – always name objects around you in Russian.

Here is a lesson about how to think in Russian from the very beginning. It will help:)

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