Five reasons to learn Russian

Five reasons to learn Russian

To many native speakers of other languages Russian can seem like a challenging and mysterious language. It’s not usually the first language people think of when they want to learn a foreign language. In this post we’ll unveil some of the mystery surrounding Russian as we give you 5 reasons you should learn the language.   

1) Knowing Russian Opens the Doors to Travel

Russian is a truly international language with over 300 million native and non native speakers in countries throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Being able to speak russian will open doors to exotic and exciting places. From the busy bustle of Moscow, the hopefulness of Kiev, the elegance of St. Petersburg, to the mysteriousness of Almaty your Russian skills could unlock a lifetime of travel and adventure.

2) The Russian Speaking World Holds Many Interesting Cultures

All these foreign destinations hold a depth of fascinating culture. Learning Russian will do more than just give the opportunity of travel, it will help you discover new ways of looking at the world. The Russian speaking world has a deep and rich tradition of Slavic culture. Many parts of its history and customs will be completely new to most native English speakers. But Slavic culture isn’t only a part of the past. It lives on today. Knowing the Russian language will help you appreciate a different way of life and a new way of looking at the world.

3) Russia has a Great Tradition of Literature

Russia has historically been a titan in the area of world literature. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Gogo, Bunin, Chekhov, Pushkin, the list goes on. As your skill in russian improves you’ll be able to read the works of these great authors in their native Russian, giving you a higher level of appreciation and understanding that just wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

4) There are More Resources Than Ever to Help You Learn Russian

In the past if you were a native English speaker it could be difficult to find good resources for learning Russian. But in the past several years the internet has exploded with courses, apps, and other resources to you help along in your language journey. Not all courses are created equal, I’ve often written about how some are better than others. Still there are a ton of lessons, grammar aids, videos, and media out there that are helpful and will make the difference in your studies.

5) Learning Russian is a rewarding experience

Learning Russian isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. Yes the grammar can be complex, the words unusual, and the pronunciation difficult; but as you practice and develop your skills you will find that the ability to understand and use the language more than makes up for it. Celebrate every success you have on the road to fluency, even the smallest ones, and you will find Russian learning to be a satisfying experience.

 

Author bio:

Coffee drinker, language learner, habitual traveler, taking life one beautiful day at a time. Anthony Larsen is an avid language learner and blogger at Livefluent.com.

How to become confident in Russian

How to become confident in Russian

There are so many problems that might be holding you back from becoming fluent in Russian. One of them is not being confident! 

During the years of my career as a Russian language teacher, I’ve worked with hundreds of students from different countries and of different age, and about 95% of them were insecure about how they spoke or wrote in Russian.

  • “I know I make a lot of mistakes….”
  • “I hope you can understand me…”
  • “Sorry, my Russian is so bad…”

Don’t these phrases sound familiar? Do you ever feel like your Russian is not good enough?

These two simple exercises will help you to increase your confidence:

1. Focus on what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T do

It’s a huge mistake constantly to concentrate on what you lack. Sooner or later it will make you feel frustrated and bad. Instead of doing that, try to focus on what you’re GOOD at, on what you CAN do in Russian. Buy a cute notebook and write down all the small wins of the day.
For example: I’ve learned 5 new words today, I’ve listened to Russian for 30 minutes, I understood a phrase from a song or a movie.
No matter how small these things are – the important part is that they show progress!

2. Avoid stress and pressure

Some students try to start speaking to native speakers as soon as possible. But it’s a dangerous path that can make you feel bad in the end! Taking part in a real conversation is very stressful.

Build your confidence by practicing speaking in low-pressure situations. The best way to start is to speak to yourself. Trust me, it works. If you don’t know what to say, use one of these questions and try to answer:

BIRTHDAY:
How are birthdays celebrated in your country? – Как отмечают день рождения в вашей стране?
How do you like to celebrate your birthday? – Как вы любите отмечать свой день рождения?
What is your worst birthday memory? – Ваш худший день рождения?
What is the best birthday gift you have ever received? – Какой самый хороший подарок вы получали?
What do you think is the best age? – Какой возраст самый хороший?

FOOD:
Are you a vegetarian? – Вы вегетарианец?
Can you cook well? – Вы хорошо готовите?
Do you have a favorite cafe? If so, where is it? Why do you like it? – Какое ваше любимое кафе? Где оно находится? Почему оно вам нравится?
What kind of vegetables do you like? – Какие овощи вы любите?

HOME:
Can you describe each room of your house? – Опишите каждую комнату в своем доме?
Who lives with you? – С кем вы живете?
What do you think houses in the future will be like? – Как вы думаете, как будут выглядеть дома в будущем?

MOVIES:
What is your all-time favorite movie? Why? – Какой ваш самый любимый фильм? Почему?
How often do you go to movies? – Как часто вы ходите в кино?
Do you like to see a movie many times? Why? – Вам нравится смотреть фильмы много раз? Почему?

CELEBRITIES:
Have you ever seen a celebrity in person? What did you do? – Вы когда-нибудь встречали знаменитостей? Как вы себя вели?
Would you like to be a celebrity? – Вы бы хотели быть знаменитым?
What do you think of fans? – Что вы думаете о фанатах?

Choose any topic you like and tell everything you can!

When you become comfortable and confident speaking Russian when you’re alone, it will be much easier to communicate with a native speaker!

How to learn Russian – Tips for learning Russian

How to learn Russian – Tips for learning Russian

How to learn Russian? Usually, the main purpose for learning the Russian language is the ability to communicate with native speakers. But for some reason, it’s extremely difficult to become fluent. Even if you know Russian grammar and vocabulary, even if you’ve been learning this language for years, you still might be struggling with awkward pauses when it comes to a real conversation.

Maybe you start a phrase, but you hesitate every time because you’re not sure how to express your thought in Russian. You know perfectly well how to say it in your language, but you’re just not 100% sure how to translate it. As a result, you are slow and shy – far from feeling fluent.

Enough! Today I’m going to give you the first tip on learning the Russian language: how to learn thinking directly in Russian and how to eliminate hesitation when you speak.

Most students believe that thinking in any foreign language is difficult, or that it’s a special gift. And in reality thinking in Russian is a skill that even beginners can learn and practice!

Long story short, here are the step by step instructions on how to think in Russian:

Step 1 – Think in individual words

Look around you, think of some words like:

  • окно (window), стена (wall), стол (table), стул (chair)

Then when you go somewhere, think of words like:

  • машина (car), дорога (road), люди (people), солнце (sun), работа (job).

And from now on, during the day, try to think of the individual Russian words for everything you see or do.

Step 2 – Think in Russian phrases

For example, when you’re at lunch, think:

  • Я пью кофе (I’m drinking coffee).
  • Этот суп вкусный (This soup is good).
  • Мне нравится этот ресторан (I like this restaurant).

When you’re at work, think:

  • Мой босс строгий (My boss is strict).
  • У коллеги чёрные глаза (My collegue has black eyes).
  • Мой компьютер сломан (My computer is broken).

The essential part here is to practice and develop the habit of thinking in Russian. That’s why you should use simple phrases that don’t include any complicated grammar constructions.

Step 3 – Everyday Russian

Imagine that you moved to Moscow or St.Petersburg. Now you have to use Russian every day! So, after every time you speak in your native language, think of how you would say the very same phrase in Russian. For example, buying a ticket or ordering a cup of coffee:

  • Один билет, пожалуйста (One ticket, please).
  • Одну чашку кофе, пожалуйста (One cup of coffee, please).

Keep practicing regularly, and you will develop the ability to use Russian in everyday situations.

Final advice: Don’t just read about these tips – put them into practice right now! Look around you and try to think of something in Russian. From now on, make the Russian language a part of your everyday life.

3 steps to learn the Russian alphabet and more

3 steps to learn the Russian alphabet and more

Russian alphabet (aka the Cyrillic alphabet) consists of 33 letters: 11 vowels, 20 consonants, and 2 pronunciation signs. Here is what they look like: 

А Б В Г Д Е Ё Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Ъ Ы Ь Э Ю Я.

In this short article, I’m going to show you 3 easy steps to learn the Russian ABCs quickly and deeply!

Surround yourself with the alphabet.
It’s not going to work if you spend just a couple minutes per day learning it. The more often you see Russian letters, the faster you’ll remember them. Here are my suggestions:

  • use post-it notes (on each note write the letter and a couple of words with it). Put them everywhere around you.
  • print the whole alphabet on A4 and carry it with you. CLICK HERE to download the PDF with the alphabet table. And after that, every time you’re having lunch, or you’re waiting for a bus, or having a minute to spare – take this sheet of paper and look at it.
  • download apps on your phone. There are dozens of them. And from now on instead of playing games or reading news – practice the alphabet!
Write by hand. According to scientific research, when we write something by hand, we activate the  so-called RAS (Reticular Activating System) in our brain. It helps to remember information deeper. So, make sure you spend a few days writing the Russian alphabet by hand. Start from the first one – A – and go to the last one – Я. Then backwards. Then try to write only vowels or only consonants. Keep doing it as long as you need to feel comfortable with all the 33 characters.
Try my new Russian alphabet practice paper to master your skills:)
Practice with words. It’s absolutely not enough to recognize the isolated characters. You need to learn how to combine them into words as soon as you can. Start writing the words! At the beginning it seems that you don’t know any of the Russian vocabulary, but it’s not true. There are hundreds of foreign words that Russian adopted – you can start with sports (basketball, hockey, polo – баскетбол, хоккей, поло) and go on with dishes (pasta, pizza, hotdog – паста, пицца, хотдог).
If you’re still not feeling comfortable in guessing how to spell words, try names. It’s a great way of learning You don’t need to know the particular language to spell the names. Start with your family and friends (for example, John, Jane, Emily, Bob – Джон, Джейн, Эмили, Боб).
Or movie characters! For example, if you like Game of Thrones, try to write down the Arya’s list in Russian. Or maybe you prefer Disney? Try to recall all the names from Aladdin.
One of the most important parts of learning the alphabet and the Russian language in general is getting used to typing on a Russian keyboard. I recommend starting to use the Cyrillic alphabet on your computer as soon as possible.
Here are a couple suggestions for you:
– Start with typing online (using a keyboard at the very beginning might be frustrating:)). Check out this site – http://russian.typeit.org/
– Order the Russian keyboard on eBay or Amazon. Here you have three ways: 1) you can buy stickers and put them on the Latin characters one by one (kind of a meditating process!); 2) you can buy a silicone keyboard cover (best choice for Mac); 3) you can buy a Russian USB keyboard itself.
Each of them cost no more than $10, so it’s up to you to decide which one is better.

Keep practicing and you’ll know the alphabet in no time! And don’t forget to share with your friends!

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