Useful Info

10 Reasons to Learn Russian

  • You may need to say clearly in Russian: "Thank you, but no vodka for me today!"
  • You can travel in one-sixth of the Earth's territory a great deal more safely and cheaply than you could without the language.
  • You might fall in love and need to express your feelings.
  • With just a few choice phrases you will find any contact with the local people more rewarding.
  • If you are committed to study there are wonderful treasures to be gained in the world of Russian literature and music.
  • To do business or work in Russia for which knowing the language and culture of the country are absolutely essential.
  • Russian is the native language of 150 million citizens of the Russian Federal Republic.
  • Despite the rumours the Russian alphabet is not at all difficult to learn. Half of the 33 letters of the Russian alphabet resemble English letters.
  • Russia has an abundance of natural resources and raw materials including timber, fossil fuels.
  • Russian is the second language used on the Internet.

General advice on how to learn Russian

  • It's more difficult to learn Russian ALONE... Attending Russian classes or having one-to-one lessons will help you to be more disciplined and organised. However, you must still revise and practise your Russian throughout the day, EVERY day!
  • Learning Russian is YOUR responsibility and not the responsibility of your teacher. You must take the initiative in your classes. The teacher cannot learn or study Russian for you.
  • Study at least 2 or 3 hours per week.
  • Listen to songs in Russian in your car. Sing them again and again until you remember the words.
  • Watch DVD's in Russian with English subtitles.
  • Be constant. Don't stop learning for long periods of time such as the summer holidays.
  • Be as disciplined and as organised as possible with your classes.
  • Do your homework – revise the material you learnt in class several times a week at home. Make sure you understand everything and if not email the teacher to ask for help.
  • Write down all new words on cards. Write the Russian word on one side, translation – on the other or keep a vocabulary book. Take it with you everywhere and revise the words regularly.
  • Try to practise your spoken Russian at EVERY opportunity – it may be with your Russian-speaking friends, your Russian teachers, or even people you don't know. For example, become a member of the Manchester Russian Language Enthusiasts.
  • Remember! You need to build confidence!
  • Don't be afraid of newspapers! Start with simple things like weather reports and gossip columns. Consider reading books, newspapers or magazines online. Read more than your teacher has told you to. Stick to topics that are of interest to you.
  • To train your ears you can watch Russian TV on-line, listen to the Russian Radio and listen to your friends talking. Initially, be prepared to be more of a listener.
  • Very often your brain forgets but your hand remembers. Try to write as much as possible. For example, you can write shopping lists, word cards, memos, emails, texts and eventually essays.
  • Travel to Russian-speaking countries. For example, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. Knowing you're going to travel motivates you a lot because you know you'll need Russian to get by.
  • Make Russian your hobby, part of your life. Have fun with it!

Where to begin learning Russian language

So you have decided that you want to learn to speak Russian. It could be for business or pleasure. There're seems to be two camps in the world of foreign language acquisition – self learners and teacher-led learners.

Let's have a closer look at self-learners. How do you do it and where does it get you?

Self-learners buy a Russian CD course, buy a self-study grammar book or go online for chats or watch lessons on YouTube. Unless you're extremely disciplined and well-off so that you can afford not to work and concentrate your time on study, it will be difficult to pick-up more than the alphabet and a few key phrases. However, it's very unlikely you'll end up an efficient communicator and have a lively social conversation with native Russians. All the learning material available for purchase doesn't make sense if you have no real contact with Russian people.

On the other hand, a teacher-led method is a more efficient and quick way to learn a language. The teacher has a course structure which is built around familiar subjects. These subjects may include dating, business, music, etc. The course is usually built in such a way, that you will learn easy concepts and move towards more complex ones. This makes learning less daunting. 

The most important part of the teacher-led method, which is non-existent in self-study, is that you constantly get feedback on your progress. The teacher corrects your mistakes in pronunciation, grammar and choice of wording. When seeing that you're struggling in a particular area of the language, the teacher will offer you extra support and provide you with additional practical tasks. An experienced teacher will also help ensure that the focus of your studies is related to an area of personal interest. For example, if you're a businessman travelling to a three day exhibition in Moscow, you will probably need to know how to speak about your product. You may not need to be able to spell words correctly. On the other hand, if you're a student at a university getting ready to take your final exam in Russian, you will need to know the difference between Я пишу and Я писаю. The teacher will plan specifically for your individual needs and teach what is relevant to you.

If I were to start to learn a new language, I would combine the two ways described above. Here's what I would do:

  • Find a reputable professional school that offers language courses and enrol myself on a beginners course
  • Or, find a professional language tutor for one-to-one lessons
  • Speak with the tutor to find out which learning materials to buy and buy the recommended materials
  • Prior to start of the course/lessons learn the alphabet and a few useful phrases (like greetings or taking leave)
  • Buy a CD of the language and listen to it in the car on the way to/from the classes
  • Find a local social group for native speakers of my target language. Go to meet ups regularly, try to communicate in the target language as much as I can
  • Read something (in English) about the culture of the country of my target language
  • Aim to spend at LEAST 1 hr a day on any kind of activity related to language learning
If you have further questions about any of our courses or activities, please, do not hesitate to contact us or request a call back. We will be happy to assist you.

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