If you’re interested in learning Russian, there are two key questions you should ask yourself:
1) Why do I want to learn Russian?
2) How can I learn more about Russian culture?
The former is important for helping you develop a learning strategy that meets your needs, while the latter will help you better appreciate the rich nature of the Russian language.
Once you’ve answered those questions in your own mind, the best way for beginners to learn Russian is to move on with a personal learning plan that works best to meet those goals.
This is a question you may have heard more than once, but it’s a bit of a misguided question. Is Russian hard to learn? Is walking hard to learn? Babies spend nearly two years learning how to walk, but they all succeed, right? The truth is that there is no such thing as a “hard language to learn”. Learning any foreign language is simply a matter of time and motivation. Now that said, we do not think that Russian is a hard language to learn at all. Why? Read on below…
If you’re reading this, then chances are you understand English. If that’s the case, then you should know that English uses the Latin alphabet while Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Although Russia is often transliterated using the Latin alphabet and this allows parallels between the two alphabets to be drawn, the language is spoken and written using the Cyrillic alphabet.
The Russian language is one of four remaining living East Slavic languages. Direct prior iterations of the language have existed since the 10th century. The Russian language originally comes from the language used in Kievan Rus. Today, the Russian language is spoken as the official language in 38 territories and is the most geographically widely spoken language in Eurasia.
The history of Russian is as deep and old as Europe itself. As an East Slavic language it is also a member of the Indo-European family. The other East Slavic languages include Ukranian, Belarusian, and Rusyn, which are largely spoken in countries where Russia is an official language or an official majority language.
Over the course of its long history, Russian has been influenced by a number of different regional languages and dialects, including Church Slavonic and Old Novgorod dialects. The standard form of Russian is the Russian literary language. This form rose to prominence in the beginning of the 18th century and through the use of the school system eventually became the largely spoken dialect throughout the entire country.
One of the most important parts of learning a language is understanding its culture, and Russian is no exception. Of course, if you want to learn about Russian culture, you first must ask yourself an important question: how do you define Russian culture? Is this the culture of the country of Russia, or the cultures of the other 36 territories that count Russian as their official languages? Then again, let’s not forget countries like the United States, where Russian is not an official language, but there are still over 900K Russian speakers.
Our point about Russian culture notwithstanding, there are a number of Russian customs shared across many Russian-speaking cultures. For example, despite the wide variety of norms across Russia and Eurasia, there are many Russian Customs that are nearly universal; handicrafts, folk music, and cuisine are several areas, among many, where Russian culture remains an influential force.
If you want to study Russian, then you’ve probably looked for a Russian study guide on the web. Chances are that you’ve come up empty handed, underwhelmed or overwhelmed. There’s a good reason for this, though. If you want to know how to study Russian effectively, the truth is that you’ve got to build your own Russian study guide.
Before you lose heart, though, hear us out. Different people have different reasons for learning a foreign language, and not everyone has the same goals in terms of what they want to learn. Some might want to focus on vocabulary, while others might be interested in phrases. Then, too, different people learn in different ways. Some people might be really interested in Russian grammar, while others might just want to dive into speaking.
OptiLingo’s free online Russian course provides a lot of lessons that are designed to help you learn Russian. That said, one of the best ways to take full advantage of our free Russian resources is to study on your own using your own Russian study guide.
With that in mind, here’s a quick set of tips to help you build your own Russian study guide:
Are you struggling with Russian grammar? Are you looking to expand your vocabulary? Maybe you want to practice your accent. The first step in building your Russian study guide is to decide what you’re trying to learn; otherwise, you’re just taking a shotgun approach, and that’s not very effective.
Are you a visual learner? Do you like to pick and chose across different formats? Do you like to use smartphone apps? If you use off-line materials, do you prefer notebooks, flash cards or sticky notes all around your house? Everyone is different, and you need to decide what will help you to study Russian the best.
Depending on your preferred studying method, your concept map might look like hub and spoke, with one concept in the middle and related concepts around it. Alternatively, you might chose to study Russian using a simple outline. Either way, if you want to know how to study Russian, you’ve got to organize the content you want to learn before you can study it.
Set a schedule, but be flexible. It’s tempting to say that you plan to study Russian every day for an hour at a certain time, but you may not always be free at that time, and you may not always have an hour. We suggest starting off modestly… say, fifteen minutes per day, and finding time whenever is most convenient, even if it varies from one day to the next.
A lot of people are eager to just get their hands on a Russian study guide and dive in. The truth is that developing your own guide is one of the best ways to study Russian. By taking the time to think through what you want to learn and organizing it, you’ll be halfway there to mastering Russian.
It might be tempting to binge study when you first start out, but it’s not sustainable. Moreover, cramming is not an effective way to learn anything, especially Russian. While we strongly suggest starting out with fifteen minutes per day to study Russian, we would caution anyone with studying for more than an hour. The worst part of overdoing it is not that it’s inefficient, but that it’s a fast way to burn out and lose motivation.
Step 1) Learn the alphabet
Step 2) Memorize a few key words
Step 3) Pick up a few phrases
Step 4) Study the grammar
Step 5) Enjoy yourself
Dreaming of learning a new language? With OptiLingo, you can learn 20 languages in just 20 minutes per day. www.optilingo.com – Optilingo
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