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So, You Want to Learn Russian?

So, You Want to Learn Russian?

Russian is a rich and beautiful language that is also very complex. Especially for a second language if you are a native English speaker. But, it is very possible to learn to speak Russian fluently!

There are over 145 million native speakers, and 225 total speakers of Russian, making it one of the most commonly spoken languages on the planet.

What makes Russian so complex to learn? In large part, learning a new alphabet along with some challenging grammatical rules.

Yes, you do need to learn the alphabet.

The Russian alphabet uses thirty-three Cyrillic letters, some of which are shared with the Latin alphabet (although that does not guarantee that they sound the same!) Here’s what the Russian alphabet looks like:

Аа Бб Вв Гг Дд Ее Ёё Жж Зз Ии Йй Кк Лл Мм Нн Оо Пп Рр Сс Тт Уу Фф Хх Цц Чч Шш Щщ Ъъ Ыы Ьь Ээ Юю Яя

While it is technically possible to learn a new language without learning the alphabet, it’s not really worth it. The alternative learning methods (immersion and transliteration, if you’re curious) are both inefficient enough that you’re better off investing a bit of time to get comfortable with the alphabet and then moving forward with our Guided Immersion system.

A Fun Fact About Articles

Have you ever noticed that when someone plays a Russian villain on American television the character always omits words like “a”, “an”, and “the”? It may sound like a cliche bit, but it’s based on a fact. Russian doesn’t have the words “a”, “an”, or “the”. The equivalent meaning that those words provide in English is inherent in a sentence in Russian just from the context and word order.

Three Genders

Like many romance languages (French and Spanish come to mind), Russian has gendered nouns. Every noun is either masculine, feminine, or neuter. If the noun refers to a person, the gender will generally match the gender of the person. Inanimate objects may be any of the three genders, a concept which may seem unintuitive to English speakers. For example, the word for “table” is masculine and the word for “car” is feminine. There are tricks to guessing the gender of a word by looking at how it ends that can help new speakers of Russian.

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