Ever heard of that trendy, Pinterest-friendly breakfast called “overnight oats”?
Basically, the idea is that your oatmeal can cook itself overnight. You just put oats in with yogurt, fruit and whatever else you want, leave it in the fridge while you sleep—and voilà! You can get up in the morning, grab your tasty breakfast and head straight to work.
Wouldn’t it be great if learning a language were like that? Cram, sleep, wake up fluent…
So what can you do if you’ve got barely any free time to spare during your day?
This is where Russian audio learning resources come in. Many of these resources—like the ones we’ll cover later in this post—have short, digestible episodes that you can fit in while you’re at the gym, showering, commuting or at any free moment that pops up.
They’ll build on one another throughout the days, weeks and months that you use them, without requiring extended listening sessions that you’d never have time for.
Think of it like baking bread: a long, focused process that happens over the course of several spaced out steps.
Okay, hungry yet? Here are six audio resources that’ll get you learning Russian in just minutes a day.
Why Learn Russian with Brief Audio Activities?
Don’t think that you need to sit down and listen to Russian content for hours on end to boost your comprehension skills. As you advance, longer listening will eventually be helpful, but short audio resources have their advantages:
- You’ll make progress without being overwhelmed. The Russian language is tricky, and if you try to engage in lengthy listening practice before you’re ready, you can quickly get frustrated by how much you’re not understanding. There’s nothing as demotivating as being thoroughly overwhelmed by your language learning materials.
Brief audio lessons and clips will teach you just enough information to process and review, and can also help keep your spirits up as you learn.
- Brief listening activities can fit into any schedule. You can get some learning in even if you have to do it while showering, waiting in line at the grocery store, driving or whatever else you like to do (did you just say troika dance practice?).
- If you know listening to the activities doesn’t take much time, you’re more likely to keep doing it. It’s easy to put off longer activities or quit them altogether. But if you’re just committing a couple minutes a day to listening, it’s much easier to stick to the plan.
How to Get the Most out of Brief Russian Audio Lessons
- Listen often. Frequently exposing yourself to the Russian language will make you more comfortable with it. There are a lot of sounds that may seem quite strange to a non-Russian ear, so listening is important, and short listening activities are perfect for this.
You might even stagger your listening practice throughout the day to increase your frequency of exposure.
- Repeat what you hear. With brief activities like these, you might try to repeat as much of the audio as possible after you’ve stopped listening. This will test your memory and improve your speaking skills. Plus, planning on repeating what was said will increase your focus for the duration of the listening activity.
- When applicable, use supportive texts and/or materials that come with your audio resource to increase your understanding. While this takes more time, it can increase the impact of your brief listening practice.
- Mix and match resources to expose yourself to different speakers and styles. You might even try combining several resources for your daily practice. Otherwise, you can switch between a few different audio sources. Since these listening activities are short, this is still not a huge commitment but will expose you to a wide array of speakers.
6 Awesome Audio Resources to Learn Russian in Just Minutes a Day
Sometimes, you just want to eavesdrop on an authentic Russian conversation… but that’s awkward and could really upset people. With “Говори по-русски” (“Speak Russian”), you’ll get all the benefits of listening in on a real conversation without the uncomfortable glares and risk of fist fights.
“Говори по-русски” offers more than 100 podcasts to help you improve your Russian skills. These podcasts feature brief real-life conversations, so you’ll see how grammar rules work in context, making it easier to apply those rules in your own communication.
Each podcast has a main theme. Topics include transportation, shopping, daily life and more.
Говори по-русски offers more than just podcasts, though. Each podcast is also accompanied by transcripts, a dictionary and a detailed explanation of any notable subtleties. There are even tests and games to reinforce your learning.
Okay, so “One Minute Russian” is a bit of a misnomer. It should actually be called “Two-to-three Minute Russian,” but that has less of a ring to it.
“One Minute Russian” offers 10 brief, two-to-three-minute podcasts. The content is beginner level, so it’s a great way for beginning Russian students to get their feet wet in the Russian language without diving in too deep. “One Minute Russian” is also a good option for busy travelers looking to pick up some basic skills.
Basic lessons are free. The premium addition with full lessons are available for about $6.40 for all 10.
FluentU offers a fun, flexible option that’s easy to fit into any schedule.
By using authentic video content like music videos, movie trailers, inspiring talks and news clips, FluentU teaches you the sort of Russian you’ll hear in the real world.
Each video is captioned. The captions are fully annotated, providing easy access to each word’s definition, several example sentences and an associated image. If you click a word, you can even see how other videos use it.
Additionally, FluentU offers an innovative “learn mode,” which incorporates videos, pictures and example sentences into flashcards and exercises for an interactive learning experience.
FluentU’s lessons are always fully personalized using an algorithm that takes your learning history into account. You can build on previous learning without ever being in over your head.
Learning Russian probably doesn’t make you dance very often. Learning Russian with “Earworms Musical Brain Trainer” probably will, though.
“Earworms Musical Brain Trainer: Rapid Russian” is a CD that teaches you vocabulary to the beat of catchy songs. You’ll hear the English phrase followed by the Russian phrase. This repeats several times with varying rhythm.
The rhythm makes it easy to remember the vocabulary, and the format makes it easy to listen for short bursts at a time, maximizing any time you have available for Russian learning. You can jump in without having to try to remember what was happening when you left it. Even if you only listen for a few seconds, you can still learn some helpful vocabulary words (which you’ll inadvertently end up singing for the rest of the day).
The first volume focuses on teaching basic/travel vocabulary, while the second volume focuses more on conversation.
You can get this resource as a CD or get them digitally via Audible.
“Learn in Your Car: Russian” is designed to teach you Russian during your commute. But don’t worry—no one will blame you if you use it outside your car, too.
“Learn in Your Car: Russian” teaches vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar for a good all-around learning experience.
The complete edition of “Learn in Your Car: Russian” offers three levels ranging from beginning through advanced, so it’s useful for any level of Russian student. The beginning level covers basic grammar and vocabulary with an emphasis on travel-related content. The second level expands on vocabulary and grammar with a focus on day-to-day activities. The final level expands still further on vocabulary and grammar with an emphasis on conversation.
Want to sound like a real Russian? “Streetwise Russian” has your back.
“Streetwise Russian” includes text and audio that focus on teaching idioms, slang and colloquial Russian in general. You’ll even pick up some inappropriate words, though we wouldn’t recommend throwing them around willy-nilly.
There are 75 minutes of audio content featuring 25 brief dialogues with native Russian speakers. Listen to the audio on its own or with the book for additional support.
You can download “Streetwise Russian” to your Kindle for a low price, or purchase an affordable used copy of the book and CD.
Don’t let long listening practices slow you down. Accelerate your learning with these quick, easy Russian audio resources!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Russian with real-world videos.