Have you set out to learn Russian? Then you have come to the right place! Read on to…
We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming to Bring You This Very Important Public Service Announcement.
Russian is not an easy language to master! In fact, The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) has rated how long it would take a native English speaker to learn a foreign language, and Russian is rated as category four on a scale of one to five.
We are not trying to deter you from expanding your horizons and learning Russian, we just want you to be sure that you have 44 weeks, or 1,100 hours, to devote to becoming proficient in this language.
How do you know if you have what it takes to learn to speak and read in Russian? Say you are traveling across the country and you are offered a shortcut or a scenic route that takes three times as long. Which do you take?
If you do not have as much time, consider learning Spanish, French or Italian, which, according to the FSI, would take fewer hours to learn. If you chose the scenic route, then you are up to the task of learning Russian (except do not expect to see any actual scenery between October and April if you travel to Russia, as everything is covered in snow).
To help you enjoy the scenic route with easily accessible and completely free upgrades, we have compiled a list of top destinations, also known as online sources for learning Russian.
Tips on Practicing Russian Online
Remember the following tips during the course of your study. They are what separates those who master the language from those that give up!
- Learn the basics first. There are a multitude of Russian online sources that claim to help you learn the language, but make sure you choose websites that help you learn the basics if you are just starting out. These include learning how to read and pronounce the Cyrillic alphabet, followed by basic words and verb tenses.
- Evaluate your level. If you did not wake up and decide that you just have to speak Russian with no prior knowledge, you should evaluate your level to determine if you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced learner. This can help you choose the appropriate sources for your learning needs. You do not want to spend too much time on reviewing the same repetitive information, nor jump so far in advance that you have a hard time keeping up.
- Take notes along the way. Since you will be studying independently, take notes of your errors or what you do not understand to refer back to and study later. If you gloss over words or phrases you do not know and do not take the time to learn them, it will be impossible for you to advance.
- Test yourself. You may think that you are brushing up on your Russian skills, but prove it to yourself by taking intermittent quizzes to test your knowledge. If it will make you feel better, buy a red pen and write a big “A” on tests on which you scored well!
- Dedicate a time to study to keep yourself on track. With the 44 long weeks it can take to master Russian, you may lose steam along the way. It can help to set aside a specific time each day, or a few days a week, to immerse yourself in the Russian language with no distractions. And make sure to close Facebook and Twitter while you are perusing the online Russian sites, lest you never get anything done because your former college roommate will not stop posting adorable photos of his new kitten.
Practice Makes Perfect! The Best 6 Online Places to Practice Your Russian
Check out these six websites that are perfect for helping you learn Russian:
Russians are famous for serving many different types of dishes during meals, and this website incorporates this tradition by offering a variety of ways to learn Russian. You can review lessons, play games, listen to music and take tests.
The first four lessons provide a general introduction to the Russian language. By learning the Russian alphabet, spelling and grammar rules, the site promises to help you learn how to introduce yourself in a conversation by the time you complete the second lesson.
The next two lessons teach you to say Russian numbers, explain where you are from and master other general topics of conversation.
FluentU takes all kinds of real-world videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into interactive language learning experiences. With a web and app version, it’s super easy to sneak in a few minutes of practice with FluentU here and there or binge videos and quizzes for extended learning sessions.
Most importantly, FluentU keeps you entertained with a variety of content, as you can see here:
Didn’t catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? FluentU makes native Russian videos approachable through interactive captions. Tap or click on any word to see a definition, in-context usage examples, audio pronunciation, helpful images and more.
Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab. Easily review words and phrases with audio under Vocab.
Don’t stop there, though. Use FluentU’s quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It uses that vocab to give you a 100% personalized experience by recommending videos and examples.
This course was designed by professional Russian authors that promise students a serious learning experience but with fun and games! This website breaks down the steps to learn Russian from the alphabet to phonetics and grammar.
Learn the Russian alphabet by not only seeing the letters but viewing an associated photo of a word that starts with each letter, as well as listening to a sound clip that pronounces both the letter and the word.
Learn Russian phonetics by reading and listening to how both consonants and vowels are written and sound in typical Russian words.
Russian students who have surpassed the basics can access intermediate Russian lessons that focus on verb tenses, gender endings, conditional sentences and more!
Like the two sources above, this website also offers lessons in Russian spelling and grammar, but it provides a unique offering—videos! Access a free database with Russian videos that are divided into:
- Phrasebook videos – Watch videos of typical phrases commonly used in Russian conversations.
- Basic vocabulary videos – These are videos that cover the essential words used in the Russian language.
- Vocabulary topics – Intermediate to advanced Russian students can learn vocabulary divided by topics, such as kitchen essentials, objects found in the home, pet names, etc.
- Love phrase videos – Learn how to tell someone you love them in Russian!
A resource for intermediate to advanced students, this website provides 11 different Russian exercises to be completed with a Cyrillic keyboard. Test your knowledge of structural transcription, verbs, adjective-noun phrases, names, verbs of motion, pronouns and more!
In addition to the exercises, Russian Mentor offers Russian grammar assistance with learning verbs, the cases they govern and uses of prepositions.
When you are tired of learning Russian rules and reading lessons, enjoy doing something fun by playing games that help you learn Russian for any level. A portion of the games include audio so you can hear correct pronunciations of letters and words. All of the games can be played with a Cyrillic keyboard, as well as transliterations (translating a script from one language to another).
These games teach you numbers, animal names, how to tell time, days of the month, colors and so on! The games for intermediate and advanced learners help you build advanced vocabulary skills.
This interactive website teaches Russian with the help of the textbook, “Beginner’s Russian.” Each of the 24 online chapters includes keys to studying the language, study guides, video and audio clips, a podcast, exercises and YouTube subscriptions.
Exercises include typing, listening and answering questions, matching games, learning to write in Russian by hand and even recording yourself speaking Russian.
If you have set out to truly learn Russian, these six free online sources can help you reach your goal. Just remember to dedicate the time and energy to truly master the language and learn how to speak, read and write proficiently.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Russian with real-world videos.