Colors are some of the first words children learn.
The ball is red.
The dog is brown.
The toy is yellow.
While these terms come naturally in your first language, they may not come as naturally when you’re studying a language down the road.
After all, most people over five years old don’t go around pointing out different colors.
However, as you’re learning Russian vocabulary, it’s important to remember to study those color words.
Color words are valuable adjectives that can be used in descriptions to paint a clearer picture of what you’re talking about.
They’re even peppered into beginning-level conversations, and you’re likely to stumble across them when you’re reading.
Without enough color words in your vocabulary, your Russian language life may seem drab.
Just as in English, Russian has a huge array of color words to describe various hues, but some words are more common than others.
Below, we’ll share 16 of the most common Russian color words.
How to Learn Russian Colors
Describe objects around you.
It might feel like a bit of a throwback to your childhood, but describing objects around you is an easy way to practice your color vocabulary. Just look around and name the colors you see in Russian.
If you have more vocabulary, you might also name the object you’re looking at or even work in a few verb conjugations. For instance, you might say “Я ем жёлтый банан” (“I eat a yellow banana”), “Яблоко красное” (“The apple is red”) or “Компьютер чёрный” (“The computer is black”). You’re only limited by your vocabulary and creativity!
Do you have different wall colors in your house? Suddenly, your own walls may be valuable learning tools! Just post signs labeling each wall’s color. That way, you can work on reinforcing each word when you’re in the corresponding room. For instance, you might learn белая (white) as you prepare your kasha in front of the белая стена (white wall) in your kitchen.
Make flashcards that tie the word directly to the color.
Being able to translate between Russian and English is useful. However, tying a Russian word directly to its meaning rather than its English equivalent can save you valuable time since you won’t have to translate in your head. And luckily, color words are some of the easiest words to tie directly to their meaning.
Preparing flashcards with the color and the Russian word for that color is one of the easiest ways to do this. You can get out your markers, colored pencils and/or crayons and turn it into a fun DIY project.
If you’re not feeling so crafty, don’t fret! There are lots of great resources that can help you make digital flashcards instead.
Cram.com and Quizlet both allow users to craft their own custom flashcards and access other users’ flashcard sets. And guess what? Other users have already uploaded Russian color flashcard sets. Some of these sets tie the Russian word to its English equivalent rather than the color itself, but there are also some epically awesome sets with great pictures to show the words’ meanings. For instance, the Russian Colors! set on Quizlet pairs Russian color words with both English color words and vivid images.
Experience them in context.
Seeing how words are used in a real-world context can be one of the most natural ways to expand your vocabulary. Witnessing a word in context not only reinforces its meaning but also gives you a clearer idea of when and how to use it.
Virtually any authentic Russian resource is likely to contain at least a few color words, so you can dive in with whatever authentic material you want. If you want to read Russian websites or news stories, Readlang can make them more approachable by allowing you to click on words for quick translations. You can use Readlang to spot common color words on Russian websites, like Домашний Очаг (Home Hearth), the Russian-language Good Housekeeping.
You can also see Russian color words used in real-world videos on FluentU.
The videos are captioned, so you can see each word as you hear it. Don’t recognize a word? No problem. Click any word for a definition, associated image and example sentence. You can even see how words are used in other videos on the FluentU site.
Watching videos is engaging, but sometimes you may want a little break. That’s a great time to try one of FluentU’s quizzes. Quizzes combine videos, images and example sentences into interactive activities that put what you’ve learned to the test.
Regardless of your current proficiency level, FluentU can adjust to better fit your needs. That’s because FluentU’s algorithm tracks your learning to present you with level-appropriate questions, whether you’re just starting out or are practically fluent. You select what you watch, how much you watch and how quickly you watch. Further adding to the flexibility, you can use FluentU online, download the iOS app or give the Android app a try.
16 Russian Colors for Painting a Vivid Picture with Your Vocabulary!
Я побывал на Красной площади. (I visited Red Square.)
По средам мы носим розовое. (On Wednesdays, we wear pink.)
Фрукт оранжевого цвета. Это апельсин? (The fruit is the color orange. Is it an orange?)
Солнце жёлтое. (The sun is yellow.)
Почему этот хлеб зелёный? (Why is this bread green?)
Твои глаза голубее неба! (Your eyes are bluer than the sky!)
Озеро такое синее! (The lake is so blue!)
Когда я надела фиолетовое платье, мой парень сказал, что я похож на Барни. (When I wore my purple dress, my boyfriend said that I looked like Barney.)
Я не думаю, что чёрные кошки – к неудаче. (I don’t think black cats are bad luck.)
Снег такой белый! (The snow is so white!)
Какой серый день! (What a gray day!)
Коричневая собака быстро бегает. (The brown dog runs fast.)
Он подарил мне серебряное кольцо. (He gave me a silver ring.)
Она выиграла золотую медаль. (She won a gold medal.)
Цвет слишком светлый. (The color is too light.)
Это был тёмный день в истории. (It was a dark day in history.)
So, add some color to your Russian vocabulary! These 16 vibrant words are a great place to start.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Russian with real-world videos.