Talk is cheap.
At least, it seems that way before you start learning a language.
Then suddenly, the type of conversations that aren’t worth a second thought in your native language become intrinsically valuable in your target language.
It can seem easier to track down a Russian copy of “War and Peace” than to find audio of a simple, casual interaction in Russian.
When you just want some Russian dialogue, already?
Luckily, on YouTube, Russian talk is still cheap. Free, even.
Why Learn Basic Russian Conversation Skills Through Videos?
- You can read and listen at the same time. Many Russian conversation videos include text within the video, or separate Russian subtitles. Unlike with just audio, or even audio with text, you can use the same platform to read as to listen. No fumbling to open that PDF file or find the right page in your textbook.
- Ordered playlists and longer videos make continuous learning easy. YouTube playlists and videos with multiple Russian dialogues for beginners give you an easy, comfortable way to keep learning without having to switch resources. This means you can, if you choose, focus purely on conversational learning for a longer period of time.
- It’s even better with FluentU. FluentU increases both the benefits above by putting handpicked authentic conversational videos in one place and giving you the easy access and tools you need to learn from them. FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
FluentU is about so much more than videos: You also get access to interactive flashcards and vocab lists, annotated subtitles and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn. It’s an entertaining method to immerse yourself in Russian the way native speakers really use it, while actively building your vocabulary.
Learn Russian Conversation Skills for Beginners with 10 Terrific Videos
Videos and Playlists for Learning Russian Conversation
Of course, in order to make use of Russian conversations for beginners, whether they’re authentic or made especially for learners, you’ll need to learn some basic conversational Russian first. Here are a few resources that’ll help you start learning how to chat in Russian.
As these are all basic learning resources, many cover similar language, but you may find some of them better suited to your needs than others. You also may find it helpful to use a few different sources for the sake of review.
Russian Lessons for Beginner and Elementary Students from Russian with Anastasia
This is an ideal course for someone who’s just starting out with Russian and wants to learn with more of a conversational focus. Anastasia starts at the very beginning, with the Russian alphabet, before moving into Russian conversational phrases like Спасибо (“Thank you”) and Как дела? (“How are you?”).
Lessons are short and easy to squeeze into a busy schedule, and the playlist, which progresses into topics like train travel and ordering dessert, is easily bingeable for review purposes.
“Learn Russian in 5 Days—Conversation for Beginners” from Education World
This video contains a ton of useful words and phrases, many of which are conversation-friendly. But despite the name, it’s probably best for someone who’s studied Russian a bit already and wants to work on memorizing useful phrases for conversation.
There isn’t a teacher or any kind of real instruction, so you may want to think of this as more of a line of pre-made video flashcards.
While the video includes pronunciations (both audio and Romanization), you should probably learn Cyrillic before using it, if only because you’ll gain a lot more from being able to match the sounds with the text.
Also, the video alternates between single words and conversational sentences, so if you hit a list of words you already know, you may want to skip ahead to the next section of sentences.
“Basic Conversation” from Be Fluent in Russian
If you’re in a hurry to get some Russian conversation tips and don’t feel you have time for a full course, or if you’re more into learning by example through authentic material and just want some very brief instruction, you may find this short video useful.
In it, Fedor gives you a crash course in Russian conversation for beginners, focusing on greetings, polite inquiries and closings.
“Basic Russian Conversation/Small Talk” from World With Natalie
This is another quick video covering conversational basics that’s a bit shorter on explanation but brings in more vocabulary. It extends beyond basic greetings vocab and gets more into actual small talk.
Like the “Learn Russian in 5 Days” video, this one’s probably best if you’re already somewhat familiar with Russian but looking to consolidate and review some phrases that are especially good for conversation.
This one gets into ages, nationalities, hobbies and the weather. Natalie shares conversational Russian phrases with blanks to plug in information, so you could easily use this video to make your own flashcards.
Speaking Lessons from Real Russian Club
This playlist is a little different from the other video resources above and can be used in combination with any of them. It’s less about teaching you vocabulary for speaking, and more designed to get you actually speaking Russian.
Daria uses basic vocabulary and pictures to set up questions that you can then try to answer out loud. When it comes to learning Russian speaking, don’t underestimate the importance of talking out loud, even before you have a real conversation. This is a great resource for practicing your speaking in a controlled and supportive environment.
Videos are available with English and Russian subtitles, so you can switch between them as needed.
Sample Russian Conversations for Beginner Learners
Ready to sink your teeth into some conversations? Here we go!
“20 Daily Russian Conversations” from RussianPod101
This playlist is for “absolute beginners,” so it’s a good place to start with conversations if you’re a newbie. Each dialogue is first spoken without any subtitles, then repeated with English and Russian subtitles. It also includes visuals to help you work out what’s being talked about.
“2 Hours of Daily Russian Conversations” from RussianPod101
This video contains more than two hours worth of Russian dialogues spoken at a relatively slow pace. It follows the same format as the RussianPod101 video above but is a bit more complex.
While the dialogues focus on common scenarios—like clothes shopping, booking a hotel room and going to the theater—they go a bit beyond the basics, with some conversations branching off realistically into more detailed questions or requests.
There’s some overlap between the two videos, so if you’re looking for a larger chunk of conversation to study with, it’s probably best to just jump right into this one.
And if you enjoy the content on this channel, you may also love learning with the RussianPod101 website, which has similar videos as well as podcasts, audio, transcripts, grammar notes and much more.
“Slow and Easy Russian Conversation Practice for Beginners” from Russian Level 1
This is a Russian dialogue for beginners about going to the airport that’s broken down into slow, repeated chunks for learners. In other words, each line is said at a relatively normal pace, then repeated more slowly, then said again at a more normal speed.
The text for each line is shown as it’s being spoken, and you also get marks to indicate the stress in words, along with some cheerful cartoon images to help you keep track of the two sides of the conversation. Russian text is shown in the video and you can turn on English subtitles if and when you need them.
While this is just one short video, it’s useful for a number of aspects of basic Russian conversation, including pronunciation, vocabulary related to time and word stress.
Russian Dialogues from Foreign Language Dialogues
This playlist is straightforward dialogues with Russian text. What you see is what you get.
That said, while there are a lot of dialogues in this list (nearly 100), they’re very short and seem to be designed around basic vocabulary use (like what you’d get in a textbook, but more extensive).
The material is provided by a group of self-described Russian language enthusiasts who say they want to encourage you to try translating the Russian dialogues yourself. These could also be great for dictation exercises (listening, trying to copy down the words and then checking your work).
Note: The playlist above was compiled by an individual user account on YouTube and is useful for accessing the dialogues in order, but you can also access them (along with additional material) from their original source.
Short Russian Dialogues from Russian Language—Easy Learning
This playlist is broken into 10 videos, with each three- to nine-minute video providing a dialogue to cover a particular topic (like hobbies, greetings, daily life, etc.).
As with the earlier airport conversation, each line of dialogue is repeated three times. In this case, though, you see the full dialogue text in Russian and English right away.
The dialogues are followed by short quizzes that enable you to test your knowledge of what you heard.
Finding some useful Russian conversations for beginners may not be as easy as ordering a pizza.
But it’s pretty darn easy with the resources above.
And you don’t even have to worry about requesting pineapple on your half.
Elisabeth Cook is a freelance writer who blogs at Lit All Over and is in favor of pineapple on pizza. Her opinions on this extremely sensitive topic do not necessarily reflect those of everyone at FluentU.
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