There are many reasons why you should learn Russian. First of all, Russia is a beautiful place to visit. As the biggest country in the world, there’s a lot to see and do. However, only 5% of citizens know how to speak English, so you’ll want to know your way around Russian to make the most of your trip. Learning Russian also expands your career opportunities. For example, the American government is always looking for Russian speakers to work in organizations like the CIA and the FCC. Not to mention the fact that the country is one of the world’s largest exporters of raw materials, including natural gas, gold, and petroleum – making it an ideal language to learn for business.
The best part is that not many people learn Russian as a second language, so studying it will definitely give you an edge while looking for a job. Plus, you can use Russian as a stepping-stone to other Slavic languages such as Ukrainian, Bulgarian, and Czech.
Why Learn Russian With Language Learning Software
When two languages are very similar, you might be able to learn one of them just by watching TV shows or reading the newspaper. For example, French people can understand some Spanish without studying. However, that’s not going to happen with Russian, as it’s a unique and challenging language that differs from its Slavic siblings. This way, students will need a proper course structure, and language learning software offers meticulously detailed study plans.
Language learning platforms that come with speaking exercises are also excellent to perfect your pronunciation. You’ll listen to native speakers slowly explaining how to make certain sounds and take advantage of speech recognition software to tell you where you need to improve. Additionally, these apps offer interactive exercises to help you memorize the Cyrillic alphabet and vocabulary. Last but not least, language learning software comes with grammar lessons that explain the complicated declensions and help you understand the vagueness of Russian verb forms. As a great bonus, some language learning apps provide interesting information about Russia’s fascinating culture – perfect for getting trip ideas and entertainment recommendations.
Recommended Language Learning Apps for Russian
LinguaLift is the closest you can get to a language textbook. It doesn’t provide interactive games, but it makes up for that with thorough, easy-to-follow explanations and a big focus on Russian culture. The language learning app starts by teaching the Cyrillic alphabet while introducing basic vocabulary, making sure you have a smooth learning experience. All students get a personalized roadmap that takes into account individual starting points and objectives, and you can learn on the go through the intuitive mobile app. Lessons offer a diversified set of exercises to keep things exciting, including two videos: one for shadowing and another just for fun. The best part is that you can test LinguaLift yourself by completing the first three classes for free.
Although Busuu only goes up to B2 level, it offers one of the most intuitive platforms on the market. Busuu provides flashcards to teach vocabulary, writing exercises, and dialogues read by native speakers to hone your listening skills. By ranking words from ‘weak’ to ‘strong’, the software makes it easy to understand which vocabulary you need to improve. Plus, Busuu comes with a built-in social platform that allows you to speak with fellow students and native speakers. You can ask for feedback on a specific exercise or make new friends while learning Russian. All of this is available at your fingertips through Busuu’s mobile app, and you can try it out for yourself by taking advantage of the company’s limited free version.
Pimsleur is ideal if you want to learn how to speak Russian fast. It’s completely audio-based, meaning that you can take your lessons while commuting or multitasking. Pimsleur is available on both mobile and desktop, and you can download the content and listen to it offline. Premium users get extra resources, though. Besides the audio lessons, students can improve their skills with flashcards and a few interactive games. Additionally, Pimsleur is great to learn more about Russian culture, as each 30-minute lesson includes a slot reserved for cultural trivia. If you’re traveling to Russia soon and want to know your way around the language, you can start by trying out the first lesson of Pimsleur’s Russian course for free.
The Challenges of Learning Russian
There’s a reason why most people think of Russian as one of the hardest languages to learn. If you aren’t fluent in any Slavic language and are starting from scratch, there’s a lot you’ll need to learn. Cyrillic and Latin alphabets are quite different, and you’ll have to learn 33 new letters (as well as their sounds). Thankfully, Russian is a phonetic language, meaning that you pronounce words the same way you spell them. However, pronunciation can be quite complex because it uses sounds that you don’t find in English. Even letters that both languages share, such as D or P, have different pronunciations. On top of that, Russians are known for using a lot of slang – even the President uses it when addressing the media – making it more challenging to understand the locals.
Russian declensions are complicated, too. Unlike English, Russian has six declensions (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental, and rental) that change the endings of adjectives, pronouns, or nouns according to three criteria – case, gender, and number. On the flip side, verb conjugation is easier, as there are only two verb forms: perfective and imperfective. Still, this comes with the downside of being too vague, and students usually find it difficult to understand if a sentence is referencing something that happened in the past, present, or future.
Best Ways To Learn Russian Online
There’s no way around the fact that language learning apps will give you a good head start. But the best way to learn Russian quickly is to immerse yourself in the language, which you won’t be able to do by just doing exercises for one hour a day. So, we recommend supplementing your studies with some entertainment.
Russia is the country with the highest education level in the world, and books are extremely cheap. This means there are many Russian books for you to bury your head in. You can’t go wrong with the classics, so we suggest reading The Brothers Karamazov or Anna Karenina in their original form. Although you can find Russian movies on streaming services, Russia is more well known for its traditional entertainment venues. Stage Russia is the best place to stream plays, ballet, and opera shows with English subtitles – perfect for honing your listening and speaking skills while having fun.