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Learning Russian can be a challenge, but there are ways to make it easier such as using high-quality tools and a variety of study methods. This article shows you 6 different ways to learn and improve your Russian. There are traditional ways, such as textbooks and courses, but also some modern methods like podcasts and YouTube channels.
There are over 258 million Russian speakers and it’s one of the most spoken languages in the world. It’s the official language of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It can be a gateway to other similar languages, such as Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, and more.
Apart from the sheer number of people that speak it, there are many other reasons to learn Russian. Some of the most famous literary works, such as War and Peace and Crime and Punishment, were originally written in Russian. It’s also one of the 6 official languages of the United Nations and is becoming an incredibly important language on the world stage. It’s also taught as a second language in many other Eastern European countries. This guide can help you find some of the best ways to learn Russian so you’ll be able to converse with a larger number of people.
How Long Will It Take You To Learn Russian?
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
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Russia might not be the easiest language to learn, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! With the right tools, it’ll be a breeze. One of the best ways to learn is to use a variety of resources to study. For example, you can learn the Cyrillic alphabet with an app or YouTube tutorial, but an online course is better for learning the basics of grammar. And now there are so many free resources available that you don’t have to pay a dime to learn!
Another key to learning effectively is to have a consistent learning routine. If you only study Russian for a day or two each week, chances are you won’t improve very quickly. It’s better to dedicate a few minutes every day, or a longer time a few times a week to see continual improvement and remember what you’ve previously learned. But to do that, you’ll need a way to learn that keeps you engaged. Check out the list below to find some of the best resources to learn Russian.
Language apps have become more and more popular in the past few years. It’s a great way to start learning a language from the comfort of your home. Most apps are interactive and give you incentives to continue studying every day. This helps to stick with your learning routine. The apps below, Rocket Russian, Mondly, and Babbel are high-quality apps that will increase your Russian vocabulary and ability to speak in no time.
Rocket Russian is the most comprehensive app on this list because it covers all the essential language learning skills, such as vocabulary, grammar, speaking, and listening. In every lesson, you’ll hear a conversation between two native Russian speakers. Then, it’s be broken down to teach important language and grammar topics. You can try Rocket Russian free for 7 days, or read more about it in this Rocket Russian review.
Mondly is the best app for beginners. It teaches the basics of Russian grammar and vocabulary through a series of short and interactive lessons. It gives you the flexibility to study the topics that interest you and also has unique features that track your learning progress. You can try Mondly for free for 7 days, or read more about it in our Mondly review.
Here at Langoly, Babbel is one of our favorite apps. You learn Russian through a series of interactive lessons that teach all language skills, such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The lessons are short so you can complete a few every day. And each Babbel course is made by professional linguists, so the Russian course is unique to the language and isn’t just a copy-and-paste version of another language course. You can try a free lesson on Babbel, or read more about it in this Babbel review.
If a language app isn’t right for you, an online course might be a better choice. They are laid out in a clear way that shows you exactly what to study next. And since it’s part of the same course, each lesson builds on what you already know, without wasting your time. The courses below, Russian Uncovered, Grammar Hero, and Sistema Kalinka are some of the best options out there. They’ll teach you the basics and get you speaking Russian fast.
If you like stories, Russian Uncovered is the right course for you! Each unit of the course covers one chapter of a story. You listen to the chapter, which is completely in Russian, and then take video lessons that teach the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation you heard. By the end of the unit, you understand exactly what you heard at the beginning. You can try Russian Uncovered for free for 7 days.
Grammar Hero is meant for intermediate (B1) learners, and teaches “grammar in action.” The idea is that you’ll learn grammar in context and be able to use it when speaking or listening to Russian. Because the Grammar Hero course was made specifically for learning Russian, it tackles the most difficult areas that learners often struggle with. There isn’t a free trial, but there is a money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the course.
Sistema Kalinka offers a complete course with videos, audio, worksheets, and even a personal tutor. It’s a self-guided course, so if you already know some Russian, you can begin at a more advanced level. There are over 150 videos with accompanying practice exercises and worksheets. If you have a question, you can email your personal Russian tutor, who can also guide you through the course. You can try Sistema Kalinka for 7 days with a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied.
It’s undeniable that one of the most effective ways to learn a language is with a teacher. In the past, it was necessary to go to a school or other learning center and sit in a class with many other students. Thanks to online learning platforms, this process is way easier. You can now connect with a tutor that lives in Russia, or anywhere in the world, to take private lessons from your home. Italki, Preply, and Russificate are 3 trustworthy platforms that can help you find a qualified Russian tutor.
Italki is a massive online learning platform for all languages and currently has 900 Russian teachers. You can search for a teacher based on what country they live in, availability, and price. Italki is a secure platform, so your money is safe. Most teachers offer a discounted trial lesson so you can try them to see if you like their teaching style. You can also read more about the platform in this italki review.
Preply is a similar platform that has over 500 Russian teachers. You can easily see each teacher’s profile, including ratings, past student reviews, and availability. All lessons take place within the Preply online classroom on their site, so you don’t have to reveal any personal information. Preply also offers a satisfaction guarantee. You can take a discounted trial lesson, but if you aren’t happy with your teacher, you can try a lesson with a different teacher for free. Read more about it in this Preply review.
Russificate is a platform exclusively for Russian learners to find a qualified teacher. It’s a good choice for any level because the curriculum is tailored to your needs. Beginners will learn the basics of Russian grammar and vocabulary, but intermediate and advanced speakers can take business Russian, conversation, Russian for travel, and more. All classes are done on Skype, and you can try your first lesson for free.
Using books to learn a language has always been a popular choice. They’re easy to use, require no technology, and you can bring a book with you anywhere. If you ever took a language class in school, you almost certainly used a book. But now there are many choices out there designed for self-study. The three books on this list, Complete Russian, Beginner’s Russian, and Russian for Dummies are excellent choices if you have a tutor or are studying on your own.
Complete Russian guides you through the language from the beginner level (A1) to upper intermediate (B1/B2). It focuses on the 4 skills of language learning: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. It’s a good choice for learners that have had some exposure to the language but are still at a beginner or low intermediate level. Reviewers found the book to be helpful but learning with it requires dedication and hard work. See what they had to say here.
Beginner’s Russian is designed as a self-study guide for complete beginners. Each lesson teaches grammar and other important topics by using everyday situations, such as introductions, jobs, and dining out. The interactive online workbook gives you access to audio from native Russian speakers as well as additional practice activities. See what reviewers had to say here.
Russian for Dummies is an introduction to the Russian language for beginners. It focuses on grammar, frequently used words, and how to handle common situations. The book includes an audio CD that lets you hear conversations in Russian and a mini-dictionary of frequently-used words. Reviewers liked the grammar explanations, but recommend learning the Cyrillic alphabet first. See what other people thought here.
Watching YouTube videos is a more unconventional way to learn Russian, but is a great way to practice listening and understanding. The video hosts are native Russian speakers and use colloquial Russian, so you can hear how people really talk, not just textbook Russian. The three YouTube channels below have hundreds of videos and tons of subscribers. You can find typical lessons or entertaining videos about Russian culture.
Easy Russian is part of the larger Easy Languages project. The video hosts interview people on the streets of Russia about common topics. It’s an excellent way to hear how people in Russia really speak and learn some modern speech. They also post Super Easy videos that teach the basics of the Russian language in easy-to-understand speech. They post 2 new videos every month.
Anastasia lives in St. Petersberg, Russia, and has different series of videos. Some teach Russian language and grammar, and others are vlogs that show life around Russia and other places she has traveled. These videos are good for intermediate learners because she speaks entirely in Russian, but there are English subtitles, as well. She has hundreds of videos for you to check out.
In the Be Fluent in Russian videos, Fedor walks you through the basics of the Russian language. He has videos on common phrases, the alphabet, and grammar topics. There are also vlogs about his life, Russian traditions, and interviews with other Russian speakers. The Be Fluent in Russian YouTube channel has tons of videos for you to watch, so you’ll never get bored!
Podcasts are another non-traditional, but effective, way to learn a language. They are great for practicing listening and understanding. And since they are audio-based, you can listen to a podcast wherever you can bring your phone or other devices. It’s a convenient way for busy people to practice. RussianPod101, Slow Russian, and Russian With Max are 3 options that have hundreds of episodes and will help you understand how Russian is spoken.
RussianPod101 isn’t just for podcasts, but that’s the best feature of this app and platform. There are hundreds of podcast-style lessons that teach everything from basic vocabulary to Russian literature. It’s good for all learners because there are 5 different levels that go from absolute beginner to advanced. There is also additional practice material such as quizzes and vocabulary lists. You can try RussianPod101 for free, or read more about it in this review.
In each episode of the Slow Russian podcast, they talk about a cultural or historical topic related to Russia. And, as the name suggests, they speak slowly enough for upper-beginners and intermediate learners to understand. You can listen to the episodes for free, or download the podcasts with accompanying pdf for a small fee.
The Russian With Max podcast has over 200 lessons about interesting Russian cultural topics. It’s more advanced than the Slow Russian podcast and is best for intermediate and advanced learners. You can listen to the podcast for free on a variety of platforms, or purchase a subscription that includes transcripts and practice questions for each episode.
Learning Russian can be a rewarding and fun endeavor. And it can be made easier if you have the right tools for the job. Whether you prefer to take a course, study with an app, or listen to podcasts, it’s important to stick with it and consistently practice. It won’t happen overnight, but with dedication and hard work, you’ll be speaking Russian before you know it!
Want to learn more? Check out our Russian resource page.
The US Department of State says that it will take 1,100 class hours (or 44 weeks) to learn Russian to a proficient level. But these numbers vary depending on your natural ability to acquire language, or if you already speak a language that is similar to Russian.
To see how long it will take you to learn Russian check out this Fluency Calculator.
The best way to learn Russian quickly is with constant practice and dedicating the time necessary to learning. Studying a little every day is one of the most effective ways to see continual improvement and remember what you have learned. And to learn very quickly, the more hours you can study, the faster you will learn.
Thanks to the internet, there are so many ways you can learn Russian from home or on your own. One of the most effective ways for beginners is to use a language app. This will teach you large amounts of vocabulary and basic grammar. Once you have an intermediate level, it’s a good idea to start taking online classes with a Russian tutor, or listening to Russian podcasts or YouTube videos so you can hear how people actually speak the language.
According to the US Department of State, Russian is considered a difficult language to learn for English speakers. This is because there are significant linguistic differences between the two languages. For example, Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but English uses the Latin alphabet, and nouns in Russian have different genders, but this concept doesn’t really exist in English.
You can obtain a basic level of Russian in many different ways, such as using a language app or studying a textbook. But if you really want to become fluent in Russian, especially in speaking, you will need to practice with a native speaker. A teacher can help you correct your pronunciation or fill in any gaps you may have. If taking classes doesn’t fit your budget, you can use an app like Tandem or HelloTalk to find a Russian language exchange partner.
Learning Russian for free is definitely possible, but might take a little more effort than subscribing to an app or a class. This is because almost all language resources, such as RussianPod101 or Duolingo, offer some of their content for free but not all of it. You can also watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts in Russian to improve listening and understanding.