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Notes in Russian

Since I'm starting my Russian studies now, I want to try something new. In the past I've wasted a good amount of time looking through my notes trying to find if I had written notes on a certain word. So now I want to try and keep a small fifty cent notebook just for words I've written notes for, but alphabetised so that I can quickly look to see if I have notes for a certain word. And I want to dedicate more pages to letters that start many words and less to letters that start fewer words, and none to letters that start no words for example I'm guessing ъ, ь, and ы. And then I want to divide the pages of each letter into pages that alphabetize the second letter, -Аи -Ам -Ач -Ая. Can anyone who knows Russian, give me off the top of your head, to whatever extent, some advice on how I should put this together.

November 8, 2015



I would recommend taking notes without any particular order. Just write down everything you find interesting or useful, and re-read your notes from time to time. From my experience, the more sophisticated system you plan to adopt, the more is the chance that you'll drop it altogether in frustration.

Also, if you want to keep a list of words, I'd recommend you to use a Google spreadsheet. This way, you'll be able to sort your list by alphabet, by parts of speech, etc. You can also use some flashcard app supporting import from Google spreadsheets. For example, here is the spreadsheet I kept while learning French on Duolingo and later on Busuu. The columns (Text 1, Text 2, etc.) are named so that I could import my list into Flashcards Deluxe on my iPhone. I used the following columns: French word, translation into Russian, declensions (if any), part of speech, lesson or unit where I first met this word.

Apart from this list, I used a notebook where I wrote down anything I wanted to remember, including some Duolingo sentences with translations, and sometimes wrote exercises (mostly declensions of verbs).


I'm going to check out your suggestions, but I like to keep my language note taking on paper, because I'm not always studying at my house, plus I like to review on the road.

Also as I think about the idea, I found that it would require I know (and/or practice) the alphabet and specifically the order, which will be helpful as I continue to learn the language. Also I'm writing my notes in cursive so this will just be another way for me to practice my cursive.


Amazing list of French words! How long did it take you to write it?

And you have some typos here and there (écrire, vélo, quatre-vingts...). ;)


I made them during half a year while I was learning French on Duolingo and Busuu. Thanks, I'll look into typos!


What you are looking for is called a frequency dictionary, you can find one here:
If you sort and sum, you will get something like this:
98443 п
91798 с
90076 в
85422 н
77084 о
56290 и
52021 к
49126 т
41274 д
35032 б
34369 м
28739 з
28556 ч
27426 р
24895 у
22221 г
17911 я
15540 а
13774 э
13568 л
11748 ж
8749 х
8069 е
4693 ш
3800 ф
2508 ц
533 щ
511 ю
31 й
First column here represents the overall frequency of words, started with the letter (instances per million words)


Since I cant read the website, I need to ask. I'm sure you gave me what I want, so thank you. But just to be sure is this frequency in usage or the dictionary. In other words say considering all Russian words only one started with п, but it was a word like "I" that gets used all the time, then it would have low frequency in the dictionary, but high frequency in usage.


This is the usage frequency.


If what you want is words, to say, make a vocabulary list, then these site will be best for you:




I hope that this helps. Удачи вам))


I looked up the Russian alphabet and in print all letters have capital and lower case versions, in cursive though only ъ, ь, and ы have only a lower case version, which tells me if they have no capital letter then they are letters that never start a word. Am I correct? And are there more?


The first thought I had was old-fashioned index cards for flashcards—English on one side, Russian on the other, and there would be plenty of space for notes (such as different case endings for the nouns, etc).

This way, you wouldn't have to worry about alphabetizing, you could just put them in piles that make sense to you (nouns, verbs, functions words), or you could just whiz through the whole deck of cards a few times a day and eventually remove the ones that you're confident you really know, and add new cards for words encountered in new lessons.

You could shuffle them, and retire some to storage, or pick a few that you really want to focus on for a while—in short, it's a pretty flexible medium.

Also, the act of actually writing with pen (or pencil!) on paper often helps fix things in your memory better than typing, and a deck of cards is easy to carry around and flip through a few quickly when you have idle moments in your day.

Everyone learns differently though, so there's no one best method for everyone.

Good luck, I know I'm enjoying the Russian course, and it's not quite as hard as I had imagined.


идти - to go

я иду - I am going
ты идёшь - you are going
вы идёте - you are going
он/она/оно идёт - he/she/it is going
они идут - they are going

я/ты/он шёл - I/you/he went
она шла - she went
оно шло - it went
вы/они шли - you/they went

я/ты/он пошёл - I/you/he went
она пошла - she went
оно пошло - it went
вы/они пошли - you/they went

я буду идти - I will go ты будешь идти - you will go
вы будете идти - you will go
он/она/оно/они будут идти - they will go
я пойду - I will go
ты пойдёшь - you will go
вы пойдёте - you will go
он/она/оно пойдёт - he/she/it will go
они пойдут - they will go

How about participles? Идущий, идущая, идущее, идущие, шедший, шедшая, шедшее, шедшие, идущим, идущей, идущими, пришедшим, пришедшей, пришедшими.

And then come the cases changing all nouns and adjectives.

I am a native and I think Russian is awfully hard. Never in my whole life, I have seen "perfect" Russian from anywhere but the books (and I doubt some of them nevertheless).

UPD: Sorry for the mistake with adding "приходящий", etc. There is another verb for "to go" — ходить.


Why discourage a guy who enjoys learning Russian? Yes it is hard, but it's great he finds it "not hard as he expected".


Maybe, it is some sort of revenge for my unsuccessful study of English! :) Any distant language is hard.

Actually, the optimistic point of my comment is that it is OK to make mistakes if you are not going to become a writer, and if sometimes you do think Russian is hard, it is not because something is wrong with you, but because it is really hard.

One example I find funny. The En-Ru course teaches to translate "I have" as "у меня есть", discouraging the use of "я имею". However, do you know what seems to be the most frequent question in the reverse Ru-En course? It is, why I cannot translate "I have" as "я имею"? :) Here Russians themselves is being taught to use their language correctly.


That's because otherwise Duo is pretty literal :-)


I also agree "я имею" should be accepted as a translation of "I have". Perhaps, with a note "Note you're using a non-common translation". Like the notes you get, when you make a typo.


Really not that hard? Have you already gotten to the cases? :)

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