1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. Phonetic or Cyrillic ?


Phonetic or Cyrillic ?

Hi so I'm going to continue doing the Russian course but I'm wondering, is it better to use Cyrillic or just learn it phonetically ? I know a bit of Cyrillic but I'm sure

November 16, 2015



Cyrillic is much better. When we discussed it, we couldn't even tell the transliteration method used - it doesn't seem to be one of the standard transliteration methods (it's not even truly phonetic) and even those would be of questionable use if you actually want to learn Russian.

Russian just uses Cyrillic so you really should learn it in Cyrillic. The only reasoning I'd get for using transliteration would be to "try" the first few lessons to decide whether you want to continue (and then switch to Cyrillic). Otherwise... It's just a whole lot of wasted time IMO, especially because Cyrillic is so easy to learn.


I would suggest learning Cyrillic. There are good reasons for that:

  • Cyrillic is one of the easiest foreign alphabets. Its structure is similar to that of a Latin alphabet because they had the same origin (and because the Cyrillic typography was updated in the early 18th century to look similar to Latin antiquas, not like a ridiculous medieval manuscript). I mean, ФИЗИКА looks different from PHYSICS but learning symbols like 物理学 or ぶつりがく is way harder.
  • If you cannot read this rather simple script, you will be very limited in your learning materials and you won't be able to read almost anything on the streets if you ever go to Russia (except advertising and some shop's names).


Always learn the language by its writing system, in this case Cyrillic. In the beginning it might be hard but there is no use for learning Russian phonetically. Everybody communicating in Russian will use the Cyrillic alphabet. Consider it a part of the language ;) Good luck!


Just adding another vote for Cyrillic. If you have any plans to use the language at. all. outside of Duolingo you'll need Cyrllic, the transliteration method used on Duolingo is a bit dubious anyway, and learning Cyrillic is a relatively small investment of time which will reap great benefits for any Russian learner in the long term.

ETA: I'm not sure why you're being downvoted for an honest question, don't take it too much to heart.


Definitely learn Cyrillic if you're trying to learn Russian.

You might find this course helpful, just the first lesson. Other than that I don't recommend it. http://fsi-languages.yojik.eu/languages/russian.html

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.