https://www.duolingo.com/SorrisoMW

Which alphabet do you use?

Since I just started a topic about encouraging to learn Cyrillic, I would like to gather some data on how many people actually use the Latin transcription.

So please tell me in this poll which system you are using: http://goo.gl/1FC2Hm

Thank you!

I know this is not necessarily representative for the majority of the learners, but it might nevertheless be interesting. Also, did you know Cyrillic before starting the course? Or did you have to learn it from scratch. If so, was it difficult for you?

Edit: Thank you all for your answers! We got some very interesting results there. I already suspected that most people would use Cyrillic but almost everybody? Seems like my fear was unnecessary. :-)

November 24, 2015

85 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/pseudocreobotra

I use Cyrillic. I did learn Cyrillic when I first became interested in learning Russian a year ago or so... So, I did know it before I started the course but I still had to learn it from scratch, just not with the course. I found it to be pretty easy, one or two hours of work maybe until I was reasonably familiar with the letters?

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut

I use Cyrillic, but I knew how to read it fluently already. I find the transliteration nigh on unreadable!

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/draquila

No one should ever learn a language transliterated unless they are only interested in picking up common phrases for business or travel. It's of no use to anyone but tourists.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bducdt

I am using Cyrillic -- I didn't know it coming in, but when I started the course I also downloaded TenguGo's Cyrillic learning app. It's pretty easy, actually.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Cephlin

I used the memrise Cyrillic alphabet learner and it was also very straight forward. Surprisingly straight forward.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

I already knew Cyrillic before I started the course, I've read enough that I can read Cyrillic letters as easily as Latin. In fact I find it difficult to read Russian when transliterated. Besides, I hate transliterations. Russian is a beautiful language but it was made to be written in Cyrillic. It looks so ugly when transliterated.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Rohelohe

I agree, the transliteration is also often quite off. I would prefer that the course would skip it altogether because in real life no one is using the transliteration and one must learn the alphabet. Or maybe it does stop using it at a later stage? I just started the course and haven't obviously progressed much yet. Of course, I have previous knowledge of Russian so maybe I'm being a bit too harsh towards people who find Cyrillic impossible.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

I never used the transliteration here so I don't have any idea how good or bad it is.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Cephlin

It's pretty bad most of the time. Privet and da are about as obvious as it gets. But a lot of the ch and shch, sh, zh don't look very nice in a latin alphabet. (Don't have the Cyrillic alphabet installed so I can't show you which characters they are but mostly the ones that look a little like our w).

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

These ones? ч, щ, ш, ж? I did notice that борщт is transliterated as borshcht, and that just looks terrible.

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Cephlin

Yeah, they tend to look terrible, but it uses more of my brain to learn both ways, so it should stick in there better.

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Geniellamas

Many Russian Americans transliterate when texting or using Facebook but I agree it's not necessary since you know how everything sounds.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/kosmozhuk

It beats me, how anyone can learn a language not using its alphabet. The idea looks terribly wrong to me.

I've been taught French at school, taught myself English and now am learning German. Every time I started with the alphabet.

How can you read Russian, not having mastered alphabet? And what's the use of learning a language if you cannot read a text in it?

In Russian there is an idiom: "начать с азов" - "to start with A's" (Az is the old name for the letter A), meaning "to start learning/explaining something from the very basic concept". As one can see from the idiom, the basic concept of Russian language is considered to be the alphabet.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/knittingirl

I can barely even read those Latin transcriptions :D By the way, you should have an edit button on the bottom right of your post, next to delete & lingot counter, which you can use to change the forum this appears in.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SorrisoMW

Oh thanks, I didn't know, that I could change the forum as well. :-)

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

Cyrillic. Latin transliterations are WAY too confusing for me. I can't tell if "-ii" is -ий or -ии or if я is ya or ja.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

Cyrillic, learned when I was a teenager (as you can see from my little portrait, that was a long time ago). The transliteration really slows me down when a lesson opens up transliterated.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/xaghtaersis

Cyrillic, I learnt cyrillic on my own a year ago from a transliteration chart.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Geniellamas

I only use Cyrillic and I knew Cyrillic before the course. I learned it within an hour. I don't like reading transliterated Russian.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Javret

I use latin at first, and i am slowing integrating in cyrillic. I can fully understand the cyrillic, and it has helped me pronounce the words more clearly by reading them in latin. I am going towards speaking ukrainian more than i am reading it. (level 8 ukrainian btw)

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mizinamo

I use Cyrillic. And I've been able to read Cyrillic since I was young - learned it from a book on languages in my father's bookshelf. Even when I didn't know any Russian to go along with it :)

For typing, I use a Firefox add-on called "Transliterator" which lets you switch any text input box to another language. It comes with a couple of dozen transliterations, one of which is a phonetic Russian one, so I can type the letters "yashchik" and it comes out as "ящик".

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/MariIlona

Ah, this sounds very useful to me! I've been pretty dumb about figuring out how to get my computer to type in Cyrillic, so I've been doing the Latinised version - it's really difficult because when I try to put Duolingo into Cyrillic and type what I hear in Latin, I just get it wrong over and over (writing Y instead of I or vice versa, etc, it's never exactly right), so I put it back into Latin so that I can actually get through the exercises. It's really frustrating though because it means I'm not really learning Russian properly, just a phonetic version. I can't really read Cyrillic - I can generally read people's names (I read Russian sport websites a lot) but aside from that nothing. I want to learn though! I'm going to get that add-on! Thank you!!

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Cyrillic. I had a pretty good grasp of it before I started, but I've finished it off here except for a couple letters that I still try to read the English way. And I do not like transliterations, though I haven't used these much except right at the beginning.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

And, just to mention, my favorite way of learning Cyrillic was reading IKEA labels. :-D

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

KASTRULL

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

:-) I suppose that's what you would cook borscht in?

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

Looks similar. This piece of cookware is called кастрюля in Russian, so the name is hilarious for Russian speakers. It is like selling a box called BOXX or a table "TAYBLL".

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

Guess what IKEA do in Britain :-)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Arnauti

The Swedish word for it is kastrull, so if you write it in Cyrillic letters…

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

:-)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Theron126

I learned by comparing Russian and English names of Ukrainian train stations in Google Earth.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/zebrettino

Comparing English and Russian spellings of soccer teams helped me more than you can imagine.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Sounds like we're all crazy. :-)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Did anyone else learn Cyrillic in some similarly crazy way?

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

I learned it via rote memorization and excessive practice with щ. I kind of hated the letter щ. I lisped!

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

щ was never so bad for me, probably because I had already had to conquer the sound it makes in Polish. It's the same as "szcz".

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

Hm. What was the hardest letter for you, then?

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Probably ь and ъ, with х in close competition. I can never get the sound for х to be quite right.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

Try this: Move your tongue and get ready to say "k". But don't say "k"! Instead, keep your tongue there and try to say "h". The result is pretty close to the Russian х.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

That one has worked the best of all the explanations I've heard! Thanks! It still isn't right, but I think it's the best I've managed. :-)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

You might need to move your tongue around a bit. The sound х is a velar fricative. Velar means it's prononuced in the same position as k and g, and fricative means it's a hissing sound. Try modifying the sound slightly, but keep the same basic technique. I hope it helps you! (It's also the same sound as the ch in German, if that helps any.)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Yeah, I've heard it's the same as German. It's also the same as in Scottish "loch". I know how it should sound, it just doesn't sound that way when I say it. One of these days I will get it right, though.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

Keep practicing! Soon, you will get it. Motivation is the key. (Hopefully you'll get it. The letter щ felt impossible for me as well.)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

I sure hope so! Btw, do you know how to use ъ? That's one I haven't really found any explanation on.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

The letter ъ separates a hard consonant from a soft-indicating vowel. For example, if I wanted to combine об and ект, I would get обект (not a real word). But what I wanted the б to be hard? The е is making it soft! I would have to put a hard sign in there. объект (object). The hard sign is pronounced like a slight pause. Long enough to keep the letters separate. It's almost like saying two different words, об and ект, in rapid succession. Remember that the б still has to be hard, and so you still need that slight pause provided by the ъ.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Thanks! Do you have a pause after ь as well?

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

You don't. Instead, there's a bit of a glide. If I said пьют, it wouldn't be "pyut", but "pyyyut", holding out the palatalized пь for a bit so that it doesn't sound like пют.

As for final soft signs at the end of a word, I'm sure you know what to do there.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

No, I don't, actually. I may be at level 5, but I haven't even started Basics 2 yet. :-)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

Well, you palatalize the consonant. This video might hep. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdoCUN6QSb4

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Thanks!

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/TheHockeyist

No prob. Glad to help.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger

> I know how it should sound, it just doesn't sound that way when I say it.

You may be doing better than you think. Try listening to a recording of yourself saying х and comparing it to whatever you've been listening to for the sound.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Good idea, slogger! I'll try that. :-)

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Pedro771

I use Cyrillic. I learnt this when I was young (not yesterday…). I had a challenge with the keyboard, though. First I started to use ЙЦУКЕН keyboard set on my Mac, than based on hints received from other users I switched to phonetic keyboard set. I suffered a lot with ЙЦУКЕН keyboard set during the first days, and I am so happy to get rid of it. Phonetic keyboard set works perfectly for me, after few weeks I can type with ten fingers. Overall I enjoy using Cyrillic letters - gives a lot of fun. Transliterated text looks really odd, I did not even consider using it.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/poccem

Cyrillic. There's no point at all in learning the beautiful Russian language if I'm not going to write it how it's supposed to be written.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Twoquiche

Knew Cyrillic from when I took Russian as a beginner in my first year of university, although I didn't maintain the language at all. It wasn't tough, although my pronunciation of Ы probably still leaves something to be desired.... I imagine with the kind of spaced-repetition systems available now, like Anki, it would be extremely easy for people to pick it up without putting in much effort.

If you're not enjoying the phonetic approximation way of doing things, I strongly suggest getting transparent stickers for your keyboard, so that you can have both Latin and Russian alphabets available on the same keys, switching between them during lessons with one click of the floating language bar. If you do this, make sure that the Cyrillic letters are a different colour to your Latin letters, as otherwise it could get messy/confusing to look at.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/zebrettino

I knew absolutely no Cyrillic, but the video and the image linked in the intro page to the course really, really helped. I started with the Russian alphabet from the first lesson after getting a decent grip on the phonetics, I don't see much point in learning Russian without the alphabet, as I've never seen Russian transliterated anyway.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/swimmerzero

I am using Cyrillic exclusively. I decided to start learning Russian just a few days before the course went beta, and found some videos that helped me get familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet in preparation for the duolingo course.

It's a struggle reading Cyrillic, but I'm getting there. I switched the switch to transliterated characters one time, and thought that it looked like a completely different language, so I immediately switched back to Cyrillic.

I have found that hovering over a word to hear its pronunciation when I forget the sound of a Cyrillic letter to be much more helpful than relying on transliteration.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Urnus1

I use Cyrillic, which I learned on memrise in preparation for the release of this course. It wasn't that hard, and some of the transliterations aren't very accurate so it's best to primarily use Cyrillic in my opinion.

November 29, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/princessmiwi

I use both, I try to exercise cyrilic but I keep changing between them to try to match the latin version with the cyrillic version I plan on using only cyrillic in the future, but before I fully learn the alphabet and how to speak it that's too hard..

EDIT: I had never tried to learn cyrillic in my life. I exercise the first few lessons every day, when I feel I 'grasped' both the vocabulary and the cyrillic, I move on. It's a very slow process :p

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Akvamariin

Cyrillic, but at first I used the latin because of issues with the keyboard. It is my first time learning this alphabet. Sometimes I do a quick check how something looks in latin to understand which cyrillic letters should be used.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

I read one and have to type the other because I don't know my way around the Cyrillic keyboard. This sometimes seems to cause Duolingo to go into meltdown. I wish it were more consistent about showing the answers it expects in both formats.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bducdt

Do you use a Mac? If so when you choose the Cyrillic keyboard you can also click the keyboard language button and choose "show keyboard viewer."

If on Windows, maybe there's a similar feature, or you can get a picture from the internet of the layout and use that as a reference :)

Or if you want to spend a couple dollars and wait a couple days, maybe you can buy some stickers to put on your keyboard or a keyboard dust cover that has the other language.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

I suppose so. It's all so slow! There's a lot to be said for paper and pens.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Bducdt

Practice makes perfect! You'll slowly get faster at typing it. I bet you weren't so fast at typing when you first started English. :)

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda

No, and I didn't have a job, so I was able to spend six weeks learning!

Talking of which, I'd better go and do something useful.

November 24, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/azarashisan

I use Cyrillic and I learned it by myself before starting the course though I'm still very slow at reading. Didn't know how to type in Russian at first but got used to it fairly quickly because Duolingo forces me to type in Russian all the time which is nice. It's really fun to type in Russian!

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/alxhntr

For some reason I decided to use the latin format when I started the course, I am not looking to go to the cyrillic alphabet since I vaguely learned it a few years ago but I can't find a way to switch back! help? am I just being silly?

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

There's a switch in the upper left hand corner that shows Aa on English and Яя on Cyrillic. Next to the Tips & Notes button.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LinhNguyenRXL

I'm using Cyrillic. I have studied Russian long long time ago so I knew the alphabet coming in, but I never learned to type it so typing is an entirely separate problem. But I think using Cyrillic is a much better idea if you want to take your Russian studies seriously (using transliterations just doesn't make sense to me).

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/SiblingCreature

I'm one of the few who selected "Both" on the survey. I mostly stick with the Cyrillic script, but sometimes switch to the transliterations briefly when I'm trying to get a handle on how an unfamiliar word is pronounced.

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

On the survey? Is there something I've missed?

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/A_User

Oh, now I realize. :-)

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/UrielZamoraPerez

I use the Cyrillic Alphabet

November 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Cephlin

I use both, that way I am learning the same thing twice and thus creating more neural connections therefore making it easier to learn the language.

November 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/mmonteiro30

I primarily use latin to learn the first time, then go over each lesson in Cyrillic.

November 27, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/RoseDG1

I don't understand how phonics work, so it's just as easy to just use (and learn) Cyrillic. :)

November 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Briyonc

Anybody know how to activate cyrillic alphabet to use it on Duolingo? I followed the prompts and didnt end up being able to use it in Duolingo. It just changed my right click menu to cyrillic.

Any windows 10 users know how to do this?

February 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Geniellamas

Did you get this fixed? Go to language preferences and add a language pack. Right click on your toolbar (next to date and time) and check Show touch keyboard button to switch from Russian and English.

February 15, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Briyonc

I cant seem to fix it. I updated to Windows10 a month ago and really wish that I hadnt. Its so problematic. I have to open a seperate cyrillic keyboard website and copy and paste my answers into duolingo because I just couldnt get it to work.

February 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

Is there no "Keyboard" in your "Settings"? Major janguages has long ceased to be a headache on big OS's. Just remember that you do not need to change the interface language of your system. What you want is to just add a language and a keyboard layout to your input methods.

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Briyonc

I seem to have the Russian keyboard activated under the option but I can`t activate it here.

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc

Err... Does Windows 10 have language bar or something like that? Maybe Shift+Alt does switch the layouts (or maybe it is Shift+Shift or Ctrl+Shift)?

February 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Briyonc

I have done it!! Once installed, you press the Windows Key and the space bar. Thank you both!

February 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Geniellamas

You should probably post something on their forums: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10

February 17, 2016
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