1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. Anyone else have trouble read…


Anyone else have trouble reading romanized Cyrillic, but not Cyrillic?

I've just started Russian and it's the first language I've attempted that used an alphabet so much unlike English. And I've tried to use Cyrillic as much as I can, but I've noticed something strange. During a lesson I'll have something that starts with 'nasha' and if it's in that format I'm like, "Nasha? What's nasha?!'. But switching to Cyrillic is like "Oh, наша! Yep I know that." Can anyone else only read Russian in, well, Russian?

March 8, 2016



Maybe you have a great visual memory or visual recognition just like me :) When you see latin alphabet you forget completely about Russian, but when you see Cyrillic you automatically switch to Russian


I do this very thing!


Everything takes time to get used to, and when it comes to reading, the language matters as much as the alphabet. Given that you are unlikely to encounter transliterated Russian language material, I would not waste time getting used to transliteration, provided that you have working knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet. Mind you, it took me ages to read Japanese kana fast, but reading it slowly came a few days after I had all the symbols under my belt.

I think, that is part of the problem foreigners in Moscow will have with the Moscow Subway station names. Bagratchionovksaya? Tagansko-Krasnopresnenskaya Line and Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line? Shchukinskaya? Taganskaya station with change to Marksistskaya station? Yeah, everyone knows how to pronounce that.

A fun fact: I recently noticed they added announcements in English on some lines. For one reason or another, they decided to refer to lines by their numbers. No one knows them—however, they are marked on the map, so an unlucky foreigner might have a chance after all.


They should just accept that everyone calls the lines by their colours. Ремонт на станциях Калужско-Рижской линии? Where in the Heaven's name is that? Does that affect me if I only use the grey and the green lines?


Definitely. I remember someone posting a link for 10 finger typing using the Russian keyboard (https://vse10.ru/) and I couldn't make sense of the site's name... Until I saw the header in Cyrillic writing and realised that it's probably всё - всё10, that makes sense like using all ten fingers! But 'vse'? I had no clue.


It is все. It says right on the first page, «Хочешь бесплатно научиться набирать на клавиатуре вслепую, используя все 10 пальцев?» ("Do you want to learn touch typing using all 10 fingers, for free?")


Yes, I am the same! My teacher used to write to me in romanized cyrillic and I didn't like it :D I got myself a Russian keyboard in the end. But it's good you are so comfortable with the cyrillic alphabet! удачи вам! :D


Usually I find that when learning a different alphabet for a different language, it makes more sense in its original alphabet. I'm not that far in Russian to be able to do that, but I do that with Japanese and sometimes Korean. :p (i.e, what's ookami? Oh, it's おおかみ!I know that's wolf). I understand a little bit of Cyrillic, but even that little bit is enough to have me messed up if I try to learn a language using it by reading only romanized versions of words. Basically, I only use the romanization while learning a new alphabet, and then after some practice it just makes sense.


I just don't expose myself to romanized Cyrillic. But I probably could read it if I wanted, since I know all the sounds by heart.


Romanized cyrillic reminds me of Polish. Pretty strange to see.

[deactivated user]

    Latin works for Polish. It does not for Russian, in my opinion.


    Not to mention that there are several different "official" transliteration systems out there, because they do not offer a 1-to-1 mapping with the Cyrillic alphabet.
    Hence, if you come across a transliteration of a word that you do not know, you don't know how to spell it in Cyrillic, and so cannot look it up in a dictionary.


    It's not just you. I find transliterations very hard to read (and also very ugly).


    back in old days when mobile services were expensive and we had to type text messages on nokia phones, you could sent 160 latin/english letters in one sms and only 80 cyrillic. back then many people learned to transliterate to save money.


    I have that happen all too often. The other thing that I do is I'll forget to switch off my Cyrillic keyboard and I'll be translating another language, such as French, into English but using the Cyrillic alphabet!


    I do not prefer Romanized anything. Give me a shape and a sound that goes with it. If I can stick to Russian long enough for it to become a permanent resident in my brain, I hope to use this skill to help with Japanese (because nobody has time for subtitles)


    Same. When I'm reading romanized text, I completely blank out and have to read it veeeeery slowwwwwly in my head. When I hear the sounds in my head, I automatically convert it to Cyrillic in my head and I realize - Oh, I know that!

    Also, transliterated Russian is very ugly to read. I can't stand it.


    Like some other allready wrote I am also confused by the romanized spelling of russian words.

    For me this course is just refreshing, I started learning Russian in the age of ten years. And it was a bit like being in the first form because we learned writing and reading for every cyrillic letter in the first two months. The first sentence we learned to speak was "что́ это?", but the first word we were able to write was карта :-)

    So the romanized style does not activate my russian thinking brain parts ;-) And real russian texts will (nearly) never show up in romanized caracters. If you want to learn greak or chinese you have to learn the specific letters/signs as well if you want to be able to read anything.

    But on the other hand: If you want to type cyrillic you have to know the right key for every letter. And to "redesign" the keyboard with cyrillic letters is maybe not everyone's taste :-)

    So I nearly never use the www-pages of that course; I use the Android- or WindowsPhone app. There you have to use the cyrillic alphabet - at least I still did not find any Aa-Яя switch ;-)

    Of course you have to switch between latin and cyrillic letters depending on the demanded answer. But thats not difficult to handle.


    Can we get the choice to leave the Russian in Cyrillic when we are ready for it?


    When doing lessons, there should be a little slider Aa-Яя in one of the corners - top left, I think. Clicking that should put the Russian text into Cyrillic.


    Thank you! I can't believe it's taken me two weeks to notice this!

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