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How to study Russian + what you need to know

Всем привет! I have been studying Russian for a few months now and I'm now starting to get a deep understanding of the language. I was just remembering when I first started and I hated the language so much, haha. Now I absolutely love it, and I'd like to share some advice with you all that I've learned so far on my journey.

  1. Listen to real Russian early on. I recommend watching (or passively listening to) a few of this guy's videos a day: https://www.youtube.com/user/ThisIsHorosho It's a Youtube channel where the host shows the funny internet videos of the day and comments on them. It's a really good method to start to understand the sound and rhythm of the language. Don't focus on trying to understand, just on the sound. At least, when you start off.

  2. Learn the Cyrillic alphabet. Honestly you cannot hope to learn Russian with just the transliteration. You may need to review reading Cyrillic words for a few days or weeks before you begin studying intensively. Then, download a Russian keyboard on your computer. It'll be hard to learn the location of every key for the first few days, but you can do it. You can also buy stickers to put over your keys, but that isn't necessary.

  3. Wiktionary.com is the single greatest language resource I have ever found. For Russian, it will give you the IPA, gender, declension, and everything you could ever want to know about any verb, noun, preposition, и т.д.

  4. Don't sweat the noun declension so much in the beginning. Trust me, just print out a chart and use it to figure out the right ending as you need it. Memorize them slowly over time if you're like me

  5. Understand a few important grammatical/general concepts before you even start. Here are the most important things:

-the Russian alphabet is very regular, but it won't seem that way at first. The reason it seems irregular is because the vowels change a little bit in the unstressed syllables. Use forvo.com to check pronunciation

-Every Russian noun is one of 3 genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter. However, this isn't a big deal because you can ALMOST ALWAYS tell the gender of a noun by the letter it ends with. It's a huge advantage. Gender is important because adjectives change depending on gender

-The endings of Russian words change a little depending on their function in the sentence. ex) I see the dog vs. the dog sees me . Understand this asap.

-The Russian tense system is much simpler than English's. Russian pretty much only has four tenses: present, future (technically 2 types of this), perfect past, and imperfect past. You'll learn it over time

-the number system is... interesting. Prepare yourself well.

Overall, I don't believe that hard and easy languages exist. The reason people say Russian is so hard is because the hard aspects of the language all come up early on (the new alphabet, declension, number system). However, once you pass that initial hurdle, the rest of your path will be a breeze.

Well, that's it. Good luck with your Russian learning, and please never give up! Удачи!

February 10, 2017



Молодец! Большое спасибо за превосходную ссылку.


Hi, I am new Russian learner , a little over two weeks now. I have been using Duolingo along with some other sites, but that's the only resources I have. How would I go about learning grammar, since all I have been doing is learning basic phrases and words? How do you go about doing that?


The Tips and Notes for the Russian tree are a good place to start. If you're using the iOS app, just use the mobile browser to look at them. Also, there are volumes of information in the sentence discussions.


In my tips, I tried to minimize stuff you cannot easily find anywhere else.:) AlphaDictionary and Grammar References were my two primary sources of inspiration—in fact, had been long before I started working on the course.

Russian Grammar is a good channel with concise explanations, a few minutes at a time, always focused on one particular point. I loved the Verbs of Motion Introduction video.


Thank you very much! This was very helpful!


I can also highly recommend using a mnemonic keyboard, which is basically a keyboard in which the Cyrillic counterparts are at the same position as in the Latin alphabet (though this can obviously not be done for all letters, but I still found it helps a lot) :)


No! very bad idea. Use standard russian keyboard layout from beginning. Otherwise you will have to later learn a new layout, will slow you down a lot if you want to touch type on any keyboard instead of being only proficient in a very rare layout. learn to touch type with russian keyboard layout here https://www.keybr.com/


Thanks for tips and the encouragement. You deserve a lingot from me.


you've made substantial progress for a few months of study! I've been studying for 4 months and still not covered some of what you discuss

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