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Duolingo Russian Course Advice

Hi all !

I'm trying to learn Russian using Duolingo and TinyCards (app) - and other sources obviously when i get time.

I tried doing two lessons a day (standard) but it's not easy learning and remembering all the new words ... let alone the grammar - so it's taking me ages to progress.

Is this normal ... i read many people complete this course in a few months ... So far i'm a Level 13 but only just finished 2nd Checkpoint. Does everyone else manage to learn all the words and remember them ?!!!

Encouragement and advice much apprecited ... Thank you ! :)))

January 9, 2018



This is normal.

Well, the normality of this actually depends on whether you already know any other Slavic language, and which if yes.

E.g., a Polish or Slovak guy learning Russian form English simply because there is no Russian course from Polish or Slovak will sure have a considerable advantage. Let alone Ukrainian or any other language that also uses Cyrillic alphabet.

So relax and take it slow. There's a lot of stuff to settle down in your head, and it's important that you don't press yourself too hard in the process and keep it fun, not exhaustively tedious headache inducing boredom.

Keeping a wiktionary tab open to check declensions (and taking notes on which verb requires which case after it) until you do it right intuitively is handy, too.

Also, it might be a good idea not to tie yourself up with getting a predetermined number of lessons a day. Take a new one when the old material settles, like you pass a few workouts with no mistakes in a row.


Music to my ears Peter - thank you ! It's so reassuring as i only learned French and German at school and this is my first new language i've tried in thirty years !

I'm actually really enjoying the course and feel i'm slowing getting somewhere. It's so good that Duolingo provide the course for free as well as the app. I recommend them to everyone i talk to.

Only criticism is that there was no real lesson on the cyrillic alphabet and i'm still confused as to how letter sound. I've looked online but different sites seem to have different opinions and pronunciations.

I visited Moscow last January ... fabulous city. If anyone hasn't been do so - especially at Christmas as everywhere is lit up like a fairy tale at night.


You're welcome.

Regarding the alphabet issue, well, there's that excellent overview in Russian: the Alphabet and the Keyboard, and then... umm... what else shall there be? Cyrillic may look weird (not as weird as some coding systems out there though), but out of its 33 characters, which function exactly like the Latin characters, at least half should look familiar or somewhat familiar as some are adopted from the Greek and can be seen in maths or physics:

  • Γ for G
  • Δ for D
  • Λ for L
  • π for p
  • ρ for r
  • φ for f

Memorizing the remaining handful of characters is not that tricky.

As to pronunciation, any of the tables for the sounds coded by the letters, like this one for instance, is good for initial reference. But then sometimes the sound that's actually required is not what it should be according to the table. Other languages also have it, like, say, the sound produced by o in women - what the ...? So lots of sites have lots of tracks for individual words and entire phrases. Some recommend forvo for the records there are produced by actual native speakers, but I think wiktionary is better for being more refined (no amateurish recordings) and having other information on the word as well.

As to visiting Moscow, I agree that it's awesome about the new year holidays, and yet I like it better in late spring or summer. Meanwhile, I'll be glad to meet you in the Russian language section of the forum should you have any questions.


You might get more responses if you move this to the Russian learners forum (just edit the original post).


Don't worry too much about how others move along the tree (each one may have a different background in each language), just go with a speed that works for you.

It seems like we've been moving at a similar pace in the Russian course actually. I've been taking my time to get familiar with the alphabet, basic grammar, and specially getting used to the Russian keyboard. I am currently at level 11 and 2 lessons away from the 2nd checkpoint. Starting this year, I'll try to pick up the speed a little bit, but if I am not retaining the material, I'll just continue going at the current pace.


You've already gotten good advice. It's better to learn the material well than to rush through and forget what you've studied because it was only halfway learned.

This is especially good advice:, from Peter594672: "Take a new [lesson] when the old material settles, like you pass a few workouts with no mistakes in a row."

And don't forget to review fairly often. A good review can be to do the "strengthen" exercises at the end of a skill until you don't make any mistakes, and then--if you want an even greater challenge--see if you can do the timed version of the same strengthen exercises (you have to buy timed exercises from the Lingot Store).

Once you become somewhat used to the sounds of Russian, you can practice by trying to spell out any text that Duo's TTS engine pronounces for you before you read it. It only takes a second to do each time, but it is a really good way to improve your spelling of the words you are studying.

Also, once you're very comfortable w/ this course, you might try the English for Russian speakers course, which will (at least currently) provide much more translation into Russian. But don't drop the current course completely for it, as (IMHO) it's very cool to earn your golden owl at the end of a course. English for Russian speakers makes a great continuation of Russian for English speakers, too.

Wow, it's marvelous that you've visited Moscow. I'm envious. Did you visit any bookstores--if nothing else, just to look?

(And, yes! another fan of donuts. Cake donuts are my favorite.)

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