Trouble reading in Russian(Cyrillic script)

[deactivated user]

    Does anyone else have a problem with reading in Russian? I can‘t seem to pass the phase in reading when you’re spelling every word in your head before reading it out loud, and I also read few first letters and then just guess the rest of the word(often inaccurately). I did a bit of research and it seems it’s a normal phase when children learn how to read for the very first time. First they learn the letters, then they spell the word, and then they read a word by group of letters, and then the full word. Do you have any advice on how to pass this, and be able to read in full speed like I do when I read Latin script?

    May 11, 2018


    My advice to you would be this:

    1. Practice every day. Even when you are at the store, try to convert the signs you see to their proper Cyrillic equivalents (you may have to fudge it when there is not directness, but do not stress about this too much).

    2. Think of yourself as a "Russian child" (as you eluded to). You know how you learned to read in English (or the Latin alphabet)? Try to replicate that in Russian. This means children's books....lots, and lots, and lots of children's books.

    3. Be patient with yourself :). All of this takes time. Personally, I have a photographic memory, and I can remember pretty much anything in Latin script. However, it is quite frustrating to me, because I did not grow up reading Cyrillic, and therefore it does not give the same result there. I have a struggle to memorize words and spelling as everyone else here. But--I am getting there, and so will you. Just give it time, grit, and do not pressure yourself when you do need time to relax and absorb the material. It will all come together soon enough!

    Good luck in your studies!

    May 11, 2018

    Hi! By spending the same amount of time reading the Cyrillic as you have done the Latin alphabet. ;)

    It's really the only way. Once you know the individual letters, it's only a matter of getting your eyes used to the sight. If your mother tongue is English (or any other language using the Latin script), then you're used to "absorbing" the meaning without actually "reading" it letter by letter, just by the general outline, length and bits sticking up and down from it. It's something that can happen only through tons of repetition.

    In fact, there was a popular experiment in which English natives were asked to read a text at normal speed and find the mistakes in it. There was a mistake in every single word, but participants couldn't identify most of them, since they were designed not to disrupt the length and "shape" of the word. So, keep reading, and you'll get there!

    May 11, 2018

    If you're actually spelling, don't, but sound out by syllables. You can use Duo for this: try to sound out the words from the screen text (even if you have already heard them), then check your pronunciation by replaying the audio, then re-sound out the words again. Also, try sounding out any Russian text you come across. Just keep working at it! As other have said, all you need is practice.

    May 11, 2018

    Practise... The annoyance here is that, unlike a child learning to read for the first time, you have to learn the language at the same time. You could try to get books for very little children (there's a link to a website that keeps popping up on DL, I'll post it if I can find it). Like a child learning to read, read everything you can find (of course, depending where you live, you might not find much).

    I find handwriting practise helped my reading, too. For example, I wrote down the lyrics to Russian songs I liked. Often incorrectly, but it helps establishing that link between shape and sound.

    To get quite up to speed you need to know the language well. Because, when you read fast, you actually do guess half the word without really noticing it.

    May 11, 2018

    [deactivated user]

      did you write down the lyrics while listening to a song? or you googled the lyrics and then wrote them down while reading it ?

      May 11, 2018

      These were songs I knew by heart, but only phonetically (i.e. I didn't know what the lyrics meant), so I just wrote them down from memory. Since writing practice was the goal, it really didn't matter if I got the details wrong, it just gave me practise associating the sounds and the letters.

      May 12, 2018

      It is possible to get past this stage but you will have to read and write a lot. I've started to recognise short and common words without spelling me through them every time. You kind of learn to recognize the look of the written word. Longer words and words I haven't seen before I still need to spell through and I don't think I ever will read Cyrillic as fast as Latin.

      May 11, 2018

      Read a text of which you have the audio. First read the sentence out loud, then listen to it, then read again.

      May 11, 2018

      Cognates (words that are the same in both languages) are a great place to start. Look at a map in Russian and figure out which cities and countries are which. Лондон turns out to be London. Google menus for Russian restaurants. Биг Мак is Big Mack. And водка is vodka! Go to a Russian newspaper and pick out words you can decode. Путин! Go to a university website and read the names of courses. You will understand many (but not all) of them. And pretty soon you are reading in Russian.

      May 13, 2018

      I'm a native Russian speaker who had similar problem while learning English and Dutch. To overcome it I read aloud, or at least pronounce the words in my mind. I repeat it till I can read the word or the whole sentence fast and smoothly. It helps to form connection "image-sound-meaning" (with image I mean the letters). Also, I noticed that typing helps as well, here on Doulingo I switched completely from choosing words to typing them.

      However, even after more than 10 years of using basically only English I still cannot read as fast as I do it in Russian.

      May 14, 2018
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