Memorizing Long Russian Words

I need help memorizing super long Russian words. For instance, the word for sunglasses : Солнцезащитные очки is giving me trouble. If love to hear y'alls methods/tips that you use to memorize difficult Russian Vocabulary.

Btw breaking up the word isn't helping very much right now.

May 25, 2018


I don't know what do you mean by "breaking up the word". If it means to break it up to syllables and memorizing them separately - it really doesn't work.

But you should try to break it up for basic words (Russian is a compound language) and then learn them separately: Солнце - Sun (remember that you don't actually pronounce 'л' - [sontse] , or it will be easier to remember if you already know the word in a romance language - soleil or sol

защита - protection. I would recommend to break it for two words: за - behind щит - shield (it even sounds similar)

And the last part - ные - it's an adjective ending for plural when (-ный) for singular masculine.

So after you remember each basic word (it's also will be useful in the future), you can combine them together. I personally recommend visualisation - for example, imagine that Sun (Солнце) is hiding behind (за) the shield (щит) and it's wearing sunglasses. Add the plural adjective ending (- ные) and you have your long memorized - Солнцезащитные + очки (which is simple and you just have to memorize it) :)

May 26, 2018

and btw, you can use the same thing for a similar word
солнцезащитный крем (sunscreen), but this time you can visualize a bottle of sunscreen hiding behind the shield and end the singular ending (-ный). The English word 'cream' is almost the same as the Russian ' крем', so it will be easy.

May 26, 2018

It's очки, not бчки.

Breaking up a word into its constituent parts works for me, but one has to know what the sub-components mean. Maybe learning the sub-components of compound words first will help?

An old-fashioned way to memorize words that often works is to write out a word and its meaning longhand at least three times, concentrating hard as you do it, and saying the words aloud as you write:

солнцезащитные очки - sunglasses
солнцезащитные очки - sunglasses
солнцезащитные очки - sunglasses

If you can visualize what the word means as you're trying to memorize it, it'll probably help. Keep a list of the words that you are trying to learn, or put them on flashcards, and review them fairly often. If you don't remember a word when you review, write it out again. Keep reviewing the words until you know them.

You could try making an audio loop of a word and its meaning, maybe leaving a pause for you to repeat the word, and listening to it until you've learned it.

Or, try memorizing the Duolingo sentence you have found the word in, trying to visualize what it means as you do. There's a Memrise course w/ audio recorded by Shady_arc that might really help with this.

May 26, 2018

Or you can use солнечные очки instead. :)

It also does not make much sense to learn солнцезащитный before солнце ("sun") and защита ("defence, protection"), given how rare the word is.

May 26, 2018

I find word pyramids really helpful. I take a blank piece of paper and write particularly difficult words out three times, then I flip the paper over and test myself to see if I can spell it without looking. If I can't, I do another two pyramids. It's a bit time consuming, but it works for me!

Here's an example: B Be Bea Beau Beaut Beauti Beautif Beautifu Beautiful (start each on a new line)

May 26, 2018

That sounds great !

May 26, 2018

That is really clever! I'm going to use that one myself. Thank you.

May 27, 2018

You really shouldn't break it up to memorize it, that'll just end up in you knowing syllables.

You should break the word down by its parts. I don't know Russian, but in that word I see the word for sun, and I'm assuming zashit means something like shield/block or something... That's how you should remember the word.

It's not just a bunch of random letters. There's meaning in all of it. Even for long words that don't seem to have meaning, just hear the word and practice using it.

Writing it down doesn't help me at all, I go back to forgetting it immediately. I remember the word once I've used it in a couple different sentences.

For example, if you learn a new vocab word in Duolingo but every time you do the lesson you keep forgetting it, just move on and the next time the word comes up in another lesson, it'll stand out to you and because you've seen it in different sentences it will be much easier to remember automatically, without having to put in effort!

May 26, 2018

I just want to add some people seem to find learning Russian words easy from the beginning. I — not in that number. I feel the struggle.

May 26, 2018

Saying the words out loud always works best for me.

May 26, 2018

This is good advice. Take time and start slowly and carefully with the word, then speed it up. Russian is very tough for many due to the consonant clusters, many of which don't exist in most Western European languages.

May 27, 2018

don't, just don't. the day will come when it just comes to you

your time is much better used getting proper exposure to a language than trying to memorize individual words

I use memrise sometimes for Russian as it is more difficult learning its vocabulary than that of other languages but I like their own courses that are sentence based. It is far more natural and efficient for your brain to learn words in context.

May 26, 2018

It is far more natural and efficient for your brain to learn words in context.

This. All the more so when languages are as different as English and Russian and even words with similar meanings can wind up being used pretty differently, something its easy to not discover from things like vocab flashcards.

It seems like Memrise has removed the questions where they have you actually type the item when it's longer (like a phrase or sentence) in the Memrise-built courses. I haven't looked at them a ton, but the couple I've done have seemed to have only a pretty small fraction of items that weren't single words.

May 26, 2018
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