Memorizing the Russian Alphabet

Does anyone else have trouble memorizing the Russian alphabet, or is it jus me? Thinking of ways to memorize those dreadful letters and symbols? Why don't you just jot your ideas in the chat box below! I'll be thankful if no one else is.

July 16, 2018


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-I've used Memrise (a free app/website). It works in a flashcard-like manner to teach you a few letters at a time (one by one). -When I'm doing daily tasks I'll play the Russian alphabet on YouTube, usually a song made for kids. (I find this one helpful: ) -Constant flashcard practice. It is definitely the easiest way to go about learning the alphabet. I'd check Tinycards. -Quizzes on Sporcle. It's a quick little way to test your knowledge and find out what you need to study more. Here are some:

July 16, 2018

I'll check it out!

July 16, 2018

[deactivated user]

    Break down the letters into groups:

    1. Letters we have in English as well, that have the same/similar pronunciation (к, е, а, о, м, т)

    2. Letters we have in English or look like we have, but are pronounced differently in Russian (у, н, х, в, р, с)

    3. Letters we don't have, but make or sound similar to sounds we have in English (ц, г, ш, з, ё, ф, п, л, д, ж, э, я, ч, и, б, ю)

    4. Letters we don't have, and don't have English equivalents (й, щ, ъ, ы, ь)

    That should at least make it manageable, so you're not trying to do everything at once and get overwhelmed.

    July 17, 2018

    These words cover all of the divisions above. An hour or two with a flashcard program, one group at a time, should fix you up. I leave you to look up the pronunciations and transcribe them in whatever form works for you.

    1. кот, кто, то, мама, та, те, там

    2. ему, нет, ах, вас, сто, сорок

    3. отец, город, его, наш, за, фото, её, пел, да, жена, это, я, почта, или, тебя, пою

    4. мой, щи, объём, вы, пять

    July 17, 2018

    I broke them down like:

    • Letters we have in English or look basically the same:

    а б э к м о т (and н an n but with raised sides)

    • Letters that are extremely similar to english pronunciations:

    в (the v sound is simply a palatal B), с (often pronounced s in english), e (very close to e), у (u with a stem), x (the same sound in greek derived words).

    • Letters that are similar to greek (which you may know if you studied greek or maths):

    д ф г л п р з ч (Δ φ Γ λ π ρ ζ χ)

    • the "y" vowels: ya ye yo yu:

    я е ё ю

    • modifiers we don't have (all look similar):

    ы ь ъ, and й is like и (which also looks like a japanese い )

    • consonants we don't have:

    ш щ ж ц (which all seemed to click well for me, ж is unlike any other letter we have so it makes sense as the consonant least like english, sh and sch are easy to remember together, ts's shape follows from sch)

    Using these rules I knew the alphabet and could read any russian words (although not understand the meaning obviously) within an hour or two of starting to learn. Within a few days of using memrise it was second nature.

    Cursive likewise I have a similar set of rules and that took me maybe 2-4 hours to learn cursive script, a few days of writing on my shower window every morning to really drill it in.

    Took maybe a day of using memrise to get used to windows 10's phonetic russian keyboard. The android phonetic keyboard I'm like 6 months into using and I still have to henpeck ч sometimes and a couple of other letters.

    July 24, 2018

    The Cyrillic alphabet is very similar to English so I never had a problem with memorization. But what I did was just memorize the letters individually with flash cards. I got it down within a few hours. Even now I can still read most Russian text having not studied it in a year. TLDR: Just use flash cards.

    July 17, 2018

    For me it was a two-step process. The first step was simply learning the letters and what sound(s) they represent. This was fairly quick. I found it helpful to write them with pen and paper and I watched several YouTube videos where the alphabet was taught.

    The second step was learning to read (and type) cyrillic text at a speed that wasn't orders of magnitude slower than for the latin alphabet. This was surprisingly difficult, took weeks or even months and I found no shortcuts other than just (slowly) reading and typing. During this period I preferred learning from audio only sources and I'm glad I had access to those or I might have given up. But now I see an uppercase P and I think of "r" before "p"... Typing speed still needs more practice though (after two years).

    July 18, 2018

    When I first took Russian, our homework on the first day was to learn the entire alphabet by the second day, so that we could read whatever we came to in the textbook. It just requires a bit of time and effort.

    I have provided a set of practice words below, beginning with the letters that are the same as in the Latin alphabet, and continuing through all the rest.

    I can help a bit with how to install a Cyrillic keyboard on your computer, and how to learn to type Cyrillic. (I learned on a Cyrillic manual typewriter long, long ago.)

    July 20, 2018
    July 16, 2018

    Honestly I had accidentally learned most of the characters even before I started doing any language study. I would go to Wikipedia (in English) and look for articles about Russia, like cities, people, etc. Since most show the cyrilic names as well, I would just try to figure out what cyrillic characters corresponded to the latin characters. It was sort of a hobby for me and I would say I learned about 80% of what the cyrillic characters stood for. Some time later I discovered Duo and jumped right into the Russian course feeling pretty comfortable with the cyrillic characters. So I really just had to learn about 20% through Duo.

    July 17, 2018

    Hi, it is the same for me. I do not really remember learning the cyrrillic or the Greek alphabet. It is as if I had always known them. As a kid, I liked playing alphabet games, like secret codes, and so on. Perhaps that is when I got used to those alphabets.

    July 17, 2018

    When I enrolled to the Russian course, I realised that it jumped straight into the Russian alphabet without teaching you how to write, recognise, pronounce, etc in detail. I just stepped out of it and am using outside sources to learn how to write, read and say the letters. I've also got a little book that I use to practise writing, which is really helpful. This way, rather than remembering the letter as a picture, you think of it as a series of lines put together to make a picture, making it a lot easier to memorise. Even though it sounds more confusing, trust me, it isn't. Once you do learn them, practice them everyday. Imagine the letter and sound it out in your head, or write the letter out with pen on paper, or you finger in the air or on your pants.

    Here are some links: - This is a useful website that teaches many other things about Russian, as well. Just move your cursor to the left side of the screen and click 'Russian Alphabet'. It teaches you how to pronounce the letters. - Here, you will be able to see the Russian letters in 'printed' and 'handwriting', capital and lower case, plus it shows you how to write the letters, how to pronounce them and a word with that letter in it. - This is a 3 minute Youtube video that show you how to handwrite the letters and say them. It's useful, as long as you don't get annoyed by animated pencils and the unnatural way the wobble. You'll know what I mean when you watch the video...

    I hope this helps :)

    You'll get there, I'm rooting for you!

    July 16, 2018

    When I learnes Russian in school, we listened to this song every day: Also, writing diary with German words, my mother tongue, but Russian letters helped me a lot in the beginning

    July 17, 2018

    I've learnt it when i was 12 :D

    July 17, 2018

    [deactivated user]

      have a lingot

      July 20, 2018

      [deactivated user]

        This course may be a little dated & grainy (I believe it was made in the early 90's as a high school distance learning course), but she does do a really good job of teaching the alphabet and other basics.

        July 21, 2018
        Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.