How to learn Russian joyfully and effectively: 10 tips for those who tried plenty of things.
If you are motivated enough and you are looking for new possibilities and ways to learn Russian, this article is for you. Maybe you even have a vocabulary in which you fill in 10 new words a day, you have already made cards and downloaded movies in Russian but you don’t feel the progress. Don’t give up, you will make it, you just need to try something new.
1. Use social networks. If you are an active user (facebook, Instagram e.t.c.) you will definitely like the following “lifehack”. Make up posts in Russian, write about anything you are interested in, about new words, which you have learnt. First it will help you to remember context words easier, second you will be able to find new friends. Your social networks will be your friend, who you will tell stories to every day. Some of my students look for Russian YouTube bloggers and ask questions in Russian in the comment section about something they are interested in. This experience also helps them find more words and learn Russian not in the texts but in real situations.
2. Write letters. I’m not offering you to write real letters and send them to Russia hoping that somebody will reply. But in Russia there are many young people who will be glad to communicate in English in chats (telegram, whatsapp). You can find channels for communication in different languages.
3. Talk to the mirror. This summer I got acquainted with the American, who mastered Russian just by talking to herself from scratch. Only after 6 months of talking to herself in the mirror had she met a person who was talking to her in Russian. She was studying rules, words and then began to talk about different topic she was interested in looking at herself in the mirror. One may think she is a weirdo but the result speaks for itself. If that worked out for her, maybe you can do it as well?
4. Read, read and read. Again? You’ve heard that piece of advice hundreds of time no doubt. I am sure, that teachers have told you that reading is your best friend in case of learning a language. But what should one do if there is no time to read books? What should you do if you aren’t able to check every third word in the dictionary? We got a solution! There is a huge amount of tailored books, which are shorter and easier to read, than original ones. Perhaps, you dream to read “Voina I Mir” in Russian. Start with the adapted version, which may be found in book stores among the “Russian as a foreign language” books or order them online (litres.ru). But if this is hard – internet will help you as always. Find popular Russian bloggers in “Instagram” and read their small stories about traveling, cars, food e.t.c.
5. Слушайте себя. Прочитали вы рассказ, пост или что-то еще, узнали новые слова, а как их использовать теперь? Как проверить, правильно ли вы запомнили все слова и конструкции? Моя рекомендация - записывать свои истории на диктофон, потом слушать их и корректировать свои тексты. Это важно, когда вы учитесь рассказывать истории, что, по-моему, самое трудное в изучении языка. Когда вы слушаете свою историю на диктофоне, вы понимаете, как медленно говорите, и это поможет вам научиться говорить быстрее.
6. Write more. I’ve been teaching Russian language to foreigners for more than 7 years and I’ve seen many cases of success in mastering it. The secret of many students is that they’ve been writing a lot. There are many strategies to be used. The first method – learning words within the context, copying them into your notebook and rewriting them 5-10 times. The second way is to write sentences or stories with new words. Sometimes these sentences may be an absolute fantasy, they may be funny but this will help you remember words within the context.
7. Watch and repeat. Writing words down on cards and repeating them never helped me, I am too lazy but there are a lot of people out there, who do exactly that and remember new words and expressions easily. I’ve found a new method for myself which I recommend for my students. For instance, there is a list of verbs on my fridge with pictures that illustrate, what “to boil”, “to cut”, “to mix” mean, etc. Every time I cook, I repeat these actions and say out loud what I’m currently doing in English. You can do the same but in Russian. A list in the kitchen, a list in the living room with words about housecleaning, a list with words about daily timetable (wake up, go to bed, wash up) in the bathroom. If it is hard for you to find such lists in Russian there is always a possibility to find them in English and give Russian names above the pictures.
8. Study in Russian. Of course, the ideal variant is to travel to Russia for studying and not only language but also other subjects. But if there is no such possibility – internet will succor you as always. There are currently a lot of resources, where you can find free history, culture, mathematics, biology courses. If you are interested in sitology – you will be interested in finding out more about this subject. You may listen to the video and complete exercises not in your own language but in Russian. It will be harder but you will definitely remember many new words within the context, because interest – is the biggest motivator.
9. Listen to podcasts. If you haven’t listened to podcasts in Russian yet – it is a good time to start. Even if you won’t understand anything in the beginning – not a big deal. You may listen to the podcast first, then read its script afterwards. You may listen to the same episode a couple of times. When you go shopping, go for sports, drive a car to work, cook supper – you can listen to it anytime anywhere. There are podcasts for the beginners, for example, “Raketa” series for A1 students.
10. Enjoy TV shows. There are people, who learn the language by watching TV series. They watch all series in Russian and write down useful words. It’s great when there is an interest and wish. But if you watch “game of thrones” and don’t understand anything – don’t push yourself. Start with TV series, which reflect on real life situations and problems in the family or at work. The problem in these series is repeated many times through the episode and all guests discuss it. Moreover, it is a great resource to listen to real intonation and observe mimics and gestures of people in different situations. Lots of my students watch detective TV series “Sled”, “Pust’ govoryat” and “Chetire Svad’bi”. You won’t learn academic language there, but you will definitely improve your spoken Russian.