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How to Start Thinking in Russian

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Russian

Going through Russian lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Russian, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Russian. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Russian and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Russian vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Russian

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through RussianPod101.com.

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1. Surround yourself with Russian

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Russian constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Russian radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of RussianPod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Russian words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Russian.

RussianPod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach Russian.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Russian not only gets you in the mindset of Russian, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With RussianPod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Russian speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but RussianPod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with RussianPod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that RussianPod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

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4 Reasons Why Russian Slang Words Will Make You Fluent

Learn 4 honest reasons you need Russian slang words and why they are so vital to truly learning and mastering the language.

Teachers may normally cringe at the thought of their students learning Russian slang words. After all, slang words and phrases are typically defined as being grammatically incorrect. So why would your teacher want you to spend time learning the “wrong way” to speak Russian? Here are 4 of the top reasons why you should study slang words and expressions when learning Russian or any new language.

reasons to learn russian slang words

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1. Native Speakers Use Slang Expressions in Everyday Conversation

If you are going to study a foreign language and plan to use it to speak with native speakers, then you have to learn slang words and expressions. Otherwise, just using formal expressions and grammar may alienate you from native speakers and make it more difficult to establish a real connection. So it is best to at least learn some common slang words and expressions if you’re planning to meet or speak socially with someone.

2. Slang Words Are Used All Throughout Russian Culture

If you turn on any popular Russian TV show, listen to any song, or watch any movie, you are quickly going to see the value of learning Russian slang phrases. Just like everyday conversations between native speakers, Russian culture is filled with slang phrases and expressions. Without at least some knowledge of the more common slang phrases, popular culture and most conversations will be very confusing and potentially alienating.

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3. Slang Expressions Help You Better Express Your True Thoughts and Feelings

Only relying on formal grammar and vocabulary is very limiting, especially in social situations. Just like in your native language, using the appropriate Russian slang words can help you express a broader range of emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

4. Proper Use of Slang Makes You Sound More Natural

We’ve all met foreigners who technically used formal language perfectly but still sounded odd and well….foreign. But when you use the right slang words and expressions, you will sound more natural and like a true native speaker. If you notice, even most politicians include a sprinkling of slang expressions and words throughout their speeches to help them sound more natural and to better connect with the audience.

The Dark Side of Slang Expressions

Learning Russian slang words can indeed help you sound more natural, better understand the people and culture, and make integration much easier. However, there is a dark side: using the wrong slang expressions can also make you look foolish, uneducated, and potentially disrespectful.

But how do you know which slang words or phrases to use and when?

The truth is that you can’t learn the most modern and appropriate slang words in textbooks or formal classroom settings. By the time the information gets incorporated into a formal curriculum, it’s already outdated and no longer in use by actual Russian people. And while you can learn current slang expressions from Russian TV shows, movies, songs, and games, you may not understand the context. If that happens, you may use the right Russian slang words but in the wrong situation and still look like a fool or possibly even offend someone.

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So where can you learn current slang expressions and the right context in which to use them?

At RussianPod101, native speaking instructors create audio and video lessons that can include slang expressions and words. Our instructors provide context and examples for all the Russian slang words used in any lesson to make sure students understand the right time and place to use them.

Russian slang words and expressions may be grammatically incorrect but they are vital to truly understanding and immersing yourself in the culture. In fact, it will be very difficult to fully understand any movie, TV show, song, game, or even 1-on-1 conversation without knowing a few of the more common slang expressions.

However, it is important to learn the proper context and use of even popular slang expressions or you may come across as confusing, disrespectful, or uneducated.
At RussianPod101, you’ll learn how to use slang phrases and words to draw the right attention and avoid these problems.

Don’t forget to sign up for a Free Lifetime Account on RussianPod101.com to access tons of FREE lessons and features to become fluent in Russian!

How to Learn Russian in Your Car?

How to Learn Russian in Your Car? Learn language in car

Stuck in traffic? Losing time in your car? Have you ever felt that in all this wasted time, you could have watched the 750 episodes of One Piece, finished the last Super Mario ten times, or even better…you could have learned Russian? Between family, friends and work, in addition to this time-consuming commute, it can become difficult to find time to properly learn Russian.

Fortunately, every problem has a solution, and what could be a better solution than turning that commute time into learning time? Stop passing the time mindlessly listening to the radio and try some of our best tips for mastering Russian in your car!

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You can learn Russian in your car, hands free
While driving, it’s important that you keep your focus on the road, so this is why our top tips won’t require you to use your hands!

Listening to Russian audio content in the car is a good way to learn
This is because it is a fun and efficient way to learn. With RussianPod101.com podcasts, you will be able to discover Russian culture through topics about everyday life. Instead of the radio, listen to a Russian podcast adapted to your level, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and you will make progress sooner that you would expect!

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You can listen to Russian music in the car
Did you know that you can learn Russian by singing while driving? Listen to songs from cartoon or drama and try to identify some words you learned.

Challenge yourself! Use the Russian you’ve studied up to this point and see how much you understand! Making the jump to real-life Russian is a scary one, but friendly children’s songs are a great place to start!

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You can learn alone in your car
When you’re driving alone, you can be as loud as you want – there is nothing better for remembering your Russian lessons than repeating loudly, again and again. Next time you see a driver who seems to be talking alone, you will know he or she is just learning Russian!

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You can learn through repetition with your passengers
If there are passengers in the car, it can be more stimulating to learn together. You can set a role play with Russian dialogues. With RussianPod101.com, you can download all the lessons transcript including the dialogues, as a PDF. Print it out and have some fun speaking in Russian!

One of the passengers can answer the quiz available on each of our lessons, while another can correct that person. Listening to someone at a more advanced level of Russian or a better accent is positive and helps you improve.

You can learn Russian offline
Do you have a poor connection or are unable to use the Internet? It’s not a problem for learning Russian! Before you start your commute, use our App to download the lessons you want to study and the podcast you want to listen to in your car, and you will be able to enjoy your lessons offline. Entering a tunnel won’t be a problem anymore. What a pleasure to listen to audio content without having the host freezing every 5 seconds!

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Click here to download the App and learn offline!

You can learn every day at your own pace
One of the best approaches for learning a language is little by little and often. It’s not efficient to take in a huge amount of information at one time. What you need is to study on a regular basis – a little bit of Russian every day. You commute several days a week, and that is all time you can take advantage of!

You have the freedom to choose the lessons and podcasts you want to focus on, at your own rhythm. You may want to do a little revision or discover how to talk about a new topic. And if you’re wondering what to learn next, you can use the new Learning Paths, which is our customized pathway feature that gives you a step-by-step way to learn Russian without getting lost!

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If you don’t have a car and commute by another method, these tips are still valid! Learning Russian is no longer limited to the classroom or your house; there are so many benefits to learning in your car or elsewhere. Reaching a conversational level will take you less time than you could ever have imagined! Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and enjoy our content!

Five Tips To Avoid Common Mistakes

The Focus of This Lesson is Tips to Help Russian Students Overcome Common Errors

Tip 1: Learn Your Cases

    • There are no cases in English. That means that nouns and adjectives always stay the same no matter what their function and position in the sentence is. It’s different in Russian. The endings of nouns and adjectives change depending on their function.
      • Of course, it’s possible for a native speaker to understand someone who speaks like this but…
        • It can be irritating because you are slaughtering their language
        • It can be totally confusing!

          Tip 2: Watch Your Word Stress!

            • Like in English, word stress is extremely important. In Russian, you don’t say all the syllables of the word with the same strength, but accentuate one syllable.
              • If you don’t stress the right syllable, it can lead to confusion, and native speakers will have difficulty understanding you.
                • Unfortunately, unlike in Italian or French, there are no rules to help you stress a word correctly. It’s just something you have to learn for each word.

                  Tip 3: Don’t Repeat the Verb in the Question

                    • In Russian, you use a different verb ending for “I” and “you” in the present. It is very common for English speakers to forget about it, as in English the verb doesn’t change. Also, they hear the ending -ешь in the question and tend to reply using ешь.

                      Tip 4: Watch Your Gender

                        • In Russian, the ending of the verb in the past tense changes depending on the gender and the plurality.
                        • If the subject is я or ты, use the ending -л if the pronoun refers to a man, and -ла if it refers to a woman.

                          Tip 5: Don’t Try to Translate “It”

                            • In Russian, the pronoun “it” doesn’t exist. We replace “it” with “he” or “she,” depending on their gender. That means, for example, that when you speak, you have to remember that книга (”a book”) is feminine, and that you should refer to it as она (”she”).


                              Russian Grammar is Easy!

                              This blogpost is a brief overview of different tenses and articles found in Russian language.

                              Tenses

                              • The Present
                                • In English, you use a different tense in the present depending on whether it’s an action that happens regularly or it’s happening now. In Russian, you use just one tense in the present, no matter whether the action happens regularly or is happening now.
                              • The Past
                                • The past form of regular verbs in English end in -ed. You have to learn irregular verbs individually. In English, there are many irregular verbs. Guess what? In Russian, there are hardly any irregular verbs in the past tense!
                                  • If the subject is masculine, the ending is -л:
                                    Он видел фильм.
                                    “He saw the film.”
                                  • If the subject is feminine, the ending is -лa:
                                    Она видела фильм.
                                    “She saw the film.”
                                  • If the subject is neuter, the ending is -ло:
                                    Письмо было на столе.
                                    “The letter was on the table.”
                                  • If the subject is plural, the ending is -ли:
                                    Они видели фильм.
                                    “They saw the film.”

                              Articles

                              • An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun.
                              • The articles in the English language are “the,” “a,” and “an.” In short, it is what you’re referring to (e.g., “the cat”). In Russian, there are no articles!

                              The Verb “To Be”

                              • In English, you have three forms of this verb,”am,” “is,” and “are.” In Russian, you should not use the verb “to be” in the present tense, so you don’t have to worry about it at all.

                              Making Questions

                              • In English, you need a different auxiliary depending on the tense, and you change the word order. In Russian, you just change your intonation. Nothing else changes.

                              Gender

                              • You can tell the gender just by looking at the ending of the word. Masculine nouns usually end in a consonant. Feminine nouns usually end in -а or -я. Neuter nouns usually end in -о or -е.

                              Introduction to Russian and Top 5 Reasons to Study

                              This Lesson Focuses on the history of the Russian languages and the top 5 reasons to study!

                              • Russia is the largest country in the world with a population of over 140 million people. It spans eleven time zones and contains the largest forest reserves in the
                                world as well as a quarter of the earth’s fresh water within its lakes.
                              • The Russianlanguage has recieved numerous influences throughout history, including influences from Polish, German, and even Slavic.
                              • A lot of academic and intellectual vocabulary was used from languages such as Dutch, French, German, and even Latin. So by learning Russian, you get a sense
                                of history, and the better you know it, the more familiarities you’ll pick up from other languages too.

                              Other than the amazing history of the Russian language and its huge geographical size we have composed a list of the top 5 reasons you should study Russian!

                              • Romance: Lots of people learn Russian because they either have or want a Russian partner.
                              • Business: Since the former Soviet Union opened its borders to foreigners, many businessmen travel to Russia and particularly the Ukraine.
                              • Travel and tourism: Russia has always attracted tourists by its historical past and culture. Russian theatre, and in particular, ballet, are famous all over the world.
                              • “Exotic”: Even though it’s considered challenging because it has a different alphabet, the Russian writing system makes it perhaps easier to learn than some other languages such as Arabic and Japanese.
                              • Extremely popular: According to estimations, between 144 and 160 million people speak Russian as their first language. It’s the eighth most spoken language in the world, before Japanese, German, French, and Italian. Still, people speak Russian natively in all former Soviet republics, some of which are part of the EU now such as Latvia. In Eastern Ukraine, for example, people speak Russian rather than Ukrainian.

                              Happy Holidays and Happy New Year From RussianPod101.com!

                              Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from everyone here at RussianPod101.com! We’re grateful to have listeners just like you, and we’re eagerly waiting for the upcoming year to learn Russian together!

                              And when the New Year comes around, be sure to make a resolution to study Russian with RussianPod101.com!

                              Have a healthy and happy holiday season.

                              From the RussianPod101.com Team!