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Is Russian Hard to Learn?

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If you’re thinking about learning Russian but are hesitant to get started, you may be asking yourself: “Is Russian hard to learn?” 

You’ve read in the language forums that it is, and maybe you’ve even heard this firsthand from someone you know who’s learned the language. But here’s a spoiler: it’s not that bad. And even though I’m a native Russian myself, and learned how to speak Russian at the same time as I learned how to walk (oh, a double struggle!), I can sympathize with the experience of my students and apply my own language-learning observations to help them combat common issues.

So if you still haven’t decided whether you want to include Russian in your daily schedule or not, I might be able to help you decide. In this article, we’ll talk about why you would want to learn Russian in the first place, how easy it is to learn, and what you should start with to get onboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Russian Table of Contents
  1. Why Should You Learn Russian?
  2. Is it Hard to Learn Russian?
  3. I Want to Learn Russian. Where Should I Start?
  4. What’s Next?

1. Why Should You Learn Russian?

Let’s start with the most obvious reasons. Just in case you weren’t aware, Russian is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Worldwide, it’s almost as popular as French and Arabic, and even more widespread than German. 

There are around 260 million people speaking Russian around the globe. According to recent statistics, Russian is still widely spoken in Belarus, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Estonia, and some other neighboring countries. And that makes learning the language a good investment for travel enthusiasts. You can experience freezing winters, enjoy boiling hot steam baths, try shchi and pelmeni, and see for yourself that there are no bears walking in the streets (if anybody still believes in this stereotype).

Many of my students learn Russian for business or study. Whether you have a business trip to Russia or work with Russian partners, some Russian might help in your working relations and networking. A person working in tourism who has basic Russian language knowledge is a real gem: Russians often travel abroad without knowing any English. 

As for studies, higher education is affordable in Russia, and the vibrant student life will definitely leave a trace in your memory—that is, if you decide to assimilate with locals and not just hang out with your English-speaking friends.

Also, Russia has lots to offer in terms of culture. You might not see lots of Russian movies in theaters or hear Russian songs on every corner, but they exist in abundance. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to find Russian movies with subtitles, so this is a good incentive to learn the language. Not to mention the benefits that literature-lovers can experience: you’ll find peace in Tolstoy’s elaborate descriptions, enjoy the witty nature of Krylov’s fables, and relish in the emotional styling of Yesenin’s poems.

Learning Russian is also a good choice for those craving a challenge. English-speakers tend to learn languages similar to their own: Spanish, German, French, etc. But Russian is hard for English-speakers compared to most Germanic and Romance languages. It’s something different and totally unusual, but at the same time, not as drastically “alien” as Japanese, for example. 

But if the motivation comes from inside, no logical reasoning is necessary to convince you to learn the language. Whether you just like the sound of Russian, want to enjoy the Trans-Siberian journey, or understand what Dima Bilan is singing about, if it truly makes you excited, then just go for it!

Russian Pastry

Russian cuisine is definitely worth trying! Guess if it’s savory or sweet.

2. Is it Hard to Learn Russian?

I believe that by now, you’re secretly hoping to hear a strong “no.” I would lie if I said that Russian is the easiest language to learn; it has its own specificities, but it’s still easier than many people say it is. Let’s start with the easy parts.

A- The Good News

1. Cyrillics is not too different from the Latin alphabet. There are even some familiar letters (like е, а, м, с, р, etc.). Yes, some of them are pronounced differently from what you would expect, but they’re easy to write, and you can start reading Russian words in literally one day.

2. Many words are borrowed from English. Yes, they are written with the Russian alphabet, but when you learn to read it, you’ll recognize the words in a heartbeat. Try:

  • футбол (futbol)
  • телефон (telefon)
  • маркетинг (marketing)
  • компания (kompaniya)
  • лампа (lampa)

    ➢ You can check the meanings of these words in a dictionary to see if you were right.

3. Genders are easy to determine. Russian categorizes words into one of three genders: feminine, masculine, and neuter. Usually, you just have to check the ending of the noun to see what gender category it belongs to.

4. There are fewer tenses than in English. We only have three tenses in Russian: past, present, and future. That’s enough; three is a good number.

    ➢ Read more about the tenses and other properties of verbs in our article about Verb Conjugation.

5. Questions are simple. For Yes/No questions, we use intonation. For open questions, we just place the question word at the beginning, and that’s it. No special question structures or word order changes.

  • Сегодня мы смотрим кино. (Segodnya my smotrim kino) — “Today we’re watching a movie.”
  • Сегодня мы смотрим кино? — “Are we watching a movie today?”
  • Где ты был? (Gde ty byl?) — “Where have you been?”
  • Что ты купил? (Chto ty kupil?) — “What did you buy?”
  • Почему торт не купил? (Pochemu tort ne kupil?) — “Why didn’t you buy the cake?” 

6. It’s easy to say “no.” In most cases, to make a negative sentence in Russian, you simply add не (ne) before the word you want to make negative.

  • Я не курю. (Ya ne kuryu) — “I don’t smoke.”
  • Мы не дома. (My ne doma) — “We aren’t home.”
  • Она не такая. (Ona ne takaya) — “She isn’t like that.”

7. Russians appreciate the initiative. It’s rare to hear a foreigner speak Russian, so any attempt to do so will evoke praise and excitement. No need to wait for a pint of beer to untie your tongue; feel free to proudly demonstrate your Russian skills right away. No sarcasm intended.

8. Speakers of other Slavic languages have an (un)fair advantage. If your mother tongue is Polish, Czech, Serbian, or a similar language—congratulations! You have a free upgrade of three times the speed in learning Russian right from the start. These languages come from the same language family, so many words sound similar, and even the grammar can be familiar in some aspects. I believe this is why, in some remote parts of Serbia, Bosnia, and Macedonia, locals prefer foreigners to speak Russian rather than English.

Woman Holding Out Hand to Say Stop

Стой. Торт купил? (Stoy. Tort kupil?)
“Stop. Did you buy the cake?”

B- The (Not So) Bad News

Even taking into account the easier aspects mentioned earlier, the Russian language is hard to learn for many people, particularly English-speakers. Here are some things you can prepare for in advance:

1. Pronunciation. If learning the alphabet takes one evening, mastering the sounds themselves is a bit trickier. Many sounds are similar to those in English, but some are unusual, like [щ], [ы], [р] (and the last one is not an English “p”!).

    ➢ If you want to work on your pronunciation, check out our Ultimate Pronunciation Guide. You’ll learn about the Russian sounds and how to pronounce them without twisting your tongue.

2. Verb conjugations. In Russian, we only have three tenses, but the verb conjugation is also affected by grammatical mood, person, aspect, etc.

Here are some examples:

  • Я пою. (Ya poyu) — “I sing.” (present, 1st person singular)
  • Мы поём. (My poyom) — “We sing.” (present, 1st person plural)
  • Вы бы спели? (Vy by speli?) — “Would you sing?” (conditional, 2nd person plural)

3. Verbal aspects. In Russian, we use verbal aspects to indicate the difference between an action that is complete (perfective aspect) and an action that is habitual or ongoing (imperfective aspect). It’s similar to the English perfect and simple / continuous aspect.

  • Я ужинал. (Ya uzhinal) — “I was dining.” (ongoing > imperfective)
  • Я поужинал. (Ya pouzhinal) — “I’ve had dinner.” (complete > perfective)

Have you spotted the difference?

4. Declensions and cases. Russian has six cases—technically five, if you don’t count the dictionary form (the nominative case). Cases help you see the relationship between words (it’s not just to make you memorize extra endings!):

  • кот (kot) — “a cat” (Nominative singular)
  • У меня нет кота. (U menya net kota) — “I don’t have a cat.” (Genitive singular)
  • Но я люблю котов. (No ya lyublyu kotov) — “But I love cats.” (Accusative plural animate)

The good thing about cases is that each of them has a function and some markers (typical prepositions and verbs they go with). When you learn to distinguish cases by their function, your life becomes easier. Anyway, if you use the wrong case, it won’t be the end of the world. Patience is the key—and practice.

The prospect of learning endings for six cases and three genders might seem intimidating, but you can definitely manage it if you don’t try to swallow the whole cake at once. Instead, slowly savor it piece by piece. 

5. Verbs of motion. You can find countless ways of translating the verb “to go” into Russian. The choice depends on what means of transport you’re talking about:

  • идти (idti) — “to go on foot”
  • ехать (yekhat’) — “to go by car / by bus / by bike / etc.”
  • лететь (letet’) — “to go by plane”
  • плыть (plyt’) — “to go by boat”

Motion verbs with prefixes can seem even more confusing:

  • лететь (letet’) — “to go by plane”
  • прилететь (priletet’) — “to arrive by plane”
  • улететь (uletet’) — “to leave by plane”

“How do I deal with that and not get crazy?”

  • Learn the four basic translations for the verb “to go” listed above. This way, you’ll be able to distinguish between the means of transport.
  • Analyze the prefixes and try to find the logic behind them. For example, the prefix у- usually means “departure” and при- indicates “arrival.”
    ➢ Wikipedia has a nice table of prefixes with their meanings for your verbs of motion.
    ➢ If you don’t know how to say “train” or “bus” in Russian, check out our Vehicles vocabulary list.
Plane Flying Past Clouds

Ехать или лететь?

3. I Want to Learn Russian. Where Should I Start?

The alphabet. A no-brainer. At RussianPod101, we want to support you from the earliest stages, so we provide the English transliteration for almost every word and phrase you see. However, you’ll find no romanization in authentic Russian sources like books or articles. You’ll also need to learn writing (or at least typing) to be able to send messages in Russian, or even to look up words in your dictionary.

    ➢ Start exploring the Russian letters with our series of lessons titled The Russian Alphabet Made Easy. You can even try your hand at writing cursive!

Survival phrases. If you travel to a Russian-speaking place soon, learning some basic phrases would help you immensely. Based on my observations, many young people in the big cities would know enough English to help you find the Red Square or accept your order in a restaurant, but not enough to discuss climate change or politics. However, I wouldn’t have much hope for English while interacting with people of the older generations.

The following series of lessons will be a good start:

Your own sentences. When you master your introductory speech about yourself and your dog, it’s time to combine new chunks of words into meaningful phrases. Analyze how words cooperate with each other, and try to make similar sentences yourself. Start simple. Don’t dive into grammar right away: learning the rules without having the vocabulary to apply them is pointless. 

Send the sentences you make to your RussianPod101 tutor for proofreading (subscribed users only) and receive feedback from a native speaker. Your tutor would also help you find the right path for your further studies if you can’t figure out what to do next.

Russian Calligraphy Handwriting

Russian calligraphy handwriting (created by VectorSR and licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

4. What’s Next?

As a language-learner myself, I have established three important rules that always help me stay on track:

  • Quality over quantity. Make sure you’re comfortable with the topic before moving on to something else. It’s also important to review the material from time to time.

  • Consistency. It’s better to practice ten minutes every day than two hours once a week. Consistency is necessary to create strong neural connections in your brain, and this means repetition. If you skip several days of learning, especially if you’re a beginner, chances are that the connections will already be lost when you’re back, and you’ll have to learn everything again.

  • Patience. Don’t compare yourself to other learners. Don’t judge yourself by the number of words that you’ve learned or the grade you’ve received on your recent language test. Take your time and remember the first two rules.

Like learning any other language, learning Russian isn’t that difficult if you have some discipline and patience. There are plenty of resources for you to get started, and many enthusiastic people ready to help. In our premium service, MyTeacher, you can get personal one-on-one coaching with a tutor. You’ll receive assignments, grammar and vocabulary exercises, and also voice recording tasks to improve your pronunciation. And if you have any questions about Russian, feel free to ask your tutor; they’re there to help you!

Useful links for those who want to learn more:

Before you go, let us know if you have any questions or concerns about learning (or continuing to learn) Russian. We’d be glad to help! 

Happy learning with RussianPod101!

About the author: Dzhuliia Shipina is a Russian linguist and a language teacher. For the past few years, she’s been traveling around the world and sharing her passion for languages with other inquiring minds. She invites you to explore the beauty of Russian and unravel its mysteries together.

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The 10 Most Common Questions in Russian & How to Answer Them

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Being able to ask questions is a very important communication skill that makes conversation sound lively and interesting. If you’re going to chat with a native Russian speaker, or if you want to travel to Russia one day, you should definitely know some basic questions in this language. 

In this guide, we’ll help you learn ten of the most common questions in Russian. We’ll also give you some information about how to use these Russian questions and answers depending on the age of the person you’re speaking to, and teach you some Russian question words. 

Let’s begin!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Russian Table of Contents
  1. Как тебя зовут?
  2. Откуда ты?
  3. Сколько тебе лет?
  4. Ты говоришь на ___?
  5. Сколько ты учишь ____?
  6. Ты был в ___?
  7. Как дела?
  8. Что делаешь?
  9. Что случилось?
  10. Сколько стоит?
  11. Conclusion

1. Как тебя зовут?

First Encounter

Как тебя зовут? (Kak tebya zovut?), meaning “What’s your name?” is usually the first question in Russian you’ll ask when getting to know someone. 

The first word here, как (kak), meaning “how,” is an adverb; it’s also one of the most commonly used Russian question words. The next word, тебя (tebya), is the pronoun “you” in the accusative case. The last word, зовут (zovut), is the present tense form of the verb звать (zvat’), meaning “to call.” So, Как тебя зовут? is literally translated as “How are you called?”

Remember that this question is appropriate only in informal conversations with people who are your age or younger. If the situation is formal, or if you’re talking to an older person, use the following form:

  • Как вас зовут? (Kak vas zovut?) – “What’s your name?”

Вас (vas) is the formal version of тебя (“you” in the accusative case).

Possible Answers

The reply to this question in Russian would be:

  • Меня зовут Джон. (Menya zovut Dzhon.) – “My name is John.”

Or

  • Моё имя – Джон. (Moyo imya – Dzhon.) – “My name is John.”

Simply replace “John” with your own name.

A Man Shaking Hand with a Client

The question Как вас зовут? is the simplest way to establish contact, no matter who you’re trying to get to know.

2. Откуда ты?

Откуда ты? (Otkuda ty?) is the easiest way to say “Where are you from?” in Russian. 

Like many other questions in Russian, this one begins with the adverb откуда (otkuda). The next word, ты (ty), is a pronoun in the nominative case. Like in the example above, this pronoun is applicable only to conversations with people who are your age or younger.

If you’re talking to somebody older, always say вы (vy). For example:

  • Откуда вы? (Otkuda vy?) – “Where are you from?”

Possible Answer

The best way to answer is with:

  • Я из Нью-Йорка. (Ya iz N’yu-Yorka.) – “I’m from New York.”

Keep in mind that you need to use your country, state, or city in the genitive case, like in the example given above.

Introducing Yourself

3. Сколько тебе лет?

Сколько тебе лет? (Skol’ko tebe let?), meaning “How old are you?” is a good question in Russian to keep a conversation going.

 Сколько (skol’ko) is a pronoun here. Тебе (tebe) is also a pronoun, in the dative case. Лет (let) is the plural form of the noun “year.”

If you’re speaking to an older person, you’ll need to say this instead:

  • Сколько вам лет? (Skol’ko vam let?) – “How old are you?”

Possible Answer

The answer is short and simple:

  • Мне 40 лет. (Mne 40 let.) – “I’m 40 years old.”
Woman Disgusted by Her Date

Keep in mind that asking a woman about her age is impolite, even if she looks young!

4. Ты говоришь на ___?

Of all the Russian questions and answers for beginners, this may be the most important: Ты говоришь на ___? (Ty govorish’ na ___?), meaning “Do you speak ___?” It will help you find out if the person you’re talking to speaks your language. 

The first word here is ты (ty), which is the Russian pronoun “you” in the nominative case. The second word is говоришь (govorish’), which is the present tense form of the verb говорить (govorit), meaning “to speak.” After these two words, you’ll need to use the preposition на (na), which means “on” in English. Then comes the name of the language you’re asking about.

Make sure you use the prepositional case, like in this example:

  • Ты говоришь на английском? (Ty govorish’ na angliyskom?) – “Do you speak English?”

The formal variant of this Russian question is:

  • Вы говорите на ___? (Vy govorite na ___?) – “Do you speak ___?”

Possible Answers

You can give an affirmative answer like this:

  • Да, я говорю на ___. (Da, ya govoryu na ___.) – “Yes, I speak ___.”

Or a negative answer:

  • Нет, я не говорю на ___. (Net, ya ne govoryu na ___.) – “No, I don’t speak ___.”
A Couple Frustrated due to Lack of Understanding

One of the most unfair things in life is to meet a wonderful person and not to be able to communicate with him or her because of the language barrier.

5. Сколько ты учишь ____?

The Russian question Сколько ты учишь ___? (Skol’ko ty uchish’ ___?), meaning “How long have you been studying ___?” turns out to be really helpful in conversations with other students. 

The first word, сколько (skol’ko), is a typical adverb used in questions. Ты (ty) is a pronoun, as mentioned previously. The last word is the present tense form of the verb учишь (uchish’), which means “to study.”

The polite form of this question is:

  • Сколько вы учите ___? (Skol’ko vy uchite ___?) – “How long have you been studying ___?”

This Russian question requires the name of the field of study you’re asking about in the accusative case:

  • Сколько ты учишь информатику? (Skol’ko ty uchish’ informatiku?) – “How long have you been studying programming?”

Possible Answer

  • Я учу информатику два года. (Ya uchu informatiku dva goda.) – “I’ve been studying programming for two years.”

 6. Ты был в ___?

There are two variants for asking “Have you been to ___?” in Russian. The first one is appropriate if you’re asking a man:

  • Ты был в ___? (Ty byl v ___?)

The second one is applicable when asking a woman:

  • Ты была в ___? (Ty byla v ___?)

Of course, if you’re going to ask someone older than you, you must say:

  • Вы были в ___? (Vy byli v ___?)

Following the pronoun ты (ty) is был (byl) or была (byla), which is the verb “to be” in the past tense. В is a preposition which requires the prepositional case for the name of the place used after it. For example:

  • Ты был в Париже? (Ty byl v Parizhe?) – “Have you been to Paris?”

Possible Answers

  • Да, я был в Париже. (Da, ya byl v Parizhe.) – “Yes, I’ve been to Paris.”

Or

  • Нет, я не был в Париже. (Net, ya ne byl v Parizhe.) – “No, I haven’t been to Paris.”
A Woman Taking a Photo of Something

Travel is a perfect topic for a conversation.

7. Как дела?

Как дела? (Kak dela?), meaning “How are you?” is one of the most important questions to ask a Russian. 

Как (kak) is an adverb, and дела (dela) is the plural form of the noun дело (delo), meaning “matter.”

Here are a couple of alternative ways to ask this question in Russian:

  • Как ты/вы? (Kak ty/vy?) – “How are you?”

Or

  • Как жизнь? (Kak zhizn?) – “How’s life?”

Possible Answers

The most typical answers are:

  • Всё хорошо. (Vsyo khorosho.) – “Everything is good.”
  •  Отлично. (Otlichno.) – “Excellent.”

8. Что делаешь?

Что делаешь? (Chto delayesh’?), meaning “What are you doing?” is one of those basic Russian questions that you can use both in your real life and while communicating online

Что (chto) is a pronoun that’s very often used for asking questions in Russian. Делаешь (delayesh’) is the present tense form of the verb делать (delat’), meaning “to do.” 

The formal variant of this question is:

  • Что делаете? (Chto delayete?) – “What are you doing?”

Possible Answers

The answer fully depends on what you’re busy with. For example:

  • Я работаю. (Ya rabotayu.) – “I’m working.”
  • Я на учёбе. (Ya na uchyobe.) – “I’m studying.”

9. Что случилось?

Что случилось? (Chto sluchilos’?), meaning “What happened?” is one of those good questions to ask a Russian to find out if something has gone wrong. 

Что (chto) is a common pronoun in Russian questions. Cлучилось (sluchilos’) is the past tense form of the verb случиться (sluchit’sya), which means “to happen.”

Possible Answers

There’s no definite response to this question. It may be something like:

  • Ничего особенного. (Nichego osobennogo.) – “Nothing special.”
  • Всё плохо. (Vsyo plokho.) – “Everything is bad.”
One Girl Comforting Another

The question Что случилось? shows that you care for what’s going on in another person’s life!

10. Сколько стоит?

Сколько стоит? (Skol’ko stoit?), meaning “How much is it?” is an absolutely essential question for you if you’re going to visit Russia. 

Сколько (skol’ko), as mentioned, is a pronoun and one of the most widely used Russian question words. Стоит (stoit) is the present tense form of the verb стоить (stoit’), meaning “to cost.”

You may add the name of the thing that you want to know the price of. Also remember that you should use it in the subjective case. For example:

  • Сколько стоит авиабилет? (Skol’ko stoit aviabilet?) – “How much is the air ticket?”

Possible Answer

The answer depends on the situation. For example:

  • Это стоит два доллара. (Eto stoit dva dollara.) – “It costs two dollars.”

11. Conclusion

We sincerely hope that you’ve learned the basics of asking questions in Russian. Of course, this topic is enormous, and one article isn’t enough to cover it fully. Moreover, there are so many situations in day-to-day life which require their own sets of questions. That’s why memorizing questions in Russian isn’t as effective as understanding how to make them. This is especially true if you’ve been learning the language for a while.

We really recommend that you learn how to ask questions in Russian by reading articles on our website, RussianPod101.com, or with the help of our premium service MyTeacher. The second option is perfect for those who want to start using questions and answers in Russian as soon as possible. Your native Russian-speaking teacher will guide you through all the ins and outs of this topic during private lessons, so it will be really effective. You can try out our service right now, and be 100% satisfied with its quality!

What other questions in Russian would you like to learn? Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section below!

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Our Preparation Guide for the TORFL Russian Language Exam

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At some point in your Russian-learning journey, you’ll probably want to test your mettle and see how far you’ve come. After all, few things are as motivating as tangible progress! 

To establish your proficiency in Russian, you have to pass the international TORFL test. If you don’t know much about this examination, read our article to learn the basics. If you’ve already decided to take the main Russian test for foreigners, you should stick around too, because we’ll help you prepare for the big day!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Russian Table of Contents
  1. General Info on the TORFL Russian Language Test
  2. Who Needs to Take the TORFL Russian Exam?
  3. What’s Inside the TORFL?
  4. How to Pass the TORFL Russian Language Test
  5. Where to Take the TORFL Practice Test
  6. What is the Minimum Score to Get the TORFL Certificate?
  7. What if I Fail the Test?
  8. Conclusion

1. General Info on the TORFL Russian Language Test

TORFL, created in 1998, stands for “Test of Russian as a Foreign Language.” The TORFL is the most authoritative test for foreigners studying Russian.

The main goal of this famous language examination is to determine a person’s level of language proficiency. We’ll talk about each of the possible levels in the following sections.

Elementary Level / A1

Achieving a good score on the Elementary Level of the TORFL shows that a student has a basic competence in Russian. It clearly demonstrates that this student is able to satisfy the elementary needs of communication in a restricted number of daily situations. In addition, successfully passing the TORFL A1 means that a foreigner can:

  • Use a minimal set of linguistic resources
  • Read very short and easy texts
  • Understand slow and simple speech with long pauses

Basic Level / A2

A person who has successfully passed the Basic Level test can satisfy his elementary communication needs without any problems. If you’ve performed well on this level, you may not be afraid of going to Russia and having small conversations with native speakers. Achieving a satisfactory score on this level is also enough to get citizenship in Russia.

Do note, however, that the A2 level is NOT the minimum for acceptance into Russian universities; you’ll need to attain a higher level for this. Preparatory faculties and schools are the exception here, and they often teach students Russian as part of their training. 

This TORFL level is also insufficient for establishing deep connections with Russian people who use only their mother tongue.

A Woman Reading a Book on a Bus

If you dream of studying in Russia, you have to start learning and mastering the language. There is no other way.

The First Certification Level / B1

If you’ve passed the TORFL B1 exam, it means that you have an intermediate level of Russian language competence. You may support conversations about your life, culture, education, and profession. At the same time, you’re still not ready to communicate in Russian freely, because you’ll sometimes need help or preparation for it.

Attaining the B1 certificate for this Russian language test gives you the opportunity to go to any Russian university you’d like. But remember that there are still many things related to the Russian language that you don’t know, and you’ll have to continue studying hard in the future.

The Second Level Certificate / B2

People who manage to perform well on the B2 exam and attain the Second Level Certificate can gratify their needs for communication with other people in a broad range of spheres. They can understand natives talking and writing about culture, politics, and other more-complex themes without using a dictionary.

The certificate of the Second Level of the main Russian foreign language test allows a person to receive a degree from a Russian university. This person may also perform professional activities related to:

  • Humanitarian sciences (not including philology)
  • Engineering
  • Natural sciences

The Third Level Certificate / C1

If a foreigner successfully attains the Third Level Certificate, then this foreigner has excellent skills in communication with native speakers. Moreover, he can definitely:

  • Read and understand long texts
  • Capture details and hidden meanings in complex texts and speeches, even if they have nothing to do with his own specialty
  • Fluently talk about abstract topics for a long time with ease

Such deep knowledge of Russian, proven by this language certificate, gives a person many opportunities. For example, having this level of Russian allows someone to work in difficult spheres and fields such as linguistics.

A Woman Raising Her Hand in Class

There are a few foreigners working as linguists in Russia. You can be one of them if you study Russian really hard!

The Fourth Level Certificate / C2

Excellent performance on the C2 exam represents a real proficiency in understanding and speaking Russian. If someone has gotten to this level, it means that his competence in the language is not far away from the level of a native speaker.

The Fourth Level Certificate also gives its owner an opportunity to receive a Master of Arts degree in philology. With this, a foreigner can choose any kind of work in the sphere of philology.

2. Who Needs to Take the TORFL Russian Exam?

Language Skills

Not everyone who learns Russian needs to take this test, though it can be really helpful for those who:

  • Are going to receive education in a Russian-speaking country
  • Need to be licensed or certified in a particular sphere (in most cases, connected to languages)
  • Need to show their language mastery for immigration purposes
  • Simply want to check their Russian language skills in a formal setting

3. What’s Inside the TORFL?

The TORFL foreign Russian language test is composed of five parts. The difficulty and duration of each part varies depending on the level. These five parts are:

Reading

In this part, a student must demonstrate his ability to read a text (or various texts), perfectly understanding it or them. The reading portion of the test is normally composed of three tasks. The duration of this section is 50 minutes for levels A1, A2, and B1; for levels B2, C1, and C2, it is 90 minutes.

Writing

Here, students must reproduce the context of a given text and write a unique composition. It may be a letter, a card, or anything else. During this stage, students are usually asked to complete three different tasks. The duration of this section is 50 minutes for levels A1 and A2; levels B1 and C1 suggest 60 minutes for the writing section; for B2, it’s 55 minutes; for C2 it’s 80 minutes.

Listening

The number of tasks varies depending on the level. Keep in mind that this portion of the test can use both audio and video items. The listening sections for levels A1 and C1 will require 30 minutes, while the same section for levels A2 and B1 will take 35 minutes. The duration for level B2 is 40 minutes; for level C2, it’s 50 minutes.

Oral Competence

This part of the Russian proficiency exam looks at how a student participates in conversations with other people. The oral competence part may consist of two or four different sections, depending on the level. The duration of this section is 25 minutes (levels A2, B1, B2, and C1), 30 minutes for level A1, and 45 minutes for level C2.

Structural Competence

Here, students must be ready to show their knowledge of the Russian linguistic system. To pass it, they need to know structural rules, grammar points, and other aspects of the language’s linguistic system. The student will also need to know a lot of Russian vocabulary to pass. The grammar and vocabulary section will last 50 minutes for levels A1 and A2, 60 minutes for levels B1 and C2, and 90 minutes for levels B2 and C1.

A Woman Thinking while Doing Homework

All of the parts are important and ranked equally.

4. How to Pass the TORFL Russian Language Test

If you’re a foreigner, you probably won’t pass the exam without good preparation. This is especially true if you’re trying to get the Certificate for the Third or even the Fourth level. Be ready to begin preparing for your Russian proficiency exam at least a month in advance.

There are several ways to prepare:

  • Regularly do TORFL tests online
  • Regularly do paper-based tests
  • Get support from a teacher or tutor
  • Find other people preparing for the test and study with them
  • Find native speakers and talk with them as much as possible
A Group of People Chatting at a Table

Native speakers are the best help in learning a language.

5. Where to Take the TORFL Practice Test

You may test your Russian language level through any organization that’s authorized for handling the TORFL examination. Such organizations are located not only in Russia and other CIS countries, but also in Europe and the USA; you won’t have any difficulties finding them and taking a practice test!

6. What is the Minimum Score to Get the TORFL Certificate?

If you want to pass this Russian test and get the certificate, you need to score no less than sixty-six percent for every section. Keep in mind that this exam is made with some security features to prevent cheating. But once you pass, your certificate will be valid forever.

A Woman Shaking Hands with Someone and Getting a Certificate

This certificate may be yours!

7. What if I Fail the Test?

If you don’t receive the minimum score in one or two of the sections, you may retake that part of the test again for the full price of the exam. And if you failed more than two of the sections, you can retake the entire test for the full price. 

If you fail only one of the sections, you’ll receive a certificate that’s valid for just two years. Of course, in the future, you’ll be able to retake your Russian language test for the full price and get the non-expiring certificate.

8. Conclusion

In this helpful guide, you’ve learned everything you need to know about the TORFL. If you want to test successfully and receive the certificate, be sure to use the free audio recordings and other useful resources on RussianPod101.com. They’ll help you master Russian while having fun.

If you want to increase your chances of passing the TORFL, use our premium service MyTeacher. You’ll get personal one-on-one coaching with a private tutor. Your teacher will help you prepare for your future Russian language examination in accordance with your current level of knowledge. Don’t waste your time; start preparing right now!

What level of Russian proficiency do you think you have right now? Do you feel prepared for the TORFL now? Please, let us know in the comments section below.

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Russian Keyboard: How to Install and Type in Russian

Thumbnail

You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in Russian! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a Russian keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free Russian Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Russian
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Russian
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to Russian on Your Computer
  5. Activating the Russian Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. Russian Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing Russian

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in Russian

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and Russian language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find Russian websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your Russian teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for Russian

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in Russian. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to Russian, so all text will appear in Russian. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to Russian on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the Russian language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “Russian.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Русский with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “Русский” > “Options” > “Download.” It’ll take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “Russian – Русский.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “Russian.”

4. Expand the option of “Russian” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “Russian.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “Russian,” and add the “Russian – Phonetic” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the Russian Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in Russian will greatly help you master the language! Adding a Russian keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “Russian” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Русский” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. Russian Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in Russian can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your Russian keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

There are two main keyboard types:

1.) Standard (ЙЦУКЕН) is what we actually use on Russian laptops/PCs, and what is usually used on tablets/smartphones.

2.) A phonetic keyboard (say, ЯВЕРТЫ) sort of matches Russian letters to

Latin letters close in pronunciation. This may be fine if you’re moderately interested in Russian, but that’s it. Also, a phonetic keyboard has an obvious advantage if your physical keyboard doesn’t have Russian letters.

7. How to Practice Typing Russian

As you probably know by now, learning Russian is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your Russian typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a RussianPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your Russian keyboard to do this!

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Secret Revealed: The Best Way to Learn a Language on Your Own

Learning A Language on Your Own

Can You Really Learn Russian Alone?

Learning a language on your own or without traditional classroom instruction may seem quite daunting at first. What if you run into questions? How do you stay motivated and on track to achieving goals?

Don’t worry, not only is it possible to learn Russian or any language without traditional classroom instruction: RussianPod101 has created the world’s most advanced and extensive online language learning system. Not only is RussianPod101 specifically designed to help you with learning a language on your own, it’s actually faster, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom options!

Let’s look at some of the benefits of learning Russian or any language alone.

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Also, don’t forget to download your free cheat sheet – How to Improve Your Language Skills too!

3 Reasons to Learn a Language Alone

Learning Alone

1. Learn at Your Own Pace and On Your Schedule

In today’s fast-paced world, there just isn’t time for traditional classroom instruction. Between getting to class and studying on some professor or teacher’s schedule, traditional classroom learning is simply impossible to fit in. But when you learn Russian alone, you can study in bed if you like and whenever suits your schedule best, making it far easier to actually reach your goal of learning and mastering the language.

2. Learning a Language on Your Own Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Speaking in front of a class, pop quizzes, and tests are just a few of the stressors you will encounter when you learn a language in a traditional classroom setting. Specifically, these are external stressors that often derail most people’s dream of learning a new language. But when you learn Russian alone, there are no external stressors. Without the external stress and anxiety, it becomes much easier and more exciting to study Russian and reach your very own goals—all on your own!

3. Learning Russian Alone Helps Improve Cognitive Function and Overall Success

Learning a language on your own is indeed more challenging in some ways than being taught in a traditional classroom setting. In fact, while classroom instruction requires more rote memorization and following instructions, studying a language on your own requires more problem-solving and higher cognitive function to self-teach lessons and hit goals. So while it’s more challenging and requires higher levels of cognition, teaching yourself a language pays dividends throughout life by better preparing you for social/work opportunities that arise.

How to Learn a Language on Your Own with RussianPod101

Learning with RussianPod101

1. Access to the World’s Largest Collection of Russian Audio & Video Lessons

The best way to learn a language on your own is to study from native speaking instructors. Ideally, you want audio and/or video lessons that teach vocabulary, grammar, and provide actual Russian conversations and dialogue to help you with pronunciation. RussianPod101 has hundreds of hours of HD audio and video lessons created by real Russian instructors and every lesson is presented by professional Russian actors for perfect pronunciation. Plus, all lessons can be accessed 24/7 via any mobile device with Internet access. And, if you download the PDF versions of each lesson, you can even study without Internet access once the lesson is stored on your device!

2. “Learning Paths” with Russian Courses Based Upon Your Exact Needs & Goals

Although RussianPod101 has more than thousands of video and audio lessons, you need not review each and every one to learn the language. In fact, RussianPod101 has developed a feature called “Learning Paths”. You simply tell us your goals and we will identify the best courses and study plan to help you reach them in the shortest time possible. So even though you are technically learning a language on your own, our team is always here to help and make sure you reach your goals FAST!

3. Advanced Learning Tools Reduce Learning Time and Boost Retention

When you have the right tools and Russian learning resources, it’s actually easy to teach yourself a language! In the past 10+ years, RussianPod101 has developed, tested, and refined more than 20 advanced learning tools to boost retention and reduce learning time, including:

  • Spaced Repetition Flashcards
  • Line-by-Line Dialogue Breakdown
  • Review Quizzes
  • Voice Recording Tools to Help Perfect Pronunciation
  • Teacher Feedback and Comments for Each Lesson
  • Russian Dictionary with Pronunciation
  • Free PDF Cheat Sheets
  • And Much More!

Armed with our growing collection of advanced learning tools, it’s truly a breeze to learn Russian alone and reach your goals!

Conclusion

Learning a language on your own is not only possible, it’s actually easier and more beneficial for you than traditional classroom instruction. In fact, when you learn Russian on your own you can study at your own pace, eliminate stress, and actually increase cognitive function.

RussianPod101 is the world’s most advanced online language learning system and a great resource to help you teach yourself a new language. With the world’s largest collection of HD audio and video lessons, more than 20 advanced learning tools, and customized “Learning Paths”, RussianPod101 makes learning a new language easier, more convenient, and less expensive than traditional classroom instruction.

And the best part is: With RussianPod101, you can study in bed, your car, or wherever you have a few spare minutes of time. Create your Free Lifetime Account now and get a FREE ebook to help “kickstart” your dream of learning a language on your own below!

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Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational Russian well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real Russian conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple Russian greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational Russian as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak Russian faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real Russian people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more Russian conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational Russian. In fact, with just a couple hundred Russian words you could have a very basic Russian conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in Russian, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

RussianPod101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational Russian

Learning Russian

For more than 10 years, RussianPod101 has been helping students learn to speak Russian by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational Russian fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real Russian Instructors: RussianPod101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you Russian vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak Russian and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common Russian Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational Russian. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real Russian conversations or lessons is all it really takes. RussianPod101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak Russian and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

How to Transform Your Daily Commute Into Learning a Language

Learn a language during your commute!

Today, classrooms are no longer the only or even best place to learn a new language like Russian. More and more people are finding that they can easily learn a language just about anywhere they have a few minutes of spare time, including their daily commute to work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends over 50 minutes a day commuting to and from work, or over 300 hours a year.

Rethinking Your Daily Commute to Work

But rather than simply sitting in traffic and wasting the time, you can instead use your daily commute to literally learn Russian in just a few short months! RussianPod101 has developed specialized learning tools that you can use on your commute to work (and home again) to master the language in your spare time. Keep reading to learn how to get your free audiobook to use on your next commute so you can see for yourself how easy it is to transform “dead time” into realizing your dream of learning a new language!

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But before we look at how to transform your commute home into a mini-classroom, let’s take a closer look at 4 reasons why traditional classroom settings just aren’t the best option for most people in today’s fast-paced world.

  • Difficulty Getting to and From Class
  • Learning on Someone Else’s Schedule
  • Very Expensive and May Cost $1,000’s to Complete
  • Can Take Years to Finally Complete Classes and Learn the Language

The simple truth is that traditional classroom instruction is simply not a viable option for most people in today’s very fast-paced, time-starved world. Now let’s examine how you can learn a language faster, more easily, and at far less expense than traditional classes—all during your commute to work and back home again!

Bus

3 Reasons Your Daily Commute Can Help You Master a Language

1. The Average Commute Time is More than 300 Hours Per Year

Between the commute to work and getting back home again, over 6 hours a week is completely wasted and not helping you reach any goals or objectives. But thanks to online language learning platforms with audiobooks and other resources that you can access during your commute, you can easily transform wasted time into tangible progress towards learning a new language. With over 300 hours available annually, your daily commute could provide you with enough time to literally master a new language each and every year!

2. Increase Your Earning Potential While Commuting to Work

How would you like to transform all those spare commuting hours each week into more money for a new car, house, or even a dream vacation? According to research, someone making $30,000 per year can boost their annual income by $600 or more per year by learning a second language. Added up over the course of a lifetime, you can boost your total earnings by $70,000 or more while achieving your dream of learning a new language during your daily commute!

How? From work-at-home translation jobs to working overseas, there are many ways to leverage your second language into more money in your bank account! So instead of wasting your precious time, you can make your commute more productive and profitable and the more languages you learn, the higher your income potential.

3. Repetition is Key to Mastering a New Language

Not sure if it’s practical to learn another language while commuting to and from work each day? Well not only is it possible—learning in your car on the way to and from work each day can actually help you learn and master Russian or any language much faster! The simple truth is that repetition is absolutely vital to truly internalizing and mastering any language. So, if you listen to audiobooks or even audio lessons on your commute to work and then repeat the same lesson on your commute home, the information is more likely to be “locked-in” to your long-term memory!

Learning

5 Ways RussianPod101 Makes It Easy to Learn a Language On Your Commute

RussianPod101 has been helping people just like yourself learn and master Russian in the comfort of their home, during their daily commute, or any place they have a few minutes of spare time. Here are five features provided by RussianPod101 that make it easy to learn a new language while commuting to and from work:

1. The Largest Collection of Audio Lessons on Planet by Native Speaking Instructors
Every single week, RussianPod101 creates new audio lessons by native speaking instructors. All lessons are short, to the point, and guaranteed to improve your mastery of Russian.

2. Word of the Day
Simply exposing yourself to new information and vocabulary terms helps increase your fluency and mastery of Russian. So every single day, RussianPod101 adds a new Word of the Day for you to learn and memorize during your commute.

3. Daily Dose Mini-Lessons
Have a short commute to work but still want to make progress towards learning and mastering Russian? Not a problem! Our Daily Dose Mini-Lessons are 1-minute or less and designed to improve your grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation.

4. All Content Available on a Convenient Mobile App
You don’t need a PC or tablet to learn Russian during your daily commute. At RussianPod101, all of our lessons, tools, and resources are available 24/7 via our Mobile App. That means you can access all of our audio lessons and other tools during your commute to work or any time you have a few spare moments!

5. Audiobooks and Other Supplemental Resources
In addition to the world’s largest online collection of HD audio lessons, RussianPod101 has also created several audiobooks to enhance your understanding and make it more convenient than ever to learn a language during your commute!

Conclusion

The average commute time of most Americans is over 300 hours each year and it’s the perfect opportunity to learn and master a new language. In fact, you can use the “dead time” during your daily commute to learn a new language and potentially boost your lifetime earnings by up to $70,000 or more! Whatever your motivation, RussianPod101 has the tools and resources necessary to help you learn a new language each year during your commute to and from work. Act now and we’ll even provide you with a free audiobook to try out on your next commute!

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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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The 5 Review Tactics that Will Sharpen Your Russian

top 5 review tactics to boost your russian

Have you ever returned to RussianPod101 lessons you’ve completed?

Accessing a lesson once is enough to learn more Russian. But to master what you’ve learned, to understand Russian the second you hear it, to read with just a quick glance, and to speak smoothly, without thinking… you need to review.

In this blog post, you’ll learn the 5 review tactics and learning tools that will truly sharpen your Russian (all of which I’ve been able to resources for on RussianPod101.com).

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1. Listen to lines over and over again!

One of the best ways to learn Russian (or any language) is to listen to native speakers over and over again until you understand what they are saying. By listening closely and often, you start to pick up the rhythm of a language and pronunciation from a native speaker. It’s not surprising, then, that Innovative Language offers a great line-by-line feature that lets you listen (and read along!) as many times as you’d like. I really recommend taking advantage of this feature— aside from moving to Russia, it is the best way to immerse yourself in the language.

2. Use a voice-recording tool to perfect pronunciation.

No one likes to hear themselves recorded, but it is a great way to perfect your pronunciation! Record yourself and compare against a fluent speaker. If you sound different, repeat after the fluent speaker until your pronunciation matches. Innovative Language has a great voice-recording feature that makes recording super easy. Never hesitate or be shy about your pronunciation again.

review tactics

3. Master recorded conversations.

Another excellent way to review your Russian is to record conversations and go over them again and again until you have the entire conversation mastered and can repeat it line by line. Now, it might be kind of awkward trying to explain to someone why you are recording them speak so it is fortunate that Innovative Language has dialogues available for download right off of their website. I found these also come with transcripts of the entire conversation, which is great if you don’t want to spend tons of time translating the conversation yourself.

4. Use mobile devices to reinforce previously learned conversations.

It might sound redundant at this point, but constant review is the best, and only, way to perfect Russian. In that spirit, I strongly recommend downloading the recorded dialogue to your mobile device and incorporating it into your music playlist. You’ll be amazed how effectively quick reviews throughout a day can reinforce what you’ve learned.

review tactics

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5. Read with line by line notes.

The guaranteed accurate transcript of the recorded dialogues is one of the most useful features Innovative Language offers. You can read along with a fluent speaker to really master pronunciation and natural conversation. You should start slow at first, then slowly increase the speed with each pass through. Every time you read through, your pronunciation will become more intuitive and your ability to understand fluent speakers will greatly increase.

Imagine a child who just learned how to read. At first, they slowly struggle through a sentence, but on the second try, they know what the most of the words sound like and so they read a bit faster and easier and on the third try, they read that sentence at normal, native speed.

review tactics

Improve Now your Reading Skills by Learning More Vocabulary

Using these five simple review techniques the most challenging parts of learning Russian will become your areas of comfort. Conversations will no longer be excruciating and embarrassing, but rather offer a chance to show off your new skills and communicate with someone from a different culture in their natural language. You will be able to casually listen to Russian and understand everything. Reading, too, will become natural and enjoyable.

Learning any language takes time and dedication. With the right focus, however, you can ensure the maximum impact of your efforts. Consistently listening to fluent speakers, recording your own voice and comparing it against fluent speakers, mastering conversations, listening to them on go, and following along with written transcripts will put you on the path to becoming fluent in Russian. Learn from the mistakes that so many have made, myself included, don’t let what you’ve already learned slip away.

Review, review, review!

How to Overcome the Top 4 Russian Learning Fears

Every Russian learner will have these fears“I’m not good enough yet.” “I don’t think I’m making any progress.” “What if I never reach my goals?” Russian learning fears – we all get them from time to time. What are yours? And are they worth being scared of?

how to overcome learning fears

In this blog post, we’re killing the top 4 Russian learning fears – 1) what are the fears learners tend to have the most and 2) how you can overcome them!

Here are the top 4 language learning fears according to our users:

1. “I’m not good enough to start speaking yet.”

Do you feel like you’re not good enough to start speaking yet? It’s a pretty common fear or misconception that most learners have. Here’s how you overcome it:

  • The best way to get good at speaking is to start speaking from day 1.
    So if you’re holding yourself back, because you think you’re not good enough, well, that’s exactly why you’re not good enough. You need to open your mouth and start talking!
  • If you think you’re not good enough, just learn Russian lines you want to say!
    In our lessons, you get the exact phrases and scripts for introducing yourself making small talk, ordering food, expressing opinions, and much more! So if you think you’re not good enough, the lessons will give you the exact lines to say.
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    2. “I’m afraid I’ll never be fluent.”

    Many successful Russian learners worried about that, only as a beginner. They started learning Russian and, it’s funny because the better their Russian got, the less they were worried about that. So, how can you overcome this?

  • You’ve got to set small, specific goals.
    Fluency is a big vague goal. Arguably, we don’t even speak fluent in our native language. There are over a million words and we use about 2,000 words only. So you should focus on smaller goals like being able to introduce yourself or having a 5-minute conversation. Or 10 minutes. Something you can measure so you know you reached it because you can’t really measure fluency. It’s a pretty vague goal! But you can measure small goals like having a 5-minute conversation. And as these small goals add up, you’ll be speaking very comfortably!
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    3. “I’m afraid that I’m not making any progress.”

    In other words, getting stuck. If you’re afraid you’re not making progress, there are two things you can do right now.

  • Use the dashboard to track your progress.
    If you need numbers to believe it, our dashboard tracks all the lessons you’ve completed and shows how much you’ve accomplished.
  • Try a harder lesson on the site.
    It sounds crazy and you might not understand it but you will in minutes. Our lessons come with line-by-line translations and the lesson hosts explain everything. THEN, you’ll be making progress because you now understand something you didn’t minutes ago.
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    From Beginner to Advanced, get the lesson that is perfect for you! Start learning Russian now!

    4. “I’m afraid of not understanding anything I hear”.

    This is very common. You hear advanced grammar and vocabulary and it goes completely over your head. To beat this…

  • If you’re taking an advanced lesson, simply read along.
    Reading along with our line-by-line tool is the best way to instantly understand advanced conversations. The translations and scripts are right in front of you.
  • For real-life situations, learn useful phrases.
    Like “Can you say it more slowly?,” “Can you use simpler words?” or “I don’t understand what that meant.” There’s nothing wrong with saying that you didn’t understand something or with asking for help. And our Survival Phrases lessons cover must-know phrases like this.
  • learn russian

    So, these are the top 4 fears and how to overcome them. And if you want to have the perfect tools to overcome them, don’t forget to create your Free Lifetime Account at RussianPod101.com!