Thanks to the Internet, you no longer have to sign up for an in-person class or even have a formal teacher in order to learn a language. There are numerous options and resources for you to learn an entirely new language in your own time and at your own pace in your own living room. This guide will go over some of the best resources at your disposal, both free and paid, for learning Russian online. It will also go over some general and more specific language-learning tips that will help you succeed when you want to learn Russian online.
8 Resources and Tips for Learning Russian Online
#1. The Alphabet
The first thing you will need to start on when learning Russian is the Russian alphabet, which uses the Cyrillic script. Many, many sites offer charts, pronunciation guides and writing guides from Wikipedia to the University of Chicago. Learning the alphabet should be your first step on your journey to learn Russian online because while many of the online learning sites do go over the alphabet, it’s a good idea to go into them already understanding the basics of how to read Russian.
Duolingo is one of the top free language learning sites on the Web. It began by offering lessons in just French and Spanish but has now expanded to over a dozen languages, including Russian. Lessons are available in a number of languages, and their Russian lessons can be done in languages other than English. They divide their lessons up by categories – for example beginning phrases, foods, animals, etc.
Duolingo encourages you to participate every day by keeping track of your progress and rewarding you for doing so. Your proficiency in each category you’ve completed actually decreases each day you don’t use the program or the words taught in those categories, mirroring how you lose comprehension each day you don’t practice. This is an effective strategy to encourage users to be perseverant in their studies.
Babbel is another free online resource to help you learn a language, like Duolingo. Babbel offers different levels of language learning depending on your interest level and ability. It also takes your native language into account and helps you learn Russian online by comparing similarities and differences between the two. Like Duolingo, Babbel also categorizes its lessons, but less specifically: for example, their different courses are classified under Russian grammar, words and sentences, and beginner’s courses. There is also a section for the newest courses.
#4. Rosetta Stone
While somewhat pricey, Rosetta Stone continues to be the best-paid option for learning the languages it offers, including Russian. A trusted source of individual language learning for over twenty years, Rosetta Stone has continued to evolve and change and now provides a lot of new features besides just CD learning. You can now subscribe to their online language learning programs that come with voice recognition software and native tutors, and learn on the go with award-winning apps for smartphones and tablets. Rosetta Stone also offers a download or CD edition if you would prefer to learn that way, or for when you don’t have access to a reliable Internet connection.
Effective Tips on How to Learn Russian Online
1. Practice Every Day
With all languages, you make the best progress if you practice every day. Practicing ensures that you retain what you’ve already learned and improves your understanding and technique. If you go too long without reinforcing what you’ve learned, you’ll start to forget it, and this will only get worse the more time goes by. Setting aside the time every day to practice also helps you keep yourself serious about wanting to learn Russian online, and if you are able to develop that habit, you are much more likely to see success.
2. Listen as Much as Possible
If all you do is look at the words and learn written Russian, learning spoken Russian can become more difficult. Because when you only learn the written words and aren’t well-versed in the pronunciation, you will have a more difficult time unlearning the pronunciation in your head for the correct one. Simply listening to Russian being spoken serves to better immerse you and give you a sense of how the language is supposed to sound. So make sure at least some aspect of your education includes spoken words, phrases, and sentences. This can even include fun activities, such as watching Russian broadcasts and Russian movies and TV.
3. Hook Up With Native Speakers
Because immersion is so important to truly learn and retain a new language, finding a native Russian speaker online to practice with can be very beneficial to both of you. People willing to help can be found on major language forums or really any site that you frequent. Usually, these agreements are reciprocal, so your Russian-speaking friend will practice their English (or whatever other language you speak) while you practice your Russian on them. It also provides you with a new friendship and a connection that might be invaluable not only to your language studies but also if you ever are able to visit them in a Russian-speaking area.
4. Be Aware of Dialects
Like most other languages, Russian has different dialects that are spoken in different areas. The Moscow Dialect is the standard, so it is likely what you will be learning. Still, it is important to understand how different dialects might impact your understanding of the language. For example, if you’re learning Russian with a friend you met online, and they are teaching you their dialect of Russian, you should be aware that you aren’t learning standard Russian. Also, that might affect your understanding of the language and native speakers’ perceptions of you.
You can learn Russian online on your own time and even for free. This is now easier than ever thanks to the myriad of resources at your disposal. Check out the resources mentioned in this guide as well as take advantage of both general and specific language learning tips, and you will actually be able to learn Russian online without the aid of a teacher and perhaps even for free.