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7 Steps to Learn Russian for an English-Speaking Person

Just like everything else about Russia, its language also seems somewhat intimidating. While many languages of the world share alphabets that are similar to those of English, the Russian language takes an entirely different lead. And since the Russian language has a different alphabet structure, there’s a common misconception that it’s quite challenging to learn.

Russian book

Well, to be honest, no language is tough to learn, as long as you put your heart into it. Russian language might look rather bland and jingoistic, but it’s brimming with colors of Russian culture, lifestyle, and values. Russian poetry, literature, and political speeches make this language sound powerful and influential.

A big advantage of learning the Russian language is that you can land jobs in foreign services as well. Russia may not be a superpower today, but it does have allies around the world. Therefore, learning Russian has cultural, political, professional, and educational advantages.

So, how can an English speaker learn how to speak Russian? Even with its strange alphabets and alien culture, you can learn this language quickly. Here’s how to learn Russian in easy ways:

1. Learn the Cyrillic Alphabet

The Russian alphabets are in Cyrillic script. At first glance, you won’t be able to make any literal sense of the letters. However, you can take help from online blogs, YouTube tutorials, translation dictionaries, or other learning resources.

Learning the alphabet of any language forms the basis of your fluency and understanding of that language. If you work hard and dedicatedly, everything else after this first step will come to you quickly. To learn the Cyrillic script, you can opt for online programs if you like. Online LMS such as Coursera, Udemy, and YouTube have quality content regarding basic Russian.

You can also take help from apps such as Duolingo. Another way to reinforce the foundation of the Russian language in your brain is to write down whatever you learn. Writing in any language strengthens memory and fluency. You can also use phonetics to understand similar words. Spending time on the Cyrillic language will help you in learning the correct pronunciation and arrangement of letters, too.

2. Translate from English

While learning to speak Russian, you’ll subconsciously use English to teach yourself. So once you’ve learned the basic word-formation, you can try to make sentences on your own. Initially, this can be quite difficult if you use your weak Russian language skills.

You can probably read a chapter from your favorite English novel and try to translate it in your head. If your language skills are strong enough, you can also look for an English language essay and translate it in Russian. There are many English essays on the language of the Russians. So you can also choose language essay topics that talk about Russians. Translate this in Russian, and you’ll see a stark difference in the way both languages paint different pictures with words! Also, you can use some of writing services and language courses online.

3. Talk to a Native

Proceeding to the speaking part can be even scarier than the writing and reading parts. You won’t be able to copy the Russians, but you can do your best to sound natural. To ace at your speaking skills, try to find a coach or a friend who’s a native speaker. These people will gladly help you out to overcome the language barriers.

Moscow city, Russia

4. Read Poetry and Prose

Languages are incomplete without the elements of the culture they represent. To truly understand the depths and emotions of Russian words and phrases, you need to look into their literature as well. After you’ve grasped the basics of the Russian language, you can also look into Russian literature to work on your understanding of the language.

5. Challenge Yourself

To check up on your language progress, you can challenge yourself in exciting ways. Try finishing a book in Russian. Write a haiku. Talk to someone who’s fluent in speaking the language. Watch Russian shows and try to translate things into your head. Play language games on the internet. Do anything that isn’t mainstream academic or serious. Try to get creative with the learning process. Your love for the language will grow, and your skills will improve as well.

6. Use an App

You don’t need to beat yourself up in big, bulky dictionaries and language books all the time. You can install apps that have better ways to teach you the Russian language. Cyrillic, Memrise, Duolingo, Google Translate, Hello Talk, Clozemaster are a few popular ones. You can find more apps on the internet and use them to develop an interest in the Russian language.

Russian learning apps like these have games, quizzes, scoreboards, FAQ sessions, and learning reminders to make your journey more appealing. An app is also much more portable and easier to use as compared to carrying books or attending classes. You can also find apps to find Russian e-books, audiobooks, and music playlists.

7. Explore the Culture

Learning a language in its natural environment has an unreal and rewarding effect. If it’s possible, you should travel to Russia at least once. Learn their language through culture, history, art, literature, lifestyle, politics, and fashion. Roam the streets, eat in restaurants, visit museums, and attend language festivals. Exploring Russia sill help you get even closer to the Russian language. This will also bring a taste of the nativity of the Russian language to your tongue. You’ll learn the languages way more easily!


Learning Russian is easy, fun, as well as rewarding. There are plenty of online courses, apps, books, personal coaches willing to teach you this language. All you need is a deep-rooted interest and motivation to excel as a Russian speaker!

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1 comment

  • steffan · November 21, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Russian is quite formal. Serious. Old fashioned.
    Not much room for manouver either. Not humorous.

    For example. It calls a fish *river*
    Odessa I’ve seen spelt 8 different ways. I was told that it depends on the tense! There’s only one London however in English language.

    There are a ridiculous amount of combinations for a straight forward word like *beautiful* and moreover the Communists of the USSR stole lots of Western European words and added lots of letters. Then said it was scientific.
    KyivRuss was the aristocratic language and it makes much more sense.
    That’s the problem when ordinary people are put in charge IMHO. They have to prove they’re better. However they weren’t.

    Summing up. I can speak enough to order from a menu. When I do the waitress cannot believe it because I’ve not gone into pointless old fashioned rhetoric like them. I’m not going to speak a book in everyday life.

    Just enough to get by.



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