Far from prejudices related to the former USSR – communism or the plains of snow of Siberia – the Russian language reigns as the master language among the Slavic languages of Eastern Europe.
It's the official language in many different states, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. This idiom is the sixth most spoken language in the world and the most spoken in Europe.
This explains the full classrooms during summer classes, evening classes and requests for private lessons. It is also a clear indicator for the multiplication of new e-learning platforms to learn Russian such as podcasts, online videos and blogs, among others.
The Superprof team are true Russophiles, and they've concocted a selection of books and manuals to learn Russian... and we're pretty sure you'll enjoy it.
Let's discover together these tools that allow to learn Russian for free in order to progress rapidly in written and oral expression as one would have done in French, Spanish, Mandarin, or any other second language. Rather than taking pricely Russian lessons, you can use some of these tools for language learning.
The Best Videos to Learn Russian
While some seek linguistic knowledge in libraries, others go on the Internet...
This is the case today with the multiplication of video content (tutorials, online Russian courses) to learn Russian online for free.
Let's strat with Youtube channels, now an essential tool to learn a foreign language.
They're playful, interactive and in keeping with their time. These videos are raging to the point of competing language schools.
Here are a few :
- Russian Pod101, a youtube companion to the paid online courses on their website. They make 3-minute mini classes.
- Weekly lessons with Natacha, a very popular youtube Channel
These youtube learning channels are ideal for those curious of this new language, the beginners and those preparing the trip to Russia.
We continue with the Russian TV channels available for streaming to discover Russian culture, Russian news and different regional accents such as:
- Perviy Kanal: surely the most popular channel in the country.
- Russia TV - Live: The Russian state television group VGTRK and its 7 Russian TV channels.
- NTV: offers its replay programs on its website.
The Best Books to Learn Russian
Sometimes relegated to the rank of an old, outdated technology, the books and textbooks for learning Russian still offer great teaching methods that have proven themselves useful. Here are some that are worth their weight of linguistic gold.
Sputnik: An Introductory Russian Language Course
This textbook is great to start with. Unlike other textbooks from Russia that can be old or too formal, Sputnik is a very modern textbook; published in 2014. Sputnik covers reading, writing, listening – audio is provided – and speaking lessons. If you finish the textbook you will have the equivalent of a completed semester in college.
- What: a simple method in 234 pages with thorough explanations and texts.
- Target: beginner level.
- The downpoint: the workbook is sold separately
Improve your level of Russian with the book "Russian for Dummies"
- What: method to enrich one's Russian vocabulary, to learn personal pronouns, nouns, declensions and Russian verbs conjugation.
- Target: beginner level.
- Plus: Available with a CD-rom and built around learning Russian culture. Ideal before a trip to Russia, a university exchange or an expatriation.
- the downside: The high price of more than 18$ for this book.
Living Language: Russian, complete edition
With the complete set, you get 3 course books and 9 CDs and the entire program is designed to get you from Beginner to Advanced. It will give you a decent foundation in Russian grammar along with a vocabulary enough for everyday communication. Overall, a big bundle of resources put together.
- What: a broad range to get to an advanced level
- Target: beginner, intermediate and advanced level
- Plus: A paper version, audio files, and a method based on the technique of spaced repetition.
- The downside: Price higher than the competition.
The Best Russian Online Course Websites
Even more than evening classes, summer schools and language schools, the Internet and its web offer a more and more personalized learning environment for every student wishing to learn Russian.
Yes but how to navigate among all these sites to learn Russian?
Count on me and follow the language guide through Lake Baikal, the Mzymta River and the Chuya Road. Dobro pozhalovat '!
- What: MasterRussian.com has earned its place as the top website for Russian learners out there. You can find about anything on this website from grammar, vocabulary lists, conjugation,...
- Target: It's great for beginners and also a good tool when you have a more advanced level.
An Online Russian Reference Grammar
- What: This is the best website for learning Russian grammar. A great ressource.
- Tarfet: all levels.
- Plus: the reference for all grammar questions.
- What: Many Russian lessons
- Target: beginners
- Plus: also includes games and quizzes.
Lean russian step by step
What: More than 140 lessons to review grammar points, Russian words and the conjugation of displacement verbs or conditional in Russian.
Target: beginners level.
Plus: Available in French, English and Spanish. Presence of podcasts.
The best music sites to learn Russian
Several major editions offer good Russian dictionaries. It is by learning on a regular basis that you can make progress quickly.
For students in evening classes, summer schools or who take private Russian lessons that roam the corridors of language schools, it can be said that it allows to know your score without having to raise your tone.
Lets leave the idiomatic expressions aside, it's time to change the chorus! Recommended by teachers of all foreign languages, music has linguistic virtues that make it possible to touch the sensitive chord of the learner.
Indeed, by listening the student has the opportunity to improve his level of Russian while discovering an integral part of the Russian culture that gave birth to composers of legend such as Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Shostakovich among others.
- Thankyou.ru: This crowdfunding site, including fundraising by the community, offers multiple titles with lyrics by independent authors, singers and composers. It is possible to support the album by participating in its financing.
- Karaoke.ru: ideal to combine your hobbie with the learning of the Russian language, this site offers hundreds of songs of Russian variety. Lead the karaoke!
The Best Podcasts to Learn Russian
Repeating words and phrases outloud is an excellent memory exercise. The Russian pronunciation demands efforts to be done correctly. Speaking Russian will help, but listening to Russian is a good first step if you're not taking Russian lessons.
Often neglected in favor of written expression, grammar and conjugation, listening is a crucial element in learning a living language.
Despite its Cyrillic alphabet different from ours, as well as its belonging to Slavic languages, it is no different for Russian.
That's why, in addition to e-learning tools and tutorials via videoconferencing, the last few years have seen the rise of podcasts to learn Russian online.
Ideal for improving pronunciation, intonation and sentence structure, the Podcast is a phenomenon that is gaining momentum among new generations more open to this type of alternative training.
To improve one's level of Russian, to improve one's oral expression and even to speak as a Russian speaker becomes a reality that the podcast has made possible.
Online or in mp3 format, on your computer or smartphone and with or without written transcription here is a non-exhaustive list of sites on which we can find podcasts in Russian:
Russian Made Easy
What: Introduce Russian, learning basic russian, the alphabet, and greetings.
Target: level beginners and absolute beginners.
Plus: A good podcast for English speakers just beginning to study the Russian alphabet.
- What: The host creates dialogues on a variety of topics and explains new words, phrases and expressions.
- Target: intermediate learners
- Plus: The accompanying PDF guides are free.
Learn Russian Step by Step
- What: It does what it says – taking you through Russian grammar and vocabulary step by step.
- Target: The perfect podcast for beginners.
- Plus: slow and simplified speaking format for students
Very Much Russian
What: to learn slang, idioms and expressions
Target: intermediate and advanced level.
Plus: Ability to download the shows and their free transcription in mp3 format.
Which Russian-English dictionary to choose?
We use less and less dictionaries in our everyday lives, yet dozens of dictionaries continue to be published every day around the world. In all languages, therefore!
And Russian is obviously not left out.
Thus, for English-speaking students learning the Tolstoy language, it is necessary to have a quality Russian-English dictionary.
And of all the books that exist, we have some to recommend to you:
- The Oxford Russian dictionary,
- The Kenneth Katzner dictionary,
- The Langenscheidt Publishers dictionary.
Of course, you can also fall back on dictionaries and online translators to help you once in Russia!
Which apps can help you to learn Russian?
Lovers of dictionaries and other books to hold in the hands may not like the idea of using an app for learning Russian, but the applications today win most votes and are very popular among the students of the Slavic language!
Indeed, they have an undeniable practical side (the fact of being able to take your app and smartphone anywhere to revise... anywhere!), the apps to learn Russian are often very effective. And recommended by the linguists themselves.
And among the most distinguished apps, we find:
- Mondly ...
English-Russian translation: which online translator to choose?
Imagine: you arrive in St Petersburg, Moscow or Kazan.
Then, you get a desire to eat a local salmon tartare. But you do not know how to say neither "tartare" nor "salmon". Actually, not even "fish"! In fact, you do not know anything at all to be absolutely clear.
In short, you need the urgent help of someone or something, on pain of dying of a lack of iodine!
As for "someone", we can't help you once you're there. On the other hand, for the "something" part, we have some ideas of Russian-English online translators for you:
- Google Translate,
Now just go and make the most of it!
To conclude, we'll say that finding an online Russian course or offline courses wherever you live is a pretty good idea if you want to progress rapidly and well, but that they are many tools that will help you become fluent, especially if you already have language skills.
Want to learn more about Russia?