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Is Russian Hard to Learn?

It's a question I get asked all the time: "Is Russian hard to learn?"

 

The answer? "It can be, if you do it the wrong way."

 

The good news is, learning Russian can be effortless is you approach it the right way. If you've read some of the other articles on this site, then you know the approach that super-learners (as they're called) use to learn languages fast:

 

* they learn all words from context alone

 

* they learn grammar by searching patterns (not by memorizing rules)

 

* and they always, always, ALWAYS dig down to get the true, root meaning of a word. What some people called the SLT or Super Literal Translation.

 

* to develop fluency, they constantly turn phrases into constructions

 

* As often as possible, review vocabulary not by repeating old phrases verbatim, but by creating novel phrases. (That is, new sentences you've never said before.)

 

If you're new to Russian and want to listen to a great podcast that applies all these modern language learning principles, then click here to get it in i-Tunes.

 

If you use these five main principles as you learn Russian, you'll discover that you learn with minimal effort. As I said, learning Russian can be easy if you do it the right way.

 

By way of contrast, let's look at the wrong way to do it. We'll call our hapless student Ralph. So...

 

Ralph goes online and searches "learn Russian for free." He visits a bunch of sites that show him word lists. From one he jots down: TO LOVE =lubit, HAMMER = molotok, BROWN = korichnivy, TO TRAVEL = putishestvovat and so on. Endless lists of words.  Ralph does his best to memorize these words, but starts to feel anxious. All this effort, but he can't form a single useful sentence, except possibly: "The brown hammer loves to travel."

 

Ralph then switches his approach and looks for language forums.  His favorite questions are, "Is Russian hard to learn?" and "Best free sites to learn Russian?"  He is directed to other sites with even longer word lists. Someone convinces Ralph that he needs to take private lessons with a native speaker. So he finds one and, as you can imagine, she gives him a list of words to memorize. She also spends the bulk of his first few lessons trying to perfect his pronounciation of word like здравствуйте and нравится. Ralph finds these words difficult to pronounce and his confidence dwindles with every passing comment from his "teacher."

 

Eventually, Ralph's interest in Russian fades and he quits altogether.

 

And that's sad.  Because it's not his fault. He simply took the wrong approach. We don't learn languages from word lists. And native speakers -- while experts at speaking the language -- are horendous when it comes to teaching.

 

Russian is easy to learn, but you need to do it the right way. Throw away those word lists, and cancel your next lesson with your private tutor. Instead, go download this podcast for learning Russian for free and see for yourself how easy Russian is to learn.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 February 2015 10:56 )