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Strategies to Quickly Learn to Speak the Russian Language

In this article we're going to learn some Russian naturally, the way you first learned English as a child: We're going to echo words first, and then learn meaning from context and usage.

Echoing is what kids do. They repeat the sounds their parents make, not understanding the meaning at first. So let's try it. Pronounce these words out loud a few times. Don't even try to guess what they might mean. Children, after all, never let the meaning of a word stop them from saying it.




"Masheena" sounds almost exactly like the English word "machine" (with an 'a' at the end) except both of the 'a's rhyme with 'mama'.  The "shee" syllable gets the stress or emphasis. So it's "ma-SHEE-na."


The first syllable, "bu" sounds like the "BOO!" you yell when trying to scare someone. The syllable "til"is exactly like ours, as in "til death do us part," and it gets the emphasis. Thus is might be written:


Say the next sentence out loud, which will help us with "paket." "Pa, is he back yet?" So, the "pa" of "paket" sounds just like "Pa" as in "Ma and Pa." And the "ket" part sounds very much like the "--ck yet" part of "back yet."Be sure to say it very fast.

So, let's repeat these three words a few times: Masheena, butilka, paket.

Now, instead of me just saying, "Here's what the words mean," let's see how they're used. This is the best way to absorb meaning.

My first masheena was a 1985 Honda Civic. The thing ran forever.

I'll never forget the time my masheena ran out of gas in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel. That was a nightmare.

On New Year's, I popped open a butilka of champagne and we made a toast to a successful 2010!

I asked the bartender, "Do you have Heineken on tap, or only in a butilka?"

In the grocery store, the lady at the cash register asked me what kind of paket I wanted, paper or plastic?

On the drive home, one of the pakets fell over -- the one with all the fruit -- and oranges and kiwis went rolling everywhere.

Next, you want to start combining them into single sentences, so that they reinforce each other. Like this:

You shouldn't drive with an open butilka of alcohol in your masheena. There are strict penalties for that.

The mechanic took a swig from his water-butilka and set it on the hood of the masheena he was working on.

"Open the trunk," my wife said, as we left the supermarket and rolled the cart towards our masheena. "I wanna put all the grocery pakets in the back."

"Okay," I said. "But first I need a swig of soda," and I pulled a butilka of Pepsi from one of the grocery pakets.

So, what is a masheena? A butilka? A paket? You leanred these naturally, from context. This is one powerful method to learn Russian fast.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 28 May 2013 11:12 )