There is a way to learn to read Russian in a very short period of time. Not being able to do it in months or days, but in hours. Far faster than you probably thought possible. But we have to be clear, here, exact what we mean by reading though: Do we mean, to sound out the Cyrillic letters in a word and pronounce them out loud so that a Russian speaker understands us?
Or do we mean, look at the printed Russian word and understand its meaning, even if we'd have trouble pronouncing it? Those are different skills. Both are easily attainable, but the first requires audio supplement. Since this article is in written form only, we will concentrate on the ability to decipher meaning. This will let us read Russian signs, for example, or surf the Russian internet.
Compared to some languages (Chinese, Arabic) reading Russian can be easy. Language experts are starting to employ contextual learning to embed the pronunciation of Cyrillic letters on a deeper level. The amazing thing about this method is that it's effortless and hands down the most effective.
In the phrases below, all BIG BOLD CAPITAL LETTERS are Russian letters. These first letters are easy because they look the same and sound the same as their English counterparts.
Оpen wide, said the doctor, and say…
So, the English word TAKOMA would be spelled the same was in Russian: T-A-K-O-M-A.
It's important to note that the Russian versions of these letters have few variations in pronunciation. The same CANNOT be said of the English versions. How many sounds can you make with the English ‘O’ for example? (Think of the 'o' sound in Women, for example.)
Here’s the next round:
БaseБall is the most popular sport in America.
Сeptember is my birth month, but…
Нovember is my favorite month.
Лaugh out Лoud!
Пretty Пlease, with sugar on top?
Рonald Peagan was the 40th President of the United States.
Вampires are scary!
Фotoshop is a great program.
Let’s play with these some more before going on. The following are English words sounded out using the Russian alphabet:
They were: "Snow, Photo, Bar, Lamp, Mars." How’d you do? Ok, let’s try the net group.
Дavid and Гoliath
Гarden of Eden.
Хa Xa, very funny.
The MiraЖ in Las Vegas is my favorite hotel.
Зippidee do dah!
Чinese Фood is delicious!
Яtzee is a game played with dice.
Уps, I Did It Again is Brittney’s best song!
Еsterday is the Beatle’s best song!
We’re almost finished. There's only one more round after this. Let’s once again work with our new letters. Remember, these are English words and phrases sounded out in the "code" of the Cyrillic alphabet:
ЕС ОР НО?
Yes or no? Chew slow. Garage. Flash. Yada yada. Hot dog.
Here’s the final batch of Russian letters for you:
Ё dude, whassup! Or: My favorite toy is a Ё Ё .
Иk, a mouse! Or: Иster egg!
OЙ vei, what a headache! Or: G.I. Joe is my favorite toЙ.
Эpcot Center is better than Disney World.
Ю2 is a great group, but I’m not a big fan of Bono.
WhaЦ up, dude?
Ыk, another mouse!
Let’s play with these newest ones, and then get to the answers:
Answers: Egg yolk. Excuse me! Toy Story.
You ready for your final exam? Here’s a few sentences written in English, using Cyrillic letters to spell out the words. Give it a try:
Хай! Май нэйм ис Марк. Ай рили лайк стадиинг рашен. Рашен ис сач эй кул лангуэдж, донт ю агри? Уэл, ай хоп зис артикл хэлпд ю!
This article contains everything you need to learn to read Russian at an accelerated pace. Read through it a few times, if necessary. I also recommend writing the Russian letters yourself. Try sounding out your own phrases. In short, play with the letters. Dn't worry if it's "right"...Russians themselves disagree on how to sound out English words with Russian letters. No biggie. Just try. Soon, you'll be a master of Cyrillic.