So you want to speak Russian. Here are some tips before you start your adventure into learning to speak Russian:
If you're going to Russia on vacation, you really need to spend your time learning some survival kinds of phrases. My top ten list would include, "Where is the bathroom?", along with the ubiquitous Yes, no, please and thank you. It's beyond the scope of this article to thoroughly teach you those phrases, but I wanted to emphasize that you should practice saying them often, and jot them onto flashcards. Carry those flashcards with you and read straight from them if you need to, when you're in Russia. (Or at least take a quick peek just before speaking.)
But if you're wanting to learn Russian for more than just a few travel phrases -- if you really want to speak Russian and understand it -- then there are two main steps you need to take:
1. You need to find the best Russian course for you. This will take some time, though not necessarily money. You could start by going to your local library to see what courses they have sitting around their shelves. The library is a good place to start because you can try a variety of courses for free. Unfortunately, most of the courses that libraries have are literally decades old and are in pretty bad condition. But still, it's a starting point.
If you're willing to trade money to save time, you might consider purchasing a course online. For an in-depth look at Russian courses take a look at my review of the best Russian courses available for purchase online.
So, finding the right course, or courses is the first step to truly speaking Russian. And our second step?
2. You need to make a commitment to put in the time. A common mistake is that beginners get gung-ho and make promises to themselves that they'll study every day...for two or three hours. Then, when they miss a day or two, they quit altogether. The issue was, they made too big of a commitment to start with. Instead, tell yourself you'll study 30 minutes every other day, or even three days a week. You don't want guilt coming in if you don't study every day. As you learn and progress, okay...then your commitment can increase as well, to five days each week, maybe forty minute per session. But stick to it and give it time. Russian honestly is no harder than any other language (to speak, at least) but it does require an investment of time.
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