Listening, Speaking, and Understanding

Listening and understanding

When you talk about speaking, you mean conversation, right? You say something, and another person says something. You listen to the person and you respond, and vice versa. To be able to understand, you need practice listening.

Listening corresponds to speaking, I already told you when we were talking about speaking that you must listen first.


Most of the time when I we set a goal with my students, they say they want to be able to speak Russian.

You must speak and train your muscles to pronounce words of the Russian language.

Please note that reading and writing are not speaking exercise. To be able to speak, you must speak, you must open your mouth and pronounce words and sentences. Again, it reminds me of swimming — go ahead and swim. You can have a ton of good books about swimming, but they are not so helpful unless you jump into a swimming pool. The same is true here — open your mouth and speak!

What to speak? First I can recommend that you repeat what someone is speaking. It might be a recording. Some courses require that you listen to a lot of recordings; go with them!

Speaking is natural for a person. You listen, and you repeat — this is the most natural way of learning language. The only bad thing about it is that it is very slow.  You need an incentive to succeed; I will talk about it later in this blog.

Soroka. Russian language for children

Study in Class and Online

Study in class

You can find classes, private lessons in person, lessons online (via Skype and other programs).

It is not so easy to find group lessons. Check your local Orthodox churches and see if they offer something that you can attend. Also check the local newspapers or website where people advertise their services. The good thing about studying in a group is that you will not be alone. You will be able to see other people, their progress, the mistakes they make. Sometimes you can hide behind the group if you don’t understand something, or if it’s difficult to remember.

Working with groups will help you to find good friends who have the same passion for languages.

Study online

Consider learning online if:

  • No Russian language groups exist in your area.
  • Your work schedule is very busy, and you cannot attend the lessons.
  • You prefer individual work.

You can find a teacher online; a language school; or a personal instructor.  The most important thing is to find someone that you really like. I have a student who had another Russian instructor before we started to work together. This teacher never smiled, and that was the reason why the student didn’t want to go on with her. She liked my approach better because I always smile and always cheer up my students. I know that it is very important for them to feel my support and approval.

Yes, to my understanding you can have a perfectly educated teacher with college degree, but if you don’t like the sound of her voice, you will be aggravated all the time and won’t enjoy the process. Sometimes teachers that have no degree but love the language are very friendly, and you understand their explanations very well – you’d be better off to go to a teacher like that.

Some people don’t understand how to pay if the teacher is in a different city or even in a different country. Don’t worry, there are many systems you can use to transfer money that are safe and secure.

Another concern people sometimes have is how they can see a document if the person is so far from them. There are many ways a teacher can share documents with you on your screen, or sometimes your instructor might suggest that you buy the same book he or she has, so you can open it where needed.

Soroka. Russian language for children

Self-Studies vs. Learning with a Teacher

As I mentioned above, learning a language is a self-teaching process. You might need a teacher to help you, to give you an idea or direction, a little bit of explanation or correction.
You don’t need to have a native speaker as a teacher. It is not always good. Some non-native speakers are even better because they are trained teachers; they went through the language training, so they know how to explain and what to explain. Some native Russian speakers are not so educated, and you might not find what you are looking for. If your native-speaker teacher is not educated, it means her or his speech is not correct, and you will speak like a low-class person; if that doesn’t bother you, it’s OK.

Soroka. Russian language for children

Before You Start

Set your goal. Ask yourself why are you learning? It is not enough just to say, “I want to learn the language.” Any language is a big and complicated subject. It is too big and scary even to look at. Please determine what you want: Do you want read books by Leo Tolstoy in their original language, or understand what your business partners are talking about? Or do you have a Russian friend and you want to please him or her by saying a couple of words in Russian? Think about it before you go, and write it down.
Think about your budget and how much money you are ready to spend on studies. It is a very important point and will determine your future actions.

Soroka. Russian language for children

What to Expect

Like any other language-studies learning, Russian is a self-study. Like riding a bicycle or swimming, you must do it yourself. You can have the best swimming instructor, but it won’t help till you jump into the water and swim. The same applies here: You need to practice and memorize by yourself.


Soroka. Russian language for children

Starting a New Blog

I am writing this blog for people who are willing to learn Russian without going to college. My readers are creative and curious; they like new technologies.
In this blog we will not speak about grammar or other rules. We will speak how to learn and what to do — some helpful tips.
You can start reading this blog from any page you want. Just open and read.

Soroka. Russian language for children