Seeking Russian learning resources
September 8, 2013 8:47 PM   Subscribe

I'd like more and better (preferably Internet-based) resources for learning Russian. Cyrillic alphabet instruction not needed. Details inside.

I studied Russian for a year in high school (14 years ago) and learned enough that I can say "Здравствуйте," "Я не понимаю," and stuff like where I live, but I didn't develop much vocabulary. I know the Cyrillic alphabet already and don't have time for "learn the alphabet" stuff. I want to get back what I had learned and take it deeper.

I currently have the "New Penguin Russian Course" and I am studying it, which at this point is mostly refresher. But it doesn't have an audio component that I'm aware of, so I'm missing a chunk of the equation. I really like Duolingo for getting my high school Spanish back, but there is no Duolingo for Russian at this point. I'd really like some good audio that's similar to the Penguin course in terms of vocabulary. Even a good flashcard system would be useful if there was an easy way to type in Cyrillic (currently I use Google Translate when I want to type in Russian, which is slow and difficult). I'm not at a level where I'd feel comfortable doing conversation with native speakers yet, but I'm open to ideas for doing that. What's out there that I can use?
posted by graymouser to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Free online Russian

I haven't looked at it in years, but still had the link and it's not dead.
posted by Michele in California at 8:54 PM on September 8, 2013

This is where I used to get Russian Audio. It is for several languages but I mostly used it for Russian. (My Russian is extremely limited. I can do impressive things like count to ten orally.)
posted by Michele in California at 9:45 PM on September 8, 2013

Some podcasts I really liked were RussianPod101, A Spoonful of Russian, and A Taste of Russian. Also: When I first started learning Russian, I got a lot out of reading the plays of Anton Chekhov. They're mostly written in a deliberately flat, conversational style, which is much easier to read than poetry or prose.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:23 PM on September 8, 2013

Have a look at, they've got podcasts and twitter and everything.
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:47 AM on September 9, 2013

Everyone i know who has used the Michel Thomas method, including myself, has found it incredibly useful. You can find it on amazon.
posted by niruniru at 1:30 AM on September 9, 2013

The best way to learn vocabulary is to read, read, read—spend as much time reading Russian as you can, and look up every word you don't know. It starts out as a pain in the ass, but you'll be amazed at how it pays off. Find blogs you like (I favor Anatoly Vorobey and Gasan Guseinov, who often has links where you can hear him reading his posts in a delightfully gravelly voice) and of course read Russian literature (virtually all of which is online in one form or another) and watch Russian movies. Exposure is key.
posted by languagehat at 6:30 AM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Memrise has Russian language resources. I haven't used it for Russian, but I'm learning other languages and like the site a lot. People can add flash cards using graphics or text, which has been fun and useful for me.
posted by dragonplayer at 7:18 AM on September 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

The Penguin course is very well received. At some point, it will stop being a refresher.

Everyone seems to love the (free!) Princeton course as well.

I am a big Assimil fan, and there is Russian With Ease.

For vocabulary, I have this Russian frequency dictionary and commend it to your attention.

Typing Cyrillic is something that has to come with time.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:24 AM on September 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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