Archive for the ‘Russian’ Tag

Learn Russian – Word by Word : 0-50

The first word you need to learn in any language is “thank you”.  Then “hi” and “hello” are handy. The standard layout for phrasebooks is really quite useless since they don’t teach you any of the fundamentals of a language. The question “Where’s the ….?” is equally useful whether you’re at the bank, the restaurant or the post office.

What you need to do is simply begin learning basic words and concepts and build on them until you have enough to get around regardless of where you’re at. And, you need to be able to understand their answer!!

Here’s a sample bit from a Google docs that I’ve started for learning Russian and other languages – word by word:

Let’s take a new approach to language learning, and really understand, word by word, how to express ideas clearly and naturally in the language you’re trying to learn. The first word you need to learn is simply “thank you”.

thank you terima kasih спасибо merci
Thank you very much. Terima kasih banyak. Спасибо большое. Merci beaucoup.
Thanks. ‘ma kasih Спасибо. Merci.
Thanks a lot. Terima kasih banyak. Спасибо большое. Merci beaucoup.

Google and other translation software have a difficult time getting the correct match of expressions. They used to be much worse, giving ‘large thanks’ for ‘большое спасибо’. And by the way, which is more common: ‘большое спасибо’ or ‘спасибо большое’? From my sampling of Russian movies, ‘спасибо большое’ is more common (17 vs 7) but in my sampling of English movies (Russian subs) the ratio is exactly the opposite! (4 vs 17). So, which is most common? Time to ask my Russian speaking friends. 🙂

You can view the entire document here: Language learning – word by word, and you can also add comments, ask questions and contribute with your own native language.

In the meantime, let’s have a look at some other approaches for learning basic Russian. For a whole range of material to learn Russian, come visit our website:

If you want to learn Russian completely, including reading and writing, then the best way to get started is simply with “What’s this? / What’s that?”.  Here’s an example:

And from Lesson 1 which takes less than 5 minutes, simply carry on with lesson 2.

You’ve now had a really good introduction to about 20 key words and even if this is your first time ever learning Russian, you probably feel pretty comfortable with them. Of course, it’s important to also have the audio for the lesson, and you can get that from our website with lots of material to help you learn Russian.

Now, let’s go straight into Russian Lesson 3:

I’ll finish converting Lesson 4 to Slideshare and post it maybe tomorrow.

Пока!! (Ciao!!)


Learn Russian with Movies!!

Why suffer through boring language learning material when you can enjoy watching a movie and learning Russian at the same time?  Even for beginners it can be a pleasant supplement to your language learning program.

Here’s a very nice Russian movie, A Driver for Vera (Водитель для Веры), with English and Russian subtitles.

And if you’re a Harry Potter fan, here’s the fourth movie, The Goblet of Fire, with Russian subtitles.

And for something different, here’s an old Russian movie, 1964, that starts with a young boy and a talking dog.

For more movies, along with downloadable PDF files of the subtitles, both English and Russian shown side by side, come visit our website:


Rosetta Stone – How good (or bad) is it, really?

Of course everyone will have their own preferences but I honestly believe that most people will come to the same conclusion if they were able to see everything clearly.

If you could compare Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur and all other language programs, I think you’d find that none of them really provide a complete solution to learning a foreign language.

So is it possible to create a complete solution?  Yes, I think it is.  Does it exist?  I’ve never found it.

So how about Rosetta Stone, is it any good? I’ve tried it and I don’t like it. It’s essentially flash cards with modern computer technology. I find it boring.

Here’s a rather entertaining video of Michael Phelps trying to learn Mandarin with Rosetta Stone.  He looks just like I felt using Rosetta Stone and most other language learning programs.

Now I’m sure a lot of people who really like Rosetta Stone will complain in the comments, but I’d like to know how many of them have used it and then could actually communicate easily in the language they learned?

Rosetta Stone teaches vocabulary and phrases but that’s not enough to allow you to communicate with someone in a foreign language.

Here’s another video from someone who seems to have experience with several programs.

Rosetta Stone, like McDonalds, are great at marketing, but does McDonalds really make a good hamburger?

I specifically want to learn French, Russian, and Japanese.  Then I’d like to learn Spanish, and then German because I like Switzerland and my friends all live in the German speaking region.

I’ve yet to find a method or material that I really like so I’ve started making my own.  You can have a look at my Russian material here: Learn Russian.

Before anyone points their accusing finger saying that I’m bad mouthing Rosetta Stone and others, just so I can promote my own, NO, I’m not promoting my own.  …yet. 🙂

I’d LOVE to have someone show me a good program and then I wouldn’t have to build one.

I’ll continue adding to this post and look forward to reading your comments.