How to Learn Russian for Beginners Easily

Russia is the largest country in the world which stretches from Northern Asia to most part of Eastern Europe. According to that fact, Russia has the potential as a country with large number of inhabitants from various ethnic whose along with them might carrying their ethnic languages. Language become identity for every nation, from the used language it could be reflection or description of the nation itself so is the inhabitants. Regardless from various ethnic language, Russia has one national language that has a role to unite the people of the nation and to help communication process between every single person become much easier. National language which is used in Russia known as East Slavonic Language.

Russian Language using alphabet known as Cyrillic consist with 33 total number of alphabet . There are also rules in Russian language for it’s using or in other words grammar rules in it’s linguistic system. Therefore, this article will provide you material and explanation of how to learn Russian for beginners easily.

Russian Alphabets (Cyrillic)

As mentioned before that Russian language using cyrilic that consist with 33 total number of alphabet. There are two types of writing Russian cyrilic, those are block (capital) letters and cursive (handwritten) letters.

1. Block (capital) letters

Here are capital letters of Russian language and how to pronounce it, including sample or explanation of every letters.

Capital LettersPronounciationSample/explanation
Аaa in car
Бbeb in bag
Вvev in vase
Гgeg in golf
Дded in day
Еyeye in yell
Ёyoyo in yours
Жzhezhe like s in measure
Зzez in zebra
Иii/eeii/ee in feel
Йi/yi/y in buoy
Кkak in kick
Лell in low
Мemm in mother
Нenn in nature
Оoo in old
Пpep in pet
Рerr in rest
Сess in sleep
Тtet in take
Уu/oou/oo in room
Фeff in fruit
Хkhakha in loch ness
Цtsetse in roots
Чcheche in cheer
Шshasha in shoes
Щshchashcha like sh in fresh and ch in cherry (fresh cherry)
Ъtviordiy znak hard sign with no sound*
Ыiiyiiy in will
Ьmyagkiy znaksoft sign with no sound*
Эee in elf
Юyu/yooyu/yoo in use
Яyaya in yacht

Those are block (capital) letters of Russian alphabet, now we turn to cursive (handwritten) letters below.


2. Cursive (handwritten) letters

Here are Russian cursive (handwritten) alphabets, pronounciation and sample are the same like the capital letters.

In Russian Letters there are distinguished into vowels, consonant, and sign for pronounciation :

  • Vowels

А а Е e Ё ё И и О оУ y Ы ы Э э Ю ю Я я

  • Consonant

Б б В в Г г Д д Ж ж З з Й й К к Л л М м Н н П п Р рС с Т т Ф ф Х х Ц ц Ч ч Ш ш Щ щ

  • As sign for pronounciation

Ъ ъ (hard sign),  Ь ь (soft sign)

After getting know of Russian alphabet and how to pronounce it, to help you remind the Russian alphabet we highly recommend you to do an exercise by yourself such as write your own name by using Russian alphabet. After you  feel familiar with the alphabet do not hesitate to continue your process of learning with Basic Russian Words for Beginners

Russian Vocabulary (Pусские Cлова)

The next step of how to learn Russian for beginners easily, we will provide you to learn Russian vocabulary. In Russian language there are also nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverb. Here are the explanation and basic rules for Russian vocabulary.

1. Noun (Cуществительное)

In Russian language mostly known for it’s gender of the noun. It is differentiate into three types of gender: masculine (мужской род), feminine (женский род) and neutral (средний род). Usually, you can determine it’s gender from the ending of each words. In addition, we will provide the basic rules in order to determine the gender of nouns but there are also exception words related to gender.

Study the following examples of  three types of gender in Russian language below, it is divided into masculine (мужской род), feminine (женский род), and neutral (средний род).

  • Masculine (мужской род)

Masculine Nouns in Russian can be seen by their consonant endings. Here are example of Masculine Nouns in Russian:

стул (stul)”table”, студент (studjyent) “student”, дом (dom) “house”. чай (chay) “tea”.

  • Feminine (женский род)

Feminine Nouns in Russian can be seen by vowels with ending -a, -я, -ия. Here are example of Feminine Nouns in Russian:

студентка (studjyentka) “female student”, семья (sem’ya) “family”, полиция (politsiya) “police”.

  • Neutral (средний род)

Neutral Nouns in Russian can be seen by vowels with ending -o, -e, -ие. Here are example of Neutral Nouns in Russian:

письмо (pis’mo) “letter”, море (morye) “sea”, зданиe (zdaniye) “building”.

Note : Nouns with soft sign ending (Ь)  can be either masculine or feminine such as :  путь (put’) “path” -masculine, дверь (dver’) “door” -feminine. The only way to determine the gender of nouns with such endings is to check the words in Russian dictionary and continue to memorize it as your progress of learning.

2. Verb (глагол)

In Russian language, verbs also influenced with grammatical rules and it is known as conjugation. Verb conjugation are followed with pronouns, by conjugate the ending of the verb you can tell the gender and number of the verb. There are two types of verb conjugation in Russian, First conjugation with infinitive verb ending –ать, –ть and Second conjugation with infinitive verb endings –ить, –eть. Here are examples of Russian verbs and conjugation process :

  • First conjugation – replace infinitive verb endings –ать,ть  into endings that match with the related pronouns.
Pronouns Verb “слушать” (slushat’) – listenVerb “гулять” (gulyat’) – listen
я (ya) – Iслуша-ю (slusha-yu) гуля-ю (gulya-yu)
ты (tiy) – youслуша-ешь (slusha-yesh’)гуля-ешь (gulya-yesh’)
он/она (on/ona) – he/sheслуша-ет (slusha-yet)гуля-ет (gulya-yet)
мы (miy) – weслуша-ем (slusha-yem)гуля-ем (gulya-yem)
вы (viy) – you (formally)слуша-етe (slusha-yete)гуля-етe (gulya-yete)
они (onyi) – theyслуша-ют (slusha-yut)гуля-ют (gulya-yut)

Note : the translation of conjugated verb are adjusted to the new ending attached to it, for example слуша-ю already conjugated with pronouns я so it will be translated into “I listen” (я слушаю).

  • Second conjugation – replace infinitive verb endings –ить, –eть into endings that match with the related pronouns.
PronounsVerb “говорить” (govorit’) – speakVerb “смотреть” (smotryet’) – look/see
я = (ya) – Iговор-ю (govor-yu)смотр-ю (smotr-yu)
ты =  (tiy) – youговор-ишь (govor-ish’)смотр-ишь (smotr-ish’)
он/она = (on/ona) – he/sheговор-ит (govor-it)смотр-ит (smotr-it)
мы = (miy) – weговор-им (govor-im)смотр-им (smotr-im)
вы = (viy) – you (formally)говор-итe (govor-ite)смотр-итe (smotr-ite)[
они = (onyi) – theyговор-ят (govor-yat)смотр-ят (smotr-yat)

Note : the translation of conjugated verb are adjusted to the new ending attached to it, for example говор-ю already conjugated with pronouns я so it will be translated into “I speak” (я говорю).

3. Adjective (прилагательное)

Adjectives in Russian language are to describe nouns. For it’s using, adjectives usually following nouns to form a sentence or in other words adjectives come before a noun. If nouns have gender, so is adjectives will change the form following gender of the nouns. For examples :

AdjectiveMasculineFeminineNeutralPlural
красивый (krasiviy) – beautifulкрасив-ый (krasiv-iy)красив-ая (krasiva-ya)красив-ое (krasiv-oyeкрасив-ыe (krasiv-iye
Новый (noviy) – newНов-ый (nov-viy)Нов-ая (nov-aya)Нов-ое (nov-oye)Нов-ыe (nov-iye)

Note : Russian adjectives do not have initial form like Russian verb which called infinitive. If you search Russian adjectives in dictionary, you will see the first form of Russian adjectives are same like the masculine one. Translation of adjective after being placed with different endings have the same meaning as the first form.


4. Adverb (наречие)

Adverbs in Russian language describe verbs or action words. If adjectives comes before a noun, adverb usually are used if there is a verb. Position of adverb in a sentence structure of Russian language does not matter and it will not change the meaning of the sentence itself. Look at the examples below :

  • Я бегаю быстро
    (ya begayu biystro)
    I run fast
  • Oна изучает русский язык плохо
    (ona izuchayet russkiy yizik plokha)
    She is studying Russian language poorly

If there are several adverb in a sentence, adverb of time comes first followed by other adverb. Here are the example of using more than one adverb in a sentence :

  • Cейчас мы говорим очень медленно в классе
    (seychas miy govorim ochen’ medlyenno ve klasse)
    Today we are talking very slowly in the class
  • Bчера вечером Маша пела в её доме громко
    (vchera vyecherom Masha pyela ve yeyo dome gromka)
    Last night Masha sang loudly in her house

To enrich your vocabulary, here are some Russian common words divided into nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverb:

NounsVerbsAdjectivesAdverb
машина (mashina) – carдумать (dumat’) – thinkбольшой (bolshoy) – bigвсегда (vsegda) – always
деньги (djen’gi) – moneyделать (djelat’) – do/makeхороший (kharoshiy) – goodхорошо (kharasho) – good
комната (komnata) – roomпонимать (ponimat’) – rememberстарый (stariy) – oldсейчас (seychas) – now
стол (stol) – tableлюбить (lyubit’) – loveкрасный (krasniy) – redхолодно (kholodna) – cold
женщина (zhenschina) – femaleкупить(kupit’) – buyхолодный (kholodniy) – coldжарко (zharko) – hot
место (myesto) – placeзнать (znat’) – knowтолстый (tolstiy) – fat/thickвчера (vchera) – yesterday
книга (knyiga) – bookдавать(davat’) – giveважный (vazhniy) – importantздесь (zdjes’) – here
окно (akno) – windowработать (rabotat’) – workтихий (tikhiy) – quite/silenceобычно (obiychno) – usually
день (dyen’) – dayсмотреть (smotryet’) – look/seeпоздний (pozdniy) – lateкрасиво (krasivo) – beauty
отец (otyets) – fatherговорить(govorit’) – speakтёплый (tyopliy) – warmтам (tam) – there

All material of how to learn Russian for beginners easily have been introduced. We highly recommend you to keep practicing or you can invite your friends to learn Russian language together so that you can practicing together or start a conversation by using Russian language. For more material about Russian language, you may visit Common Greetings in Russian to start next lesson of how to greet people in Russian and start your conversation.

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