Learning Russian… four months on

It’s just over four months since I started this blog about learning Russian? How have things progressed? What have been the satisfactions and the frustrations? Where would I like to be after another four months?

I discovered very quickly that simply learning phrases, “holiday Russian” didn’t suit me. I was  always trying to deconstruct the sentences and wasn’t prepared simpy to accept that, for example the word for book is книга but if you read a book it becomes книгу. So my main satisfaction has been persevering with cases so I have some understanding and also so -sometimes – I can formulate my own sentences correctly without having to refer to a table and without randomly guessing. In this respect the biggest boon has been without question the RedKalinka Moodle course I blogged about previously It presents me with hundreds of quizzes on vocabulary, verbs, cases at basic and intermediate level and it is the repeated practice with these which is making them finally start to sink in. I’ve been aiming to do two or three quizzes a day – and often that means redoing them several times until I get 100%. It’s simply hard work, but the reward will be worth it.


Another pleasure has been learning together, in the weekly Russian classes at UCLAN. I even joined the Russian society and attended a screening of The Irony of Fate, a cult comedy film they all watch religiously every New Year. (A bit like Morecambe and Wise or the Great Escape!) When you’re in a mixed ability class, the teacher always has a balancing act to do ensuring everyone has sufficient talk time and practice time, and one area I would like to do better in is in conversation:

My frustration is that I have nobody to talk to at length (not that I can talk at length!) but for more than just thirty second bursts. On the CEFR scale I am barely at A1, but we all have to start somewhere I think if I could have regular conversation practice or be able to ask individual questions, I’d move along more quickly. This became apparent over Christmas when I forced my son to give me some private time – and it’s encouraged me to book some private lessons when I go to St Petersburg in a couple of weeks’ time. I’m having three sessions with VivaLinguaPlus, the company which gives (very) advanced Russian lessons to my son and I am looking forward to their intensity very much 🙂


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