My favorite ways to learn Russian vocab, Part 1

with 6 Comments

Do you have any favorite methods for learning vocab? I’ve tried a lot- YouTube videos about making word lists were especially fun to try- but these four things have helped me the most…


Sign up for Transparent Language’s Russian Word of the Day

Why you should use it: It’s free + daily + has a link to a native speaker pronouncing the word / sentence. I’ve been getting these emails for a long, long time and haven’t seen them recycle words- they’re always new ones! And while most sentences are relevant to real life, sometimes you get a winning sentence like this one:

I consider this “Siberian vacation vocab”.



Download ANKI

Why you should use it: This is a spaced repetition system for flashcards, meaning it’s smart enough to show you the cards you don’t know well yet. It’s free for most people (sorry, apple users, $20 or so?) and works on phones + computers. You can use it to curate your own deck from scratch. If you’re feeling lazy, search for a free, pre-made deck. Try Expatiate Russian Verbs or 1,395 Russian Verbs with Audio. I do ANKI in all the little moments, like waiting for light rail and waiting for the elevator. If there’s someone else around who speaks Russian, I read the Russian part out loud and challenge them to translate it to English.




Read Memes

Why you should read them: Memes only take a minute to read or perhaps a few seconds to scan. Plus, who doesn’t need more humor / weirdness in their life? Here’s where I usually go for my memes:




Always pick Russian

Why you should do this: When you switch your phone’s language to Russian the first time, you’ll probably fumble your way through at least a few phone calls. But if you make these kinds of choices repeatedly over time, it makes a difference. I had my gmail set up in Russian forever. It was definitely awkward at first, but things sunk in over time. (And yeah, this is undoubtedly not new advice for you, but have you followed through with it?) And whenever there’s a choice to do something in Russian, I usually pick it. A big healthcare provider wants to know a preferred language for mailings? Getting ready to play a Farm for your Life marathon? There are language options for a tourist map of the Houston Space Center? Russian, Russian, and Russian 😉



Okay, that’s it for now. There are a few more things I want to share with you about ANKI and memes soon. In the meantime, please tell me about your favorite ways to learn vocabulary! 🙂

6 Responses

  1. J.T.
    | Reply

    I use Transparent Language’s Russian Word of the Day, Morpheem, Duolingo, and occasionally Memrise. I’ve also started switching language settings on my email accounts and computer to Russian. Never heard of this Anki program before, though; now I must investigate!

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Cool, you’re pretty well set up already, J.T.!

      I really like Anki because it’s a convenient place to put all those random things (from other places) that I want to remember. This morning I copied and pasted in a quote from someone’s Facebook post- “I went binge reading”, “Ушла в книжный запой”. Haha, binge reading, I love it :p Hope you find Anki useful too!

      PS: If you get into Anki, there are some good ideas on this language blog-

      • J.T.

        > downloaded Anki.
        > added 1,395 Russian Verbs with Audio deck.

      • Katherine

        Ураааа!!! I wish you many hours of happy anki-ing 😀

  2. Jasilyn Albert
    | Reply

    Oh, so glad you had those Anki pre-made packs ready. My roommate installed that application for me (last year!) and still haven’t used it.

    • Katherine
      | Reply

      Let me know how it goes for you if you start using it, Jasilyn. It can be hard at first because it’s another habit to get used to, but I hope it helps you with your Russian. Maybe you could get Anton to quiz you on the cards 🙂

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