Best Method of Learning Russian

Traditional language learning is time-consuming, laborious, and in many cases, frustrating and disappointing. While some people seem to be naturally adept at learning languages, learning a new language, for many people, often seems like an insurmountable obstacle. This is even more so the case when a new language, such as Russian, requires learning a new alphabet and unfamiliar sounds. Conventional thinking assumes that learning a new language takes years of study. While this may be true for someone interested in becoming a scholar, for the average person interested simply in becoming competent in a language, the timeframe can be much shorter. The Pimsleur method is a revolutionary method of language learning that is able to teach basic language skills in a ten-day period. The Pimsleur method, developed by Dr. Paul Pimsleur, presents an alternative to traditional language learning techniques and pedagogy. Dr. Pimsleur was a linguistics scholar and professor of Romance languages. His research focused on the psychological aspects of language acquisition. Pimsleur concluded that traditional language learning techniques are wrong-headed and backwards. The point of departure for the Pimsleur method is natural context of speech.


It’s not exactly a secret that leaning a language is much easier when it is learned in an interactive and natural context. Nevertheless, traditional language learning employs an abstract classroom approach that breaks language down to its basic constitutive elements – grammar, vocabulary, and sentence construction - and then reconstructs these elements once again into a unified whole. In other words, the emphasis in traditional language learning, as taught in schools and classrooms, is on language rather than speech. One first learns the rules of language and then uses them to engage in speech or conversation. If you take a few minutes to think about this approach it should be clear to you that it is counterintuitive. Children don’t learn to speak this way. In fact, the process involved in natural language acquisition is exactly the opposite of this approach. Children learn to speak by actually listening and mimicking the sounds around them in order to express their wants and desires. Children learn grammar and the rules of language by speaking and interacting with parents and siblings rather than learning the fundamentals of grammar first and then learning to speak.

The Pimsleur method is an audio-based language approach that is particularly suited for learning Russian. Russian has a different alphabet, different, unusual sounds, and a different rhythmic style that present a number of obstacles and hurdles for a native English speaker. It is difficult to develop a feel for language based simply on a reading comprehension approach to language. In fact, the latter often interferes in language learning if it is given priority. The Pimsleur method emphasizes aural, rather than visual learning. It utilizes an interactive and pragmatic approach, rather than passive listening technique, that mimics the way children naturally acquire language skills.