Ideas on Russian Vocabulary Learning

Copious vocabulary is very important if you want to speak and understand the Russian language. But learning a large amount of Russian words that are not easy to spell sometimes can turn to a tough task, especially if you are busy with work, family, and other responsibilities.


In this article I will tell you some great tips on how to remember new vocabulary and phrases in a short period of time both based on my teaching Russian experience and learning foreign languages by myself.


Ideas on Russian Vocabulary Learning


I always tell my students that all words in your mind are divided into 3 groups:


1. First group of words are those deep in your mind that you can always remember and use in any situation, both make sentences with them and recognize in other people s speech.  They are stored very well.


2. Second group of words are those of your lexicon that you know how to translate but it is hard to remember them when a situation turns to say them.


3. Last group is a group of absolutely unknown words, which will be discussed in this article. You should pay attention on them and expand your vocabulary as much as possible.



So, what are the main and effective techniques on Russian vocabulary learning?


First of all you need to read a lot.


You can read everything what is on the list of your personal interests - news on the Internet, menus in the restaurants (if you are already in Russia), newspapers, books, advertisements, posts in social networks on relevant topics, etc. Regarding the books I should warn you - please, do not start your Russian learning process with Leo Tolstoy or Fedor Dostoevski , otherwise you will be confused and the idea of learning this language may leave you forever. You can find the easiest books on the Internet and read them with a dictionary.


Here comes tip №2 - you have to get in the habit of looking up words you don't know. After that write those words in a notebook with their translations or definitions.  Every time you want to revise them - you need just open your notebook.

But how to remember the words?


Well, I will tell you about my favorite methods.


First, you can write them down in  groups, according to the different principles. Your notebook can contain different chapters: Еда, Одежда, Глаголы, Предлоги, Отдых, Развлечения, Места, etc.


Next, you can make flashcards with those words that represent the biggest difficulties for you, with the word on the one side and translation on the other, and then play a memory game with them.


What is really important in accepting new words - you have to try using it in your oral and written speech. Even though you didn't want to say a sentence with it, you should try to think up an idea with that word and communicate with it.


Nowadays there is a great number of digital technologies, soft and mobile applications that will help you in memorizing new words. Writing comments and posts in Russian will help you to improve your writing skills and stick a pair of new words.


One more good recommendation is to focus on phrases while working on your vocabulary. You can try to say the entire phrase many times in order to keep it in mind. In this way you will always have a set of expressions ready to use in a conversation. For example, " Добро пожаловать", " Приятно познакомиться", "Приятного аппетита", "Я занят", "Перезвоню позже", etc. So instead of forming a sentence, or even awkward phrase sometimes, you will have a set of speech patterns which you can use immediately.


The last but not least advice is to review often.


You may have a special ritual of reviewing new vocabulary every morning, or it can take you 10 minutes in the evenings. In this case yesterday's vocabulary is more important than today's. The aim is to transfer the short-term knowledge of new vocabulary into your long-term memory, in other words, just to move them one level lower in the word-knowledge-ladder, that was discussed at the beginning.  For this reason a review is extremely important, especially in the first few weeks after learning new vocabulary.