Teach yourself to read Russian in 33 minutes

by Nikolai Shokhirev

Preface | Before you go on | Origin of Russian Alphabet | Introduction | Table | Comments | Conclusion | Exercises



I am native-speaking Russian. It happened that during last years I traveled or lived in several countries. I did not advertise my origin but my accent gave me away. To my great surprise many people began to speak with me in Russian or just asked me to teach them simple phrases in Russian.

My surprise comes from the fact that in former times many people studied Russian because it was the language of Big Brother, others because it was the language of Big Enemy. It is now neither of both anymore. But there are still so many people who are interested in learning Russian. The number of Russian web sites attests to that fact. It is also surprising that many of these sites teach Russian either incorrectly or in a complicated manner, or both (even academic ones).

When I hear (or read) "Menya zovut John" (my name is John), all is clear to me: there is no "y" in this Russian word. This is a typical mistake: the name of the letter Ja ("ya") is used instead of its pronunciation (sound) 1) .

In my attempts to correct pronunciation, I developed some simple rules 2) . Actually, Russian is a very easy language to read. The Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters, therefore, I believe that spending one minute per letter should be sufficient, which is why I call this manual:

Teach yourself to read Russian in 33 minutes

1) Using the Spanish letter ñ one can get better fit: "Meña zovut John"

2) I believe that any knowledge (in culture, not in exact sciences) leads to better understanding among people. Funny anti-example: "Russian Czar Groznyi ( = Terrible) was called Ivan because of his brutality"

Before you go on


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