I imagine most Russian learners are the same. Yet for all the demand and desire for Russian speaking ability, so many of us fall short of being able to hold a simple conversation in the language.
In theory, the language learning experience seems simple and straightforward. You learn what words mean and then theoretically you should be able to use those words when you speak with a real person.
The truth is that it’s a bit more complicated than that. Knowing vocabulary is great, but it won’t get you far without knowing grammar.
Grammar is vitally important if you want to become fluent, but even knowing both grammar and vocabulary won’t necessarily allow you to talk freely with native speakers.
Effective ways to improve your Russian skills
Practice with Native Russian Speakers
Having real-life conversations with native speakers is hands down the best way to improve your Russian speaking skills. Learning grammar and vocabulary is of course important too (after all you can’t speak Russian if you don’t know what to say). But having your nose stuck in a textbook or app will never help you develop the ability to hold a conversation.
Work on Your Russian Pronunciation
Pronunciation probably isn’t the first skill that jumps into your mind when you talk about learning a foreign language. To a certain extent, everyone knows that pronunciation is important because if your accent is really bad people will have a hard time understanding you. However, most Russian learners don’t try to improve their accent past the most basic level. Don’t be deceived though, being able to correctly pronounce Russian words is a powerful asset in your journey to fluency.
Learn Longer Phrases, not only Single Words
Often times it’s a lot easier to remember and make longer phrases in a foreign language versus short phrases. You certainly should learn individual words, especially when you’re learning grammar. However, to increase your conversational abilities you will also want to learn Russian phrases as language “chunks” which you can easily use during a conversation.
Russian fluency is an admirable goal, but it’s also not an easy one. There’s a long road between being a beginner and becoming fluent. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start speaking Russian along the way. Yes you might not be fluent yet, but if you follow these tips you should able to start effectively expressing yourself in Russian sooner than you thought