How to improve your Russian speaking skills
One of the most widely spoken languages globally, Russian comes eighth. Believe it or not, it’s the most spoken language in Europe. In terms of sheer geographic access, learning Russian will open doors for you — not just in Russia, but also in many other countries. It’s also a popular second language for much of Eastern Europe because of Russia’s lasting political influence. The fact is, Russian is far less popular as a second language than, for example, Mandarin — another language even more difficult for English speakers to grasp. This low popularity is a shame because there are a number of economic opportunities currently arising in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. You may be surprised to learn this too, but it became the internet’s second most popular language in 2013, replacing German, and has remained in that position since.
Learning Russian can be a daunting experience and can sometimes seem downright impossible. Russian grammar is notoriously tricky (the three words ‘verbs of motion’ still fill me with dread!) and it is easy to get disheartened. However, there are plenty of ways to make it fun! Speaking is usually the #1 weakness for all Russian learners. This is a common issue among language learners everywhere. The reason for this is obvious: When language learners first start learning a language, they usually start with reading. They read online articles, books, information on apps and so on.
In this blog, we’ll help you through the speaking part of learning Russian:
- 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. Find a native Russian speaker who is learning English. Then you can meet regularly and help each other practice your respective target languages. Problem solved!
- Readout loud: If you’re listening to a lesson and reading along, read out loud. Then re-read and speed up your tempo. Do this again and again until you can speak faster. Try your best to pronounce the words correctly, but don’t obsess about it. Read swiftly, emote and put some inflection on the sentences. Reading aloud helps to train the muscles of your mouth and diaphragm to produce unfamiliar words and sounds.
- Learning phrases along with words – Learning words is definitely an essential step in learning a new language, however, when we focus on learning long phrases that can be used in various situations our ability to speak better can be drastically improved.
- Work on Your Russian Pronunciation: A decent Russian accent is a huge boon to your listening and comprehension skills. It also makes new words and phrases easier to remember after you hear or read them. When you’re able to physically pronounce Russian sounds correctly, your brain has a much easier time breaking down the Russian it hears. Pronunciation probably isn’t the first skill that jumps into your mind when you talk about learning a foreign language.
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 be able to start effectively expressing yourself in Russian sooner than you thought!