Archive for September, 2010

Shortcut to Reading Russian – Quickly Learn to Read Russian

September 28th, 2010

Reading Russian can be an intimidating proposition, but it turns out the the Cyrillic alphabet (the official name of the Russian alphabet) isn’t so hard after all. Really, anybody can learn to read Russian fairly quickly given the right approach. If you look through the alphabet, you’ll see quite a few letters you recognize. Some of those a pronounced exactly as you would expect (for example, A – T – O – M spells “atom” in Russian and in English. And “k” is like our “k” as well. So, “Koma” is how Russians spell “coma”.

But other letters in the Cyrillic alphabet that look like English letters have unexpected pronunciations. H sounds like our “N”, for example. “B” in Cyrillic sounds like a “V” sound. So, although those can be confusing for your brain at first, they’re still easy enough. The toughest ones for beginners are usually the completely foreign-looking letters, like Ж and Э. But with the right method, those are easily absorbed as well. The trick is to see them in the context of other letters you know. For example:

The MiraЖ Hotel in Las Vegas is my favorite hotel.

Or: Why is my car on the street? You should have parked it in the garaЖ.

So, from context, we see that the Russian letter Ж must be pronounced as “zh”.

If I told you that the Russian letter “C” is pronounced like our C, in the words “Face” and “Citrus”, could you then read th following Russian word: Массаж

That’s right. “Massage.”

Is reading Russian really that tough?

Let’s try to learn one more new, alien-looking letter from context:

McDonalds is my фavorite фast фood restaurant.

Did you guess that the Russian letter ф is pronounced just like our “F”? So now, you should be able to read the following (or should I say, “фollowing”) Russian word:


As in, Can I borrow your camera? I want to take a фото of my dog and send it to Grandma.

So, фото is the Russian word for photo.

It’s beyond the scope of this article to teach you the whole Russian alphabet. But I simply wanted to show you that it isn’t hard, if you’re taught the right way. If you like this approach and would like to truly master reading Russian, please check out the Russian Accelerator course! I highly recommend it!

Russian Accelerator – Site Update and Learn Russian Workshop News

September 26th, 2010

Russian Accelerator – Learn Russian Online has just unveiled its new corporate website, and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their work on it. If you’re not familiar with Russian Accelerator, it’s the course we created to turn complete beginners into confident speakers of Russian. An important part of the site is all the video testimonials that are posted there. Proof of the effectiveness of the course. Who are the people making these testimonials?

Well, this past Labor Day, from September 3rd to the 10th, I played host to the first annual Russian Accelerator Live Workshop here in Sevastopol. It was a blast and everyone — the members, all our support staff, and certainly myself — had a great time. And the video testimonials are the interviews we shot of all the members who attended: John D, Neil, Luc, Jonny, and Peter. (And let me say once again, you guys all were very impressive, and we’re so psyched you made the trip out here!) Along with getting their opinions on the course, we also filmed lots of live video of these guys in action, using their Russian in various real situations: Ordering food, buying things on the street and in stores, and so on. We also did fun scripted routines, so they could run through a few of the dialogues from the course for all the other members to watch (and critique!)

There were so many highlights during the Workshop, but best of all were all the friendships that were made. I now know I have friends we can visit in Scotland, England, Montreal, Toronto and Tuscon….(and you guys are all welcome to come visit anytime!) Beyond the friendships, it was just so gratifying to see all the success all these guys have had with the Russian Accelerator course. And some have only been in for a few months! Incredible…to see these guys holding their own with native speakers, at ease with waiters in cafes, and sellers in the bazaar, and so on. So impressive, all of you.

So, please: Go check out the brand new Russian Accelerator website. There’s a lot to see there, and worth a long look around.