Russian beginner advice + resources

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Russian beginner advice + resources

Postby wintermute » Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:20 pm

Hi everyone!

I am new on this forum. I am a native Dutch speaker and learned English during childhood. I also learned some Spanish, German, and French during high school but it has all become very rusty. Two weeks ago I decided to study Russian. At the very least I want to become conversational in Russian so I can use it during travels, I know that this is not an easy endeavour.

After doubting which course book to choose for a few days, I chose Colloquial Russian. Do you have any tips on complimentary resources, or how to use this course book as effectively as possible? I also read a post in which a person recommended to use Colloquial and Assimil simultaneously. Is there a big advantage in doing this? Also when you only have a limited amount of time you can devote to language learning (because of uni).

Thanks in advance! :)
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Yellow Belt
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Re: Russian beginner advice + resources

Postby mokibao » Tue Apr 06, 2021 12:02 am

Did you check the master resource thread on this forum, as well as the sidebar for the /r/Russian subreddit ( You will probably find more resources than you can count. People often advertise RT's course but there are shittons of them on the internet, just have your pick.

I for one have been using the Assimil booklets (combining multiple editions) and enjoying them so far. I don't think there is any 'right' way to progress through it beyond carefully reading the text and notes and making sure you understand everything. Just make sure you have audio.

I've also been reading and listening to Frank Ilya's parallel texts (at Frank says that you can just start reading stuff side by side with no previous knowledge of the grammar but I think it helps a lot if you do have a bit of knowledge though. His materials are split into short-sized bites so if one day you really don't have time you can just go over a single short dialog or story or something.

If you're into the "Nature Method" I invite you to look at the following (pulled from

[...] there is a Russian course, still in print in Russia, which I understand is roughly comparable to [the Nature Method]; namely, Miller and Politova’s multivolume Жили Были... (Once upon a Time...). I also found these:
and ... n-russian/
and ... sian-books

We also have Ilya Frank’s courses: ... al-stories.

In addition, we have Marianna Avery’s Сорока (Soroka) children’s books, as well as Stanislav Chernyshov’s Поехали! (Poekhali!) books. There is a new course entitled Дорога в Россию (The Way to Russia) by V.E. Antonova, M.M. Nakhabina, and M.V. Safronova, too. There is also Ignaty Dyakov’s series of books, Рассказ Сенсация (The Story of Sensation), Рассказ Провокация (The Story of Provocation), and Рассказ Канонизация (The Story of Canonisation), to which learners sing praises.
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Re: Russian beginner advice + resources

Postby Sonjaconjota » Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:34 pm

I also read a post in which a person recommended to use Colloquial and Assimil simultaneously. Is there a big advantage in doing this?

I am not studying Russian, so I haven't tried the Russian versions of the books you're mentioning.
But I can tell you that the Colloquial books are more like typical self-study books with grammar explanations, charts and exercises.
The books from Assimil follow a more "natural aproach" of assimilating the language (hence the name) instead of studying it.
Personally I don't really believe in these methods, or at least I don't find them very effective. And I have other criticism towards the Assimil books.
BUT ... they usually are a great source for content in the target language. They include lots of lessons with both audio and transcript for every lesson, and usually the speakers and the quality of the recordings is very good.
So, yes, I would recommend to combine the use of a more "classic" self-study book like Colloquial and Assimil as a source for content. But personally I would suggest that you ignore the Assimil method and just work with their texts with your own methods.
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