If you made up your mind to master Russian - it’s really a great idea! Learning how to speak this language is not a small goal. Invest your time and effort and you will be generously rewarded.

What are the main steps to succeed? Here are some helpful tips to guide you on the path to fluency.



Any language starts with an alphabet.

Russian is a phonetic language, which means that more or less every Russian letter corresponds to a single sound. 

The Russian alphabet is derived from the Cyrillic alphabet and consists of 33 letters, including 11 vowels, 20 consonants, and 2 letters which make no sound, but make a word sound harder or softer. When learning, it might help to group the letters by look and sound, compared with their English counterparts:

First Group: Written and pronounced the same. Six Russian letters are the same as English in both pronunciation and form—namely A, E, K, M, O, and T.

Second Group: Look different but sound the same. Sixteen Russian letters have the same pronunciation as English ones but are symbolized by a completely different letter. These include Б, Г, Д, Ё, Ж, П, Ф, И, й, Л, Ц, Ш, Щ, Э, Ю, and Я. 

Third Group: Look familiar but are pronounced differently. Eight Russian letters look very similar to some English letters and numbers but they are pronounced very differently—these are В, З, Н, Р, С, У, Ч, Х. 

Fourth Group: New letter and unfamiliar sound. There are some Russian letters that do not exist in English at all and either represent unfamiliar sounds or have no sound value—for example, Ы, Ъ, Ь. 


It’s also essentially useful to know the numbers. The Nominative case of numbers will be enough to start with.

One = один, pronounced "ah-DYEEN" [ɐˈdʲin]

Two = два, pronounced "dva" [dva]

Three = три, pronounced "tree" [trʲi]

Four = четыре, pronounced "chi-TIH-rye" [t͡ɕɪˈtɨrʲe]

Five = пять, pronounced "pyat" [pʲætʲ]

Six = шесть, pronounced "shest" [ʂɛsʲtʲ]

Seven = семь, pronounced "syem" [sʲemʲ]

Eight = восемь, pronounced "VOH-syim" [ˈvosʲɪmʲ]

Nine = девять, pronounced "DYEH-v'yit" [ˈdʲevʲɪtʲ]

Ten = десять, pronounced "D'EH-syit" [ˈdʲesʲɪtʲ]


Memorize some basic words and conversational phrases. 

Hello = Здравствуйте, pronounced "ZDRAST-vooy-tye" [ˈzdrastvʊjtʲe]

Hello (less formal) = Здравствуй, pronounced, "ZDRAST-vooy-tye" [ˈzdrastvʊj]

Hi = Привет, pronounced "pree-VYET" [prʲɪˈvʲet]

Yes = Да, pronounced "da" [da]

No = Нет, pronounced "nyet" [nʲet]

Thank you = Спасибо, pronounced "spuh-SEE-buh" [spɐˈsʲibə]

Please = Пожалуйста, pronounced "pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh" [pɐˈʐalʊstə]

My name is... = Меня зовут..., pronounced "men-ya za-voot" [mʲɪˈnʲa zɐˈvut]

What is your name? = Как вас зовут? pronounced "kak vas za-voot" [ˈkak ˈvaz zɐˈvut]

Pleased to meet you = Приятно познакомится, pronounced "pree-yat-na poz-na-ko-mit-sa" [ˈot͡ɕɪnʲ prʲɪˈjatnə]

Okay = Хорошо, pronounced "ha-ra-sho" [xərɐˈʂo]

Goodbye = До свидания, pronounced "da-svee-da-nee-ye" [də‿svʲɪˈdanʲɪjə] [10]

Try to remember that when о is in an unstressed syllable, it is pronounced /ɐ/, which is a sound between “о” and “а”.


Study the basic grammar. 

Grammar is truly important if your goal is to speak a language correctly. However, if you are only starting your journey, try to concentrate on the most important concepts that even a beginner can’t do without the case system, gender, and tenses of the verbs. They are not that difficult but worth your attention.



Get your hands on some authentic Russian media. Chose whatever you are interested in (u-tube videos, film, podcasts, cartoons) and watch or listen to it in Russian. Enjoy both – the stuff that is exciting for you and mastering your target language - at the same time! 

Look for a native speaker to communicate with. Speaking with a native speaker contributes to improving your language skills immensely. Nowadays there are plenty of apps that can help you to find a language partner to practice with. Get benefits from them!



Learning a foreign language takes much time and effort. It’s impossible to master it in a wink. However, if you are seriously intended to learn Russian, stick to your goal. To boost your motivation, here are some facts that prove Russian to be not so difficult to learn:

  • Russian does not use any auxiliary verbs. For example, you only have to change the intonation to make up a question: “Ты пойдёшь завтра в клуб?”
  • Russian does not have any articles, like “a” or “the” in English;
  • Russian implies only three tenses – Present, Future, and Past. For example, English structures “I read”, “I was reading”, “I have been reading”, “I had read” and “I had been reading” are translated into Russian as “Я читал”;
  • Russian does not need long structures to express politeness. Just say “Please” and that’s it. For example, “Передай мне соль, пожалуйста” sounds quite good.