Rachel Boyce
Professional Teacher
Advice on how to remember Russian vocabulary...

Can anyone recommend the best way to do this? Has anyone else had problems? How did you get round this? 

Apr 21, 2014 3:38 PM
Comments · 16

Flashcards can be very effective as long as you are aware of their limitations and don't overdo it so that it becomes a chore. Of course they work best with pairs of words that have a close correspondance between languages, typically basic nouns.


I've tried Memrise a little, it's ok. I prefer to make my own cards with Anki taking audio from Forvo so that I am learning the correct pronunciations. Byki is an alternative if you want ready made cards with audio. There are also various apps for iPhones etc.


Single word flashcards will get you quickly up and running with some basic vocabulary, although in the longer term you will want to use whole sentences so that you understand how the words are used in context.


Of course as you read, and listen eventually you will just naturally absorb words after you have encountered them enough times. This is probably the best way but is a bit more of long term method.


Also over time you learn recognise parts of words with common meanings and patterns that make it easier to remember. So I would'nt worry to much, it does get easier.





April 21, 2014

I think the best way to learn new word is to use it! You can write down new words and try to use it many many times when you speak with your language partner. Of course, you should construct different phases with a word.

April 30, 2014

Wow! Thanks Elena! Guess I'm shopping for coloured post-it notes tomorrow! 

April 27, 2014

My small contribution (as I would say in Russian, "мои пять копеек" ;)) to this amazing discussion. I also use online flashcard sets like those on Memrise or Quizlet while travelling, but I use 'traditional' techniques as well.

When I was studying German intensively, the wall in my bedroom was covered with word stickers! I also used to cover a wall in my bathroom with them. :) For Russian you may want to buy stickers of different colours (one colour for one part of speech, for example, of even one colour for one word, if you need to memorize the forms of one word, or phrases). You can then even play with it, creating sentences! You may put stickers on pieces of furniture to memorize the words for them.

I also used to have maps in different languages in my bedroom - it's a good way to learn how the proper names are spelled, but not only, it can cover a lot of vocabulary on travelling, if you attach stickers to it. And I would say, that Internet provides not only access to flashcards. Many resourses (for example, yandex.ru - by far the most popular searching engine in Russia) help you to memorize the words for different categories (like "новости" - news, "погода" - weather etc.), if you use them frequently. 

But I completely agree with neofight78 that in the long run, you need to memorize not words but phrases to find out how words 'behave' in different contexts. It's particularly true for Russian because of all its cases and conjugations. Many years ago my English teacher made me create my own dictionary with 4 columns: 1) an English word, 2) its Russian translation, 3) the phrase when it's used, and 4) the Russian translation for the phrase (optional). Now I recommend my students make similar tables for Russian cases etc.

Hope it'll help. :) 


April 27, 2014

I tend not to use pre-prepared stuff as it has no relevance to me, because I find it difficult to remember things I haven't studied/done myself. It's better to create your own flashcards/lists/anything, i.g. to make it personal. Besides, I think at the moment you've got a problem with recognising the cyrillic alphabet (as you refer to it as calligraphy). This makes the task of learning the words even harder. I used to have the same problem with Chinese at earlier stages of learning. However, as soon as you internalise the script/characters, it gets easier! So, give yourself some time :)

April 23, 2014
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Rachel Boyce
Language Skills
English, Italian
Learning Language