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Russian for Beginners in the Eyes of Experts

Whatever your reasons for studying Russian, it is very important to have a clear vision of how to do that effectively. At the initial stage you can easily be misled by some common misconceptions.

Misconception One – everything depends on the language environment.
Many truly believe that once you are immersed in a Russian-speaking environment, you start picking up the language naturally and you don’t need proper language training. However, they have then found that this is just not true. Yes, by learning some Russian from native speakers in your office, in the streets, etc. you are able to use some basic phrases like ‘Good morning’, ‘Thank you’ and so on. You can even advance to some more elaborate patterns like ‘Could you give me …’. However, when it comes to expressing yourself most freely, you need a teacher and proper Russian language training. Of course, being able to apply the language in a country where it is natively spoken is an indisputable advantage. You can then put all the knowledge you acquire in class to immediate use in real-life situations.

Misconception Two – everything depends on the teacher.
A good teacher will give you solid basic knowledge, show how to learn the language and make your lessons interesting and diverse. A professional teacher will also encourage you to use all the available modern means of learning languages – books, video courses, television and the Internet. Nevertheless, the final outcome depends on you. Even the most talented teacher won’t be able to memorize new words for you or do your homework assignment. Only your own effort and thorough work can lead you to success, but your teacher is a necessary guide.

Misconception Three – a teacher of Russian should explain how the Russian language works in your mother tongue.
This is a common, yet very serious, misconception. We believe only unprofessional or inept teachers concentrate on translation into your native language past the most elementary level. Of course, it’s easier to tell you that ‘ковер‘ is ‘carpet’ than to draw it or point at it on the floor but how beneficial is it for you? The same applies to grammar. You are not looking for an interpreter and you don’t want lectures ‘about the language’; you are interested in speaking and understanding Russian. Then we recommend you don’t seek German speaking, Korean speaking, English speaking teachers of Russian. The use of other languages must be limited only to the most difficult cases.

So, to guarantee success in learning any language, one needs both a good teacher plus internal motivation.