A beginner's struggles to learn Russian

Hi Everyone

I have just started learning Russian, about two weeks now; I am starting to master a number of words, and able to read ok, at least easy words. Still, I am not able to build meanings, or write sentences. I have also regularly listened to podcasts (‎Slow Russian on Apple Podcasts). The woman who makes these seem good at what she is doing, but I still understand very little of what she says. One gets bored easily and frustrated at times. I am aware of the fact that the process is going to take time, and I have decided to give it a year, and hop that after that I should be able to speak. I hope that will take place before that. I do already speak six languages, French, English, Swedish, Arabic, Spanish, and some German, but non of them seem to make my learning process any easier in as far as learning Russian is concerned.

Have you guys experienced similar issues of feeling that the process is moving slowly and at times boring due to luck of understanding? I would also be thankful if anyone of you could share some of your own experiences on Russian and how you cope with the difficulties.


You can try my small simple Russian lessons for beginners you can find in my courses in Lingq:
РУССКИЙ С НУЛЯ (Russian from zero):

ПЕРВЫЕ ШАГИ (First steps):

БАЗОВЫЕ МОДЕЛИ (Basic patterns for beginners):



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I’m currently at my 7th month of Russian.
I have 29300 known words and a bit over 500000 words read (in Lingq).
In terms of comprehension it’s getting better. I understand almost everything going on in films.
I can read even heavy novels and understand them (with LingQ) and lighter novels is doable outside of LingQ.
I listen to audiobooks all the time and understand them (If I know them from English).
And I can play the Witcher without too much difficulty picking dialogue options.

So all of this to say that it will get better.
For me after 5 months I started to feel comfortable reading/watching.
And already after 2 - 3 months (10000+ known words) it started getting easier to read.
That being said there were many times where it felt like it took forever.
The first couple of months are a complete mess and you understand close to zero. especially if you go away from beginners content - which you should asap (you can go back and forth).

I suggest to go for ~4000 words read a day.
Plus 1+ hour of listening (this flies by once you start to listen to podcasts/audiobooks.
I usually bike around listening to Harry Potter or the like so I get around 2.5 hours of listening from that.
I also suggest watching Cartoon/animated films - they have good clear voice over. Try Kung Fu Panda and Harry Potter. They are easy to follow if you know them from before.

Final tip. Use litres.ru and find something that interests you!

Anyways, it will get better and easier, so best of luck! :slight_smile:


Thank you. I will have a look at them.

Tusen tack. Det uppskattar jag :slight_smile:
This is encouraging.

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Remember that there’s plenty more help here whenever you need it, so don’t let yourself get stymied and frustrated. Желаю вам удачи!

I am from Russia. I can help you.

As a beginner, I believe everything should be easily comprehended in order to understand what is being said/read. It really speeds up the process of internalizing an understanding. In my first two months, I focused on listening and looking at text in Russian, but without full and easily accessible translations I wasn’t learning a lot. I only got good at listening to natives speak and hearing slight differences in the way different people pronounce the same words.

Now for the next 5 months I am focusing on 100% comprehensible input studying and I’m already remembering things at a greater pace and it has been only 8 days so far. LingQ is my main study tool, as well as audio lesson courses from RussianPod101 and Pimsleur. I also watch Russian shows with English and Russian subtitles.

I would recommend to you Russian podcasts that come with transcripts, Russian videos with subtitles, etc. Also, Pimsleur is boring, but it is 30 minutes a session and it’s great and making you remember the phrases it teaches.

Hi Katerina
Thank you for your kind offer.
How do I get in touch with you when I need to?


Hi Xerxes, the process is slow indeed; and probabily even slower because this would be your first slavic language; but having all those 6 languages under your belt means that you already have a process that works. So trust the system and keep at it. You will get there eventually.

I also find Russian difficult, but at the same time beautiful and rewarding.

I think other Lingqers have posted this Youtube channel before (I think Ftornay did), but I also used it and I found it useful when I started, regarding grammar:

Also, Duolingo helps have some beginner output exercises of A1-A2 level.

You can write to me directly here. What are you studying now? Start a conversation with me in Russian, and I will respond to you, correcting if necessary.

Can I start.
Как Вас зовут?

My advice is to bite the bullet and to try work on learning the cases once you’ve got the basic stuff like the alphabet down.

If you’re willing to put a little money down, I’d highly recommend buying the New Penguin textbook, it teaches you the cases in a great way and it’s optimised for adult learners who are teaching themselves. That being said, you can do perfectly well teaching yourself, just appreciate the fact that you will at some point have to study grammar. Truth be told, Russian grammar is fairly straightforward and quite easy. once you have the right model in your head. There are a lot of symmetries between the cases that you will figure out once you get used to using them.

My advice is to not buy into the hype that Russian is this super hard language, in reality there are many, many, more complex languages, вкратце (in short):

Go into it thinking that it’s easy and it’ll be easy; go into it thinking it’s hard and it’ll be hard.