How to listen to specific words?

Hello everyone,

I hope you can help me with my problem. I have reviewed a few lessons in Russian. Some words are easy to pick up while others are extremely hard because the sentence is spoken so quickly. Is there an option to listen to one word at a time?


Hi Brownie Prince

I have the same problem with some of the lessons in the ChineseLingQ Beginner section (Who is she?, Eating out).

One thing that helps me ‘listen out’ for words in Chinese, since my knowledge of Chinese characters is not yet good enough to read them and know their pronunciations at conversation speed, is to see the text in transliterated form (using the ‘English’ alphabet).

I found this was the case also when I was studying Russian, especially because the writing of Russian words using the Cyrillic alphabet does not correspond to the way they are pronounced, as the pronunciation depends on word stress.

However, given all of this, I wouldn’t worry too much about listening out for certain words in certain texts, as these words will come up in other texts, and will perhaps be easier to parse out in those texts. You could also use the ‘Examples’ function on each LingQ to find other examples of particular words in the library, although this could be complicated due to the case endings in Russian.

I also like to listen to texts from the Beginner section where I only understand a few words per sentence, but I read the translation from the English LingQ at the same time. This allows you to listen to and appreciate texts that are beyond your level without having to look up every word, which can become tiring.

All in all, as long as you understand at least 60% of any text you listen to, you are learning, as you are also picking up on the prosody, or intonation, of the language. Stay motivated, and keep in mind that your ability to pick out individual words will naturally increase over time.

Let me know if you have any other questions, and good luck:)


Maybe you can try to download the MP3 file and play it with the freeware Audacity which would allow you to slow down the playback speed.

OTOH, maybe you should just listen to it at normal speed again and again. Steve said when he started learning Russian, he would listen to the same lesson 30-40 times.

what words you have problem with? Perhaps we, natives, can explain how it is pronounced…

I agree with you Cantotango, especially the Beginner lessons can be listened to over and over again, as they contain many frequent words and phrases and this will help build up your language base.

If I’m having trouble parsing out particular words or phrases, I always go and listen to something else first, and usually when I come back to the fast text I find my ears have been ‘opened up’ to the words that are difficult to hear.

Hello everyone.

Sprachenfreak I completely agree with you about the Cyrillic alphabet of Russian. Currently I speak two languages, first is english and the second is Urdu which is the national language of Pakistan. Generally speaking the words in both languages are pronounced as they are written with a few exceptions. I reviewed the beginning lesson, (Conversation with a Tutor) and was able to pick up the words quite easily. My experience with Urdu allows me to pronounce Russian words in hopefully the same manner as Russian native. However, I then reviewed (who is she?, part 8) and was lost in the words.

Words such as “No4emy” sounds nothing like it is written. Sorry I could not copy and paste the word from that section to this post. The english translation helps but I want to pronounce the word.

“Почему” is transliterated to Latin as “pochemU”, but is pronounced somewhere between “pochemOO” and “pacheemOO”.
I think it sounds quite near to its written form. :slight_smile:
It seems there are more complicated words in Russian. Like “сегодня” (segodnya) which is pronounced somewhere between “sevOdnya” and “seevOdnya”. Or even “sYOdnya”

I reviewed the beginning lesson, (Conversation with a Tutor) and was able to pick up the words quite easily. My experience with Urdu allows me to pronounce Russian words in hopefully the same manner as Russian native. However, I then reviewed (who is she?, part 8) and was lost in the words.

I am the author of “Conversation with a Tutor”. Perhaps, you just better understand my accent…
I don’t hear, but some people hear Turkic accent in my Russian. Although the majority of my friends don’t hear any accent, and some of them were very surprised when they discovered that I am Bashkir by nationality. And by the way Russian is my first language, I understand a very-very-very basic Bashkirian, and don’t speak it at all. Anyway, Russia is rather wide, I live at Ural region, and perhaps my accent differs from accent of people who recorded “Who is she?”

My own approach is to ignore all the lack of clarity, fuzziness and other problems in the language I am learning. It will all clear up in time. I deliberately avoid trying to nail things down. I listen to the whole text, and some parts of it are just difficult to understand and will remain so, stubbornly, for quite some time. Don’t worry about it.

I started learning Russian from a text book. When, a couple of months later, I first heard Russian I was astonished that it doesn’t sound the way I expected at all! In big words, unstressed syllables get rushed over, and little joining words get added to the bigger word after them. You have to listen a lot and learn it short phrase by short phrase. After a while (it can seem like a lifetime at the time!) your ear and tongue get the hang of it. Now I can make sense of text better when it’s spoken than when it’s written.

Also, the speed that material is read varies hugely. One reason I like to read horror stories is that the readers will speak slooowwwly for maximum chill value, whereas thrillers and comedies get read out much faster!