My Top 5 RUSSIAN Courses. What are yours?

  1. Daily Russian: An Innovative Russian Course (Stirling Buenger) 2015

I really like all the books in the Daily Russian series. They are - hands down - the most modern, comprehensive, and user-friendly grammar books I have ever used. I especially appreciate the “daily structure” method of the book, so every “day” is already proportioned for you. It’s much easier to stick to a study regiment this way. And the price ($25 for all three) is reasonable considering that includes the whole series. Really good for students who find regular grammar books boring.

  1. The New Penguin Russian Course (Nicholas Brown) 1996

This book was my number one until I discovered the Daily Russian series. It’s comprehensive, fairly easy to understand, and formatted well. The amount of exercises is really useful for self-study. The only downside is that some of the vocabulary is dated (as the book was written in 1996) and modern vocabulary is absent. Overall, though, an excellent book for less than $10.

  1. A Comprehensive Russian Grammar (Terrence Wade) 2010

The best part about this book is it’s thoroughness. I appreciate that tons of irregular examples are given, and the book includes almost every aspect of grammar. It also has a workbook you can buy if you want more exercises. Two negatives: 1) it is not user-friendly and the format makes it a bore to read, and 2) it’s REALLY pricey - $95 for the book and workbook together

  1. Russian In Use: An Interactive Approach To Advanced Communicative Competence (Sandra Rosengrant) 2006

This book covers really detailed themes such as lexical studies and advanced syntax, making it only good for upper-intermediate and advanced students. It has a special - but useful - place on my list because no other textbook covers the grammatical concepts covered in this book in such depth. Lexical studies are really important if you plan on speaking like a native. Only two negatives: 1) long blocks of grammatical explanations make it really boring to read, and 2) there are almost no objective exercises, making self-study difficult. It costs around $30-$40 depending on where you buy it.

  1. Teach Yourself Russian Grammar (Daphne West) 2003

This book is really simple. Each lesson is covered in about 2-3 pages and it’s very easy to read. Plenty of good exercises for self-study. I also appreciate the use of pictures, which makes exercises slightly more enjoyable. It’s ranked number five, however, because of how superficial it is. This is really only good if you want a quick crash-course in Russian. It’s only a few dollars though, so picking it up wouldn’t hurt.

I should read more structured books. The only structured book I read was English Grammar for Students of Russian, which exposed me to most of the grammar rules, how to use them, and to be aware of them. I like the first book you mentioned. It seems like it explains things well, and there’s daily exercises which make it very structured.

Would you recommend any of those books for a low intermediate?

I’m also thinking about getting something like Assimil or Living Language. Has anyone here used those courses?

Assimil’s quite good as an introduction. I went through the whole of the basic course and then I bought the “perfectionnement” one, although I haven’t finished the latter but it’s still great material.

My courses (re-posted from the other duplicate thread.)

1.) Evgueny :slight_smile:

2.) “Linguaphone Russian”, 1971 (1992 impression) by Russian Language Methodology Centre, Moscow State University

3.) “Assimil Russisch Ohne Mühe”, 1970s ed. by A. Chérel & M. Benoist

4.). “Linguaphone Russian Conversational Course”, 1950s/60s ed. by Michael V. Trofimov

5.) “A Comprehensive Russian Grammar”, Blackwell, 3rd ed. 2011 by T. Wade (updated by D. Gillespie)

All of these are highly recommended! Number (2) and (3) are truly excellent autodidactic resources, IMHO.

(I have a load of other stuff too: a much newer edition of “Assimil Russisch Ohne Mühe”, PONS dictionaries and grammars, some WW2 vintage English military language materials, some 1960s vintage East German stuff, etc, etc…!)

Have you got the older (1970s era) Assimil or the newer one?

I bought the new, new one in Spanish (which doesn’t have the “sin esfuerzo/sans peine/ohne Mühe” bit in the title.
To be candid about it, I also downloaded an older version (in French) as a pdf and went through some of the lessons. In that one, people fly to “Leningrad”, so I guess it must be the 70’s edition. I’m not sure but I think there’s a version in between those two.

By the way. I recently came across Assimil’s “El inglés sin esfuerzo”, published in 1971.
Of course, I couldn’t resist buying it.
It actually starts with the very famous sentence “My taylor is rich” O_o

I understand this feeling: if I see an old language course, I just have to buy it! :slight_smile: (I even have a 1950s vintage Linguaphone Algerian Arabic course - even though there is zero chance I will ever use it!)

I’d never heard of your first book, so I read some reviews. Sounds like it’s very basic, not even touching on cases in the first of two volumes. So Penguin still rules imo, since it covers all the basic grammar in the form of a logically ordered text book. Terrence Wade has to be the best(most detailed) english-based grammar. Assimil is a good source of graduated comprehensible input, but not very good for learning Russian grammar. Never heard of your 4th book, but it sounds good for it’s specific purpose. Pimsleur and Michel Thomas Russian courses are both very good if you like that kind of learning.