New Member, Bit lost, interested to learn Russian, Chinese, Japanese

Hello there! I’m a new member(probably posting in the wrong section) and i’m looking for advice for learning Russian on this website. The amount of content from the site projected in my face is a bit of a mess at the moment!

About me I’m a 22 yrs old French student, fluent in English and advanced in Italian and German, with also 10 years of Latin.

I already spent about 3 months following thoroughly the Assimil Method to start learning Russian. Every day I would do the same drill during an hour of reading the conversation, listening to it over and over again, writing words I don’t know, looking at Grammar tips, then do exercises and a final check-up.

My Russian is slowly improving, yet i’m starting to get sick of doing the same exercise every day, and i’m looking for something more fun i’d say to learn the language. Don’t get me wrong there, I’m really motivated and I want to learn Russian, yet I would like to find an entertaining, long-term, and efficient way to learn. Ended up on Steve’s videos on youtube and there now, and a bit confused on the website.

The question is, should I carry on my Assimil lessons, or start the lessons here, and do a word list of the words (handwritten) I learned, look them up again in 14 days do some reading and listening and thats it? Because what has bothered me a bit is the lack of Grammar content to explain endings and sometimes expressions with more than a word or words with particles changing the meaning (for example К нам to our place с нами with us) are mistakenly translated by the Google Translator (or maybe I’m doing it all wrong I don’t know!)

Also I would like to learn Japanese and Chinese. About Japanese I studied from a free grammar e-book I found on the internet for a year(not rigorously I have to say), used a website for vocabulary and attempted after that year JLPT 5 which I failed miserably (I wasn’t that well prepared).I want to start fresh learning on it!

About Chinese a course I had in University which was only 3 months and is over now, with no follow up classes, so I have to carry on on my own, which is not a problem, but a little guidance would be appreciated!

Also I’d be glad to share some of my french, german or italian (even English if needed but I tend to believe there might be a lot of people here for that!) knowledge so that we can all improve!

My final question, do you believe, if i spend 3 hours (lets say well spent 3 hours!) every day studying Chinese, Japanese, and Russian, could I improve all three or is just going to end up in a mess, and instead should I rather focus on one language?.

Sorry for the wall of text! And thanks in advance for any help!

You have asked a lot of questions. Let me try to answer one question at a time.

  1. If you have done Assimil, you have a sense of the basic grammatical patterns in Russian. This does not mean that you always recognize the case correctly nor that you can produce the language accurately. However, if you have a sense of how the language works, in my view, what you now need is a lot of exposure to the language, through intensive listening and reading, such as we do here. I would also suggest that you connect with one of our excellent Russian tutors.

I am not a great fan of Assimil, other then that the content they have in their Russian book is quite interesting for a beginner book. I also dislike doing drills. I would start with some of the beginner content here at this site. I would create lots of LingQs, and move quickly to Beginner 2 content and then Intermediate 1 content. Find lessons that interest you. Work through the text saving the words and phrases that you want to learn. Review them in flashcards for using some of the other vocabulary review tools. Listen to these lessons one or several times. If you find lessons that you like and where you like the voice, you should listen to these many times. Be guided by your interest and by the level of enjoyment you experience in doing these activities.

Google translate will not always indicate the case of a Russian noun or adjective. You will have to try to draw these conclusions yourself. I would Google “Russian cases” or “Russian nouns” and keep a separate tab on your screen accessible for handy grammar reference as required. I used to tag words and phrases by different cases, instrumental, accusative, etc… I was then able to review these tagged lists the vocabulary section. I found that it takes a long time to get used to Russian cases, verbs of motion, aspects of verbs etc… In other words, a lot of listening and reading.

  1. Different people have different learning styles. I would focus on one language for at least 80% of my time and then possibly dabble in one other. In your case, this means I would stay with Russian for most of my time. I would also recommend doing Chinese before Japanese, since it is a great advantage to know the characters before taking on Japanese.

However, if you are further along in Japanese then I would focus on Japanese. Having learned both languages, I have the feeling that grammar is not a major problem in either case, unlike Russian. Rather what you need is to expose yourself to lots of the language and to start noticing certain basic patterns in these languages.

Please give LingQ a good shot, following our methods. If you have further questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

If you are at the different levels and have a lot of free time, you can study several languages at the same time.
However, if you are an absolutе beginner in all languages that you have started, it would be very difficult to you to have a real success in these languages. Then it would be better to concentrate on one language doing it every day, and another language if you have an interst only a bit from time to time.
I’ve noticed by all Assimil courses in different languages that they start interstingly, but a bit later they are becoming more and more boring.
And at least in Russian they give sometimes old fashioned patterns.
By the way, you can try my Russian courses here in
For the beginners - Русский с нуля(Russian from zero), Базовые модели (Basic patterns), Первые шаги (First steps), Вопросы и ответы (Questions and answers), Анекдоты и шутки, Русские предлоги, Полезные диалоги
For the Intermediate - Простые тексты, Начинаем говорить по-русски, Рассказы о России, Советы учителя и другие.
Good luck!

I heartily endorse Evgueny’s courses, and his helpfulness as a tutor. We are blessed with several great Russian tutors at LingQ.

Thanks Steve and Evgueny for the quick replies! I had already a look at the beginner courses for Russian : it looks amazing; and I will probably start after new year’s eve when all the festivities are over! I will probably also look for a tutor to keep motivation levels up and thorough learning :slight_smile:

About exposure: I have some Russian friends which I try to have conversation with already, but they don’t help much since we always end up speaking in English due to my lack of vocab, they do help me when I don’t understand some word or expression at times. I probably as you said need more exposure through reading films and music. My focus at the moment is to develop good vocabulary and some basic grammar. The other thing I might try to do since I play video games online, is trying to find Russian people I would only speak russian to play with ( and I would feel like I’m not wasting my time playing games as well !).

I already had this feeling that Assimil wasn’t great,since I hated complicated words that you (apparently) dont need to care about in the early lessons though I appreciated the exercises since I’m a fan of conventional academic learning and all my life I have learned mostly through exercises. And yes, the book was really exciting at the start, then it just gets more and MORE dull after a while: that is the reason I came here, i wanted something fresh!
About Russian grammar in general I have good intuition on cases and endings due to a lot of Latin and German it does help, and I will find some quick grammar references to keep an eye on ( or i can use the one from the Assimil booklet, which I used quite a lot already.)

Im not decided yet between Chinese and Japanese. I have a lot of grammar in Japanese in my bag already and the two kana alphabets which I know and can read pretty well already, but Japanese is something I really do as a hobby whereas Chinese could be useful in my future professional life, also as you said it yourself, you should do what you find fun ( yes I watched all your videos! Very interesting!). Quite a dilemma… but I think I will plan my time ahead and decide accordingly, I’m only planning at the moment to get started in January.

Finally, my plan at the moment is to spend every day on Russian and probably around 3 times a week on Japanese/Chinese), I really want to be good in these 3 languages it’s in fact a dream to me!

One quick question here : if I click I know this word, it means I kind of know it and I will be asked about it later or it means I really know it? Also if I click ignore what is the use of it?

@Julian98 - if you click known it means you know it. You will not be asked about it later. However, if you decide you do not know it later on, you can always select it to make it blue again and remove it from your known words. You ignore a word if you decide you don’t want to learn it but you also don’t want to make it a known word therefore you would like the system to ignore it from your statistics. You would do this in case of a proper noun or a word that you think is a rare word that you don’t want to learn or that you don’t need to learn now. If later on, you decide you do want to learn a word you previously ignored, you can always highlight it to turn it back into a blue word as well.