Russian language, the language of Lev Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, Alexander Pushkin, Fiodor Dostoyevsky, is worth learning just because these great people spoke Russian. More practical people would probably start learning Russian to travel, live or work in Russia. Whatever your objective is, foreign language will enrich your inner world, make you look at yourself in another way.
Learning Russian to become proficient in it is a hard work. But most people have quite certain objectives learning a foreign language. You may need Russian to explain yourself while traveling in Russia, write business letters in Russian, or read the original version of War and Peace. Try to get to know your strengths, weaknesses and possibilities. Decide whether you want to know just a few Russian words and phrases or be proficient in it. And we will set out into the most exciting journey!
Vocabulary is the first component of your success. According to specialists' estimates, 3000 words are sufficient for primitive social contacts. However one can not know enough words. One thing is for sure--the more a person knows the Russian language the... thicker dictionary will he/she be keeping on a bookshelf. Bilingual dictionaries are a good thing for starters. It is recommended to start using explanatory monolingual dictionaries as you progress with your studies.
Pronunciation is essential for you to understand other people and to be understood. You may want to listen to Russian language radio on the Internet and repeat announcer's words. This will contribute to your speaking fluent Russian.
Russian grammar will help you to learn the language more consciously, quicker and more effectively. If you are not so lucky to learn Russian among its native speakers you will have to plunge into grammar. Once you are aware of basic grammar rules and patterns you will use them subconsciously in the future to construct new sentences. Studying grammar consists of learning as many grammar patterns as possible.
Writing is often secondary in studying the Russian language but still important. Writing exercises are useful because they make you analyze each word and remember it better.
Vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and writing are good but not enough to understand Russian and Russians. How can you read Russian books without knowing what borsch is, or how much a kopeck is? Reading Russian literature and expanding your range of interests will give you this knowledge and make the studies more fascinating.
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