Russian alphabet and the most common Russian words.

You are looking for new effective ways to learn the Russian alphabet?  Then this article is exactly what you need. Read it, think it over and leave your comments below. We are really interested in your opinion and experience.

So, let’s get cracking. The Russian alphabet, is also known as the Cyrillic alphabet, contains 33 letters: 10 vowels, 21 consonants and two non-vocalized signs (ь and ъ). Some of those letters are similar to English letters in form and pronounciation, others are similar only in form and a few remaining letters do not resemble in English.  Listen to their pronounciation and watch the ways you are supposed to write Russian alphabet letters  in the video below. But I would not stop there for long because they are just letters. We are more interested in words and sentences. “How come?” you likely want to ask me. And my answer is, “Well, the possibility to say Russian acronyms correctly and beatifully sounds great. But this is like “the cherry on top” as a friend of mine says. It’s not a priority for us now. The immediate concern is to start speaking as fast as possible.”

I’d like to say a few words about the Russian cursive also. Well, we are all fairly busy people. We all have one huge common problem which is finding the time to study and finding the time to learn a language. And the Russian language is considered one of the most difficult languages for objective reasons.  That doesn’t mean that you have to quit the game and forget your dream. That just means you have so much to learn and find out in a very short time. Many people have done that and you will be able to do that too but don’t forget to repeat over and over words like “effectiveness before efficiency, effectiveness before efficiency”.  I’m saying that because I know that some of you are obsessed with an ideal Russian cursive or something like that. And I’ve put a pattern of my handwriting (without perfect connections and ideal lines!) to show you that even without iconic cursive we can go ahead. If you know the Russian alphabet and you can write it to make notes, please, keep learning, move towards your goals, don’t get stuck with the cursive. Because I think your final goal is to speak(!) beautifully, not to write.  And for the record, you can get together two learning activities like training your motor skills and listening to anything by native speakers.

Click here to download handwriting practice worksheets for Russian cursive

If you are still here and feel like “yeah, those ideas make some sense”, then I better start sharing my take on the proccess of learning the Russian alphabet with you. As you can see below, there are a few letters in the Russian alphabet which are not used often. Make no mistake, you have the same situation in your native language. And the idea is to focus on the most common letters, their sounds in the most popular Russian words (or words that you need right now) and slowly add not very common letters to your list. I’m sure, this way will help you to learn words(!) and letters, of course, naturally and without sad thoughts about the process itself.  And again, for sure, it is important to learn the pronunciation of the letter names, as well as the order in which they go. But I truly believe if you are a beginner, this is not the first thing you need to start from. And if we are on the same page, let’s move on.

So, here is the list of very common Russian words. It includes 25 nouns, 25 verbs, 25 adverbs and 25 some different words like pronouns, numbers and prepositions. And a whole list of very common Russian words with the English translation is here

NOUNS: Вре́мя,  челове́к, год, спо́соб, де́ньги, день, вещь, мужчи́на, мир, жизнь, го́род, часть, ребё́нок, кни́га,  же́нщина, ме́сто, неде́ля, случай, мне́ние, рабо́та, компа́ния, но́мер, маши́на, пробле́ма, друг.

VERBS: Име́ть, де́лать, говори́ть, получа́ть, ждать, идти́, знать, брать, ви́деть, приходи́ть, ду́мать, смотре́ть, хоте́ть, дава́ть, испо́льзовать, находи́ть, говорить, спра́шивать, рабо́тать, ве́рить, чу́вствовать, пока́зывать, уходи́ть, звони́ть, чита́ть.

ADJECTIVES: Хоро́ший, но́вый, пе́рвый, после́дний, дли́нный, ма́ленький, ста́рый, пра́вый, большо́й, сильный, высо́кий, определё́нный, ра́зный, интере́сный, сле́дующий, ра́нний, молодо́й, ва́жный, краси́вый, плохо́й, занято́й, бы́стрый, неда́вний, необходи́мый, сло́жный.

OTHER WORDS: Я, ты, вы, она, он, они́, мой, ваш, твой, их, все, всё, очень, один, два, три, первы́й, друго́й, но, бо́льше, для, на, с, из, о, после, в.

How do they work with the list like this? First of all, pick out the words you would like to learn right now (it’s better to choose words from different groups because in the near future you will be able to make up sentences from them), make friends with the letters they consist of and find out the way you are supposed to pronounce these words (besides dictionaries, use an amazing web-site where the pronunciation samples are provided by native speakers or order the voice cover on the page of our services), ask for our help in the comments to this post to make up sentences ( like “Guys, I’d like to know how you say “It’s a small city” in Russian) and repeat,repeat, repeat. Repetition is a real key to learning. The more you listen and say, the more you get. That’s much like an ad works that we see every day in our tv sets. People usually don’t spend any time to remember it but we might be woke up in the middle of the night and able say any slogan. Why??? Because of repetition…

As a first step, I would choose very simple sentences which consist of short words and common letters. For example, in Russian the sentence “it is my opinion” sounds like “‘это моё мнение” (моё is a neuter gender form for the word мой). First, this is quite a useful sentence in terms of the spoken language. Secondary, it covers 8 out of 33 letters which is great. Thirdly, there are 7 vowels in the sentence what makes it easier to pronounce. When you are done with the first sentence, make up another one which may be just slightly different in terms of letters but still interesting in terms of words and go on, go on, go on. In short, where there is a will, there is a way or кто ищет, тот всегда найдёт.

So, now you know some cool ways to learn the Russian alphabet fast and without struggling.

  • Start learning from the most frequent letters and needed words;
  • Remember that mantra “effectiveness before efficiency” in terms of each and every decision;
  • Use the “ad effect” to make things way easier.

Using all these pretty basic rules, you will learn a lot more USEFUL MATERIAL then just the Russian alphabet. Doesn’t it sound great? Effective practice makes perfect. Good luck!