Free Language Lessons
Learning to speak Russian can open new career pathways or it can allow you to read "War and Peace" as Tolstoy envisioned it. Learning Russian online is one way to get started or to supplement your offline studies. The best part is that you can get started and learn a great deal of Russian online without spending any money.
Decide what you want to learn in Russian. You can learn more Russian later if you like, but to get started focus on what you either want or need to learn first. If you are planning to take a shopping trip to Russia, for example, focus on the vocabulary you will need for shopping in stores. For a business trip, focus on business etiquette and the vocabulary specific to your industry.
Study Russian daily. Small blocks of time are better than marathon study sessions. It's important to study a minimum of 10 minutes a day. This minimum will help with retention of vocabulary words. Try and limit your study time to no more than one hour at a time unless you are enjoying yourself.
It is certainly possible to learn a great deal of Russian online without spending any money. If you are a complete novice to the Russian language, you can begin by visiting the Speak 7 site at russian.speak7.com/ and the Learn Russian site at listen2russian.com/. Both of these sites were created for the beginner with no previous Russian language background.
You need to keep in mind however, that online sources generally work best as a supplement to either an audio program such as Pimsleur or a computer software program such as Rosetta Stone. Both of these programs are highly rated by the U.S. State Department for use in language education.
You should check with your library system about obtaining language programs. Most libraries have access to the Pimsleur Russian program either on site or through the loan system.
Visit Russian forums. These forums are often designed to help Russian students at all levels improve their reading and writing skills in a manner a bit more natural than studying with a book. One active forum to try is masterrussian.net/mforum/. This forum has both Russian and English students. You can improve your Russian while helping someone else improve his English.
Find chat partners. There are several online chat sites, including sharedtalk.com, that allow you to participate in real time chats. Plug a microphone into your computer and you can talk to others in the chat rooms. This is a good way to work on your conversation skills and pronunciation.
Visit online editions of newspapers and magazines to keep updated on Russian culture and to practice your Russian reading skills. One good source to try is Novaya Gazeta at en.novayagazeta.ru/. This is an English language version of the Russian print edition of the newspaper with the same name. In the upper right hand corner is a link where you can immediately switch to the Russian edition of the newspaper.