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How to Learn Russian Vocabulary
By:Nicole Langton

Although learning Russian vocabulary can be slower if you're not familiar with the Cyrillic alphabet, there are effective ways to build your vocabulary as you get used to reading Russian. Most Russian phonemes are similar to those in other European languages and you'll find loanwords from other languages, which also makes learning vocabulary easier. Find out how to learn Russian vocabulary by using authentic writings and audio, reviewing effectively and working with a conversation partner.

Read and listen to Russian every day to review vocabulary and discover new words. Keep a list of new words, including the sentence or context in which you found each word. Russian has some false cognates with English, so noting the context will help you learn the how native speakers use the word. Build a more native vocabulary by using material meant for native speakers such as newspapers and radio from Russia.

Use new vocabulary in your own writing. Move words into your active vocabulary by using them in a variety of creative ways. Since the spelling of Russian words changes according to grammatical rules, using words in complete sentences is essential. Try writing three different sentences using a new word or writing down a random selection of words and trying to use any two of them in one sentence.

Play vocabulary building games. Add interest to your review sessions with word games like crosswords, scrambled words and anagrams. Games are ideal for learning Russian vocabulary because they help you remember small yet significant attributes of words like the placement of soft signs and stress-based shifts in vowel pronunciation.

Experiment with mnemonic devices. Memory tricks work well for English speakers learning Russian because many sounds are similar to English sounds. Use mental images to connect Russian words with similar sounding words you already know. For example, to remember the word "stol" means "table," envision a burglar who stole a table or create a sentence like "Who stole my table?"

Find a native Russian conversation partner. A native or near-native Russian speaker has a large enough vocabulary that they can help you build yours during the conversation. They can also explain the nuances and cultural connotations of words. Choose conversation topics relevant to your needs, such as grocery shopping or talking with co-workers. Write down new words along with information you learn about their usage.

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