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If you're interested in learning the language, you likely already realize that it's going to be more challenging than some. First off, Russian uses a completely different alphabet, Cyrillic, from what you're using right now to read in English. Training your mind to recognize the new symbols and the sounds they make (or to make different sounds using letters that look similar between Cyrillc and the Roman alphabet) can take some time.
You'll also have to master a grammatical system that's quite different from English. Do you know the difference between the nominative case and the dative case? It's okay if you don't - because of the six cases used in Russian, we only use three in modern English.
Tuesday, November 29th
LinguaLift takes a personalized approach to helping people learn Russian across six levels of fluency. An affordable subscription gives you access to help from tutors and a customized learning plan, and the first three lessons are free to use if you want to give the service a try. You might need to pair LinguaLift with an app for extra practice, especially for speaking Russian, but these lessons are the most approachable, comprehensive and enjoyable ones on the market today. LinguaLift earns our highest rating.
Learning Russian on paper is fine, but most students would love to be able to speak it fluently too. italki is the best way to do both. You can choose from informal lessons with "community" tutors to in-depth sessions with professional instructors - with over 1,000 experts to choose from! If you're brave enough to work one-on-one with a tutor, this should be the first option you consider for Russian lessons.
Russian Pod 101 will quite literally overwhelm you with the amount of content they offer in their Russian lessons. You can use a lot of it for free, but you'll get the most out of your account with one of three paid plans. The top tier includes customized lesson planning and feedback from a professional Russian teacher! If you can get past the overly sales-pitchy first few pages and wind your way through all of the many options, you'll have plenty to learn from Russian Pod 101.
If you're a complete beginner to learning Russian and you don't want to commit to an ongoing subscription plan, Rocket Languages' Russian lessons are a decent place to start. You'll get almost 150 hours of lesson time that includes plenty of reading, writing, listening and even cultural information, all for a one-time cost of less than $150 (or less than $100 if Rocket is offering a promotion). More advanced students won't get what they need with Rocket Russian, but newbies should give it a try with a free guest account.
For beginners and more experienced students alike, Busuu is a great choice for Russian lessons. The no-cost Basic membership gives you access to nearly 150 lessons across levels A1-B2, and subscribing to one of Busuu's paid plans gives you access to their full range of features. Just watch out for your account's automatic subscription renewal date, because you've only got a 14-day refund policy on the Premium and Premium Plus plans. Overall, you've got nothing to lose by giving Busuu a try.
For a little over 10 years, Memrise has been one of the most popular app-based ways to learn a language, including Russian and many others. Video clips introduce you to the language exactly how it's spoken by locals, starting with recognizing Cyrillic letters and basic sounds. Using Memrise's Russian lessons feels easy, natural and fun, and their free account offers enough access to help you decide if you want to subscribe. Memrise is a good option for studying Russian in a low-stress way.
Babbel usually gets ranked near the top of the stack when it comes to language learning platforms, but their Russian lessons don't measure up as well. You'll get a limited amount of access in your free account; noticeably absent are Roman alphabet transliterations and speaking exercises. Babbel also doesn't go beyond a beginner level, but on the positive side you'll have over 100 lessons to work through. This isn't a terrible way to start learning Russian, but it's not quite our favorite either.
Mondly offers a fun way to get started with your Russian learning journey or to practice some of the basics you already know. This program is mostly app-based (but you can use it on desktop too), and you'll get lots of repetition of key words and phrases, plus opportunities for practicing real-world conversations. There's plenty of free content, but the premium features require a low-cost subscription or a one-time fee for lifetime access. Mondly doesn't offer the most robust Russian lessons we've seen - no explanations of grammar or in-depth cultural insights here - but it's a good option for basic learning and practice.
For many languages, Rosetta Stone's immersive approach isn't a big leap. But with a language like Russian that uses a completely different alphabet from English, these lessons tend to make students feel overwhelmed right from the start. You can take advantage of a 3-day trial to see if it works for you, but unless you already have some familiarity with Russian and the Cyrillic alphabet, Rosetta Stone won't likely be your first choice.
If you ever tried to learn Russian in the past, you might already be familiar with Living Language: they've been around for decades. However, their methods for teaching Russian haven't kept up with the times: the platform is outdated, the company has dropped some of its more popular features (like eTutoring), and there's no refund policy. You'll have a better experience with a more up-to-date provider of Russian lessons.
Feeling discouraged? Don't be! Russian is ranked as a Level III language by the US State Department, marking it merely as a "hard" language and not as difficult as Level IV languages like Arabic or Chinese. Whew! And with the right type of Russian lessons, you could find yourself reading, writing, understanding and speaking the language more fluently than you imagined.
So, what makes a Russian language program the "right type" ? Some of that depends on you. Do you learn best by reading detailed explanations of grammar or by learning useful words and phrases in context? Do you like your learning to feel like playing games or do you prefer a more straightforward, traditional approach? If you're not sure about the answers to any of those questions, that's fine: most Russian lessons have a free lesson or give you limited access to the platform so you can try it for yourself. Put a few providers to the test and see which ones keep coming to mind - or which approach helps what you've learned to "stick" the best!
Generally speaking, there are a few factors that can make a particular system for learning Russian better than another. Those include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top resources for learning Russian online. We're confident that this information will help you choose the Russian lessons that will boost your fluency in no time!
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