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Living Language vs Strokes International

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LIVING LANGUAGE

Living Language's uses a four-step approach to studying Russian: Build a Foundation, Progress with Confidence, Retain What You've Learned, and Achieve Your Goals. For almost seven decades, the techniques that Living Language initially developed for the US State Department have allowed students to create a strong foundation of core words and phrases, moving easily to complete sentences and conversations, and eventually conversing comfortably in Russian in a number of real-world situations.

The Russian lessons offered by Living Language are delivered in two basic formats: Russian Essential and Complete, which are presented through books and audio CDs, and the Russian Online Course:

  • Russian Essential Components - 10 Russian language lessons in two books, with additional review exercises and dialogues; an extensive Russian glossary; a guide to reading and writing Russian; and, 3 audio CDs with example phrases, vocabulary, dialogues, and more. This sells for $22.95.
  • Russian Complete Components - 46 Russian language lessons in four books, 9 audio CDs, and the guide to reading and writing Russian. This is priced at $49.95.
  • Russian Online Course - based on the content included in the course books described above, the online course adds interactive activities such as games and quizzes to help strengthen your skills. It also includes access to an online community of language experts and other students, and e-Tutoring with native speakers of Russian is also available. The program includes all three available levels of instruction, from beginner to advanced. Prices start at $39 for one month of access and go up to $150 for a full year; the 12-month package also includes two e-Tutoring credits, and additional credits can be purchased by students at any subscription level.

If you'd like to get an idea of Living Language's approach to teaching Russian, be sure to take a look at their free Language Lab. You can access it directly from the website, without having to enter your email address or any other personal information. We suggest going directly to Lesson 1: Essential Expressions and trying the vocabulary flashcard game. You may want to set the transliteration feature to "on", which will allow you to see the approximate English pronunciation of the Cyrillic words. You will also be able to see which topics are covered in the Russian program; for example, the 10 lessons in the Essential level cover basic expressions and other everyday topics, while the Intermediate level helps you talk about health and food (among many other subjects).

However, we felt that the free Language Lab activities didn't really help us understand how Living Language structures its teaching of Russian. We were left wondering if there is any direct instruction regarding the Cyrillic alphabet or pronunciation, or how the famously tricky grammar of Russian is addressed. We would have liked to see, at a minimum, a video or screenshots of the lessons themselves, or a description of the progression within the lessons. Most competitors allow prospective students to see the dashboard, syllabus, or other detailed information, so that they know exactly what they're getting with their program. Living Language felt like something of a mystery with respect to how, exactly, they teach their Russian lessons. Especially because there is no return policy or satisfaction guarantee - again, unlike most of their competitors - students may find it best to try one of their lower-priced options, such as the one-month online course, before committing to a more expensive package or subscription.

On a positive note, Living Language's e-Tutoring has many positive reviews from students who feel that it's well worth the investment. Pricing varies, but Living Language includes two e-Tutoring credits with their full-year package, and students can purchase further credits if they wish. For many of their language programs, Living Language offers a Platinum package that combines the full-year online course and all of the print/audio materials, along with twelve e-Tutoring credits; unfortunately, Russian is not one of the languages that currently offers access to that Platinum package. We suggest contacting Living Language to inquire regarding their e-Tutoring prices if you feel that you would benefit from working one-on-one with a native speaker.

On the whole. Living Language's Russian lessons have positive reviews, especially for their tutoring options, but their lack of a satisfaction policy and scant details about the structure of their program make it difficult to give them a higher rating at this time.

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STROKES INTERNATIONAL

Strokes Easy Learning Russian lessons are available through download or on traditional DVDs for use on a laptop or other computer, and included in both formats are:

  • Up to 300 lessons with pronunciation training, vocabulary memory games, spoken dialogue interaction, and more
  • Strokes Reference Suite with 230 grammar topics, dictionary, and 1,400 verb conjugations
  • Learning tools such as a conversation trainer and flashcards

Strokes Easy Learning Russian revolves around EU standards for learning, covering levels A1 to C1, along with a program specifically for language used in business interactions for professionals who need to use Russian. Strokes allows site visitors to download a complimentary set of three lessons, but issues with the site left us wondering if the files would be reliable or safe to install.

For instance, when we looked for more details by clicking on the link for "Program information", it returned a page with no information at all. Also, the "Shipping & Returns" page provided shipping costs within and outside of Europe, but there was no return policy given. Most of Strokes' competitors have a clearly-established policy for returning products and/or getting a refund if customers are unsatisfied with the product. Lastly, we spotted several spelling and grammatical errors that raised concerns about the quality of the Russian language programs.

And, when we took a look at the learning apps offered by Strokes, we noticed that there was no app for Russian; for the languages available, the apps had not been updated in over two years and had only a small number of reviews.

For all these reasons, Strokes International received low marks in our review. We encourage you to consider one of the more highly-rated programs that we evaluated.

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Russian Lessons

To help you find the Best Russian Lessons, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Living Language and Strokes International.

Why learn to speak Russian? More than 270 million people speak Russian worldwide, from native speakers living in the nations of the former Soviet Union to students who have learned it as a second language. In fact, many federal agencies - from the US Department of Agriculture to the Department of Defense, as well as the FBI, CIA, NSA and State Department - have identified Russian as a priority language of national need.

It's no wonder, therefore, that speaking Russian can be a distinct advantage in one's career goals, international travels, or post-graduate studies. Modern technology makes it possible to learn Russian from the comfort of your home - or anywhere you choose to go with your mobile device and headphones - rather than trying to find a local class and fit it into your busy lifestyle.

From audio lessons to interactive multimedia programs on your laptop, beginning and experienced students alike can easily access the information needed to take their skills to the next level.

When deciding on a program for studying Russian, you should determine your overall goals and focus on a program that will help you meet your objectives while being a good fit for your learning style, available time for studying, and your budget.

If you learn best by listening, you may want to focus on lessons that are provided primarily in audio format, making it easy to learn on-the-go, during your commute, and so on.

On the other hand, if you're a more visual learner, you will want to choose a program with Russian lessons that are delivered through videos, images, and reading materials, whether that's delivered via CD/DVD or through an online download or subscription.

One aspect of learning Russian to keep in mind is its use of a non-Roman alphabet. Russian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, which can take some time to recognize, understand, and master.

Is it important for you to learn how to read and write in Russian, or is conversational ability sufficient? If your reasons for learning the language include reading and writing, make sure to select Russian lessons that will give you experience with Cyrillic.

There are a few key components to evaluate as you consider which Russian lessons will be a good fit. These include:

  • Instructional Methods. Many language programs offer a free trial. Did the sample lesson or activity leave you feeling interested and educated, or frustrated? Is the structure of the program a match with your preferred way of learning (for example, auditory, visual, and so on)?
  • Skill Level. Does the program expect that you've already had experience with Russian or with learning languages in general? How much instruction is provided in the program package? Will you have full access to all levels for one price, or will you have to spend more to purchase more advanced levels as you progress?
  • Value. Have other people gained or improved their fluency in Russian with this program? Is it worth the price you will pay to purchase the download, CDs, or subscription?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Russian lessons available today. We hope these reviews will help you to find the perfect Russian program to get you on the road to fluency in no time!



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Russian takeways: what did the sports industry learn from the Fifa World Cup

The 2018 Fifa World Cup has been warmly received, on and off the pitch, and the events of the past few weeks have provided some significant pointers as to the direction of travel in the business of so...

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Russian history lesson taken over afternoon coffee

A small coterie of locals had coffee recently at the College of William and Mary's bookstore on Merchants Square. We were talking about some obscure historical events that occurred during the World Wa...

Published:  Mon, 23 Jul 2018 17:00:00 GMT



Caught red-handed: Lessons from the just-announced indictments of 12 Russian operatives for hacking Democrats in 2016

It is painful but necessary to admit: We, the members of the news media, were had. With the detailed federal indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers for orchestrating an elaborate plot to hack ...

Published:  Fri, 13 Jul 2018 15:09:00 GMT



Zack Snyder Had Nothing to Do With Justice League's Weird Russian Family Storyline

The Russian family aren't major characters in the film. None of them are even given names within the script, but they are a rather prominent subplot. The story of the Russian family is charted through...

Published:  Fri, 25 May 2018 10:31:00 GMT




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