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If you've ever thought of learning a new language, you've probably come across Rosetta Stone. Aiming to teach students a new language in the same way they learned their native tongue - namely, through a process they call "Dynamic Immersion" - Rosetta Stone gives you new vocabulary, phrases, and sentences without constant translation between English and Russian.
You can get a small taste of how this works by clicking on the "Try a Free Demo" button near the top of the main Russian product page. You'll be shown several pictures, which will be labeled in Russian and accompanied by the matching pronunciation of the word. You match the sound and the written word with the correct image, which will then be paired with two verbs (boy, girl, the boy eats, the girl drinks). Unfortunately, that's the extent of the free demo for Russian; you can get a free 3-day trial for Spanish, English, French, German, or Italian, but that isn't as helpful as it would be to see how Rosetta Stone approaches teaching a completely different alphabet like Cyrillic, for example. But, you may find it useful to try out Rosetta Stone's overall approach to teaching languages, to see if it's a good fit for your learning style.
One plus is that Rosetta Stone's newer pricing makes them much more competitive with other providers of Russian lessons in the past, their programs cost $400 or more, putting them out of reach for many learners on a budget. But, at the time of our review, Rosetta Stone's Russian program was selling for $199 for a two-year online subscription and $179 for access via CD-ROM or download.
Similarly, their satisfaction guarantee/return policy has gotten an upgrade - 30-day, no risk, money back guarantee on all products, not just their CD-ROMs as the policy had previously stated.
Student reviews of Rosetta Stone are mixed. Some learners felt that the program didn't deliver a truly immersive language experience, and that their resulting level of fluency was lower than they had expected. Of course, no language program can be truly immersive; the only way to get that experience is to spend time in Russia or another Russian-speaking nation (or community). On the other hand, there are hundreds of reviews from satisfied language-learners who appreciate Rosetta Stone's attempts to teach languages in a more natural way and have used the skills they gained in a variety of settings, from school to work and travel.
Although we'd love to see a more complete free trial specifically of the Russian program Rosetta Stone offers, we appreciate their new and improved pricing and satisfaction guarantee, and we're confident that many students will enjoy learning Russian using their immersion-style approach.
LingQ (pronounced like the word "link") teaches Russian using native speaker helpers and tutors, authentic reading materials (such as books and newspaper articles), and audio lessons. All users can access LingQ for free for up to five lessons each month, and saving 20 target words to their accounts. For more in-depth learning and progression, however, students will need to subscribe: $10/month for unlimited lessons and LingQs (saved target words), or $39/month for that package along with 3000 connection points.
Beyond that, LingQ left us feeling lost. Where most Russian lessons have an orderly progression through topics, LingQ gives brand-new students a long list of possible courses to choose from, such as "Alphabet" and "Who is She?" Many of the lessons listed as Beginner 1 had titles that were completely in Russian, with no explanation as to what would be covered. The few lessons we sampled were confusing to follow; it was hard to understand what we were learning and why, and felt like someone was just reading us words and hoping that we'd follow along. Despite our experiences with learning multiple languages, we felt bewildered by trying to follow LingQ's approach to Russian.
We found LingQ's paid connection system equally hard to understand. A one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of Russian costs $5 for 15 minutes, and a 100-word writing correction costs $5. This could be useful for more advanced students, but for beginners it might be easier to look online for a willing volunteer to help with speaking and basic writing correction.
We strongly recommend that you try LingQ's free account before opting for a subscription package. If you're a beginning Russian student, you may find one of the more structured programs in our review is a better fit, especially if you don't have prior experience with learning a foreign language.
To help you find the Best Russian Lessons, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Rosetta Stone and Ling Q.
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:
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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