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Transparent Language vs 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.
Transparent Language's Russian lessons promise "radically better language learning, in one complete experience". They make use of a variety of strategies - grammar, writing, pronunciation and speech activities, among others - to help you learn Russian fluently.
Transparent Language allows you to choose from two main paths through your language journey: Russian, which starts out directly with the Cyrillic alphabet, and Russian Transliterated ("For English Speakers") which gives you the approximate English pronunciation as well as the words written out in Cyrillic. We recommend you take advantage of Transparent's 14-day free trial to see which path feels best for you.
Transparent Language tries to walk you through the process of learning Russian with a number of tools. Core Skill-Building Activities target the four core skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Speaking practice is done using their proprietary EveryVoice technology, allowing you to compare your pronunciation with that of a native speaker. And, the typing activities included in Transparent's Russian lessons gradually teach you how to use your regular keyboard to type in Cyrillic. Transparent Language makes sure to give you a well-rounded approach to your language learning adventure.
If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your subscription or download after becoming a paying customer, you can receive a full refund within six months of purchase (or prior to the next billing cycle if you're a subscriber to one of the online plans).
You should be aware that the structure of Transparent's Russian lessons is very flexible: you are able to jump from one topic to another without needing to demonstrate mastery of previous lessons. For some students, this flexibility is helpful as it allows them to move to the vocabulary or grammar they most need at the time; however it may be overwhelming for beginners to not have a more rigid progression through the available lessons.
If you need more personalized help with learning Russian, Transparent Language does have the option to access live weekly lessons or one-on-one tutoring. It's considerably more expensive than the online course or MP3 downloads - $299 for an 8-week, customized online course that meets weekly, and/or $99 for 90 minutes of one-on-one online tutoring on whatever area you need to work on - but many Transparent Language customers appreciate having options in addition to the online subscription for those times when they have specific challenges with the language.
Transparent Languages' Russian lessons are well-rounded and affordable, and we appreciate that they offer both live lessons and tutoring.
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.
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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