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Living Language Review

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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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Russian Lessons

To help you find the Best Russian Lessons, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth Living Language Review.

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!



Russian Lessons In The News

Trump's tariffs teach Europe a lesson, Russian President Putin says

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Published:  Thu, 07 Jun 2018 10:32:00 GMT



Russian workers are undergoing training to learn how to smile ahead of the World Cup

Russian workers in key industries are being taught how to smile. This is because the country is expecting 1.5 million tourists during the FIFA World Cup, and it hopes to tackle the stereotype that its people are unfriendly. The World Cup kicks off on Thursday.

Published:  Mon, 11 Jun 2018 08:43:00 GMT



What we can learn from the 3,500 Russian Facebook ads meant to stir up U.S. politics

On Thursday, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released a massive new trove of Russian government-funded Facebook political ads targeted at American voters. While we'd seen a cross section of the ads before through prior releases from the ...

Published:  Thu, 10 May 2018 14:57:00 GMT



Russian Kids Learn Patriotism Through Paintball

Hundreds of schoolchildren in the Russian Far East took part in a boot camp organized to instill in them a love for their motherland. In 2016, President Vladimir Putin declared patriotism Russia's only national idea, a concept that has permeated the ...

Published:  Mon, 23 Apr 2018 05:10:00 GMT



Russian Jews to learn about rescue and betrayal in Poland

Russia's main Jewish group is sending its largest delegation ever to the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Poland, where participants will hear about Polish bravery and complicity in the Holocaust, a top rabbi from Moscow said. The Federation of ...

Published:  Wed, 25 Apr 2018 05:57:00 GMT



Austin kids learn some Russian dance moves

It's not every day that you might see someone doing a traditional Russian dance in southeast Minnesota, but some kids in Austin were exposed to a different culture Thursday. A nationally-known Russian dance troupe called "Barynya" performed for students at ...

Published:  Thu, 05 Apr 2018 11:15:00 GMT



A Lesson in Russian Strategic Deception

Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara, Turkey, on Sept. 28. Adaem Altan/AFP/Getty Images This piece was originally published on Just Security, an online forum for analysis of U.S. national security law and policy. The 2016 election will be remembered ...

Published:  Fri, 03 Nov 2017 12:49:00 GMT



The lessons of the Russian revolution, 100 years later

One century ago this year, Russia was undergoing its Marxist revolution, an attempt to create a more just nation that instead led to one of the most brutal tyrannies of all time. It's a popular reading of the revolution. But it's also wrong about Marxism ...

Published:  Mon, 14 Aug 2017 05:00:00 GMT



McMaster Gives a Belated Russian Lesson

In the lead-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and ever since, thousands of English words written by Russians pretending to be Americans have infiltrated social media in the United States. But very few Russian words - that is, words originating ...

Published:  Fri, 23 Feb 2018 15:24:00 GMT



Salisbury spy attack: a lesson from history on how hard it is to prove Russian involvement

As the allegations relating to the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salibsbury, England, develop, credible evidence to prove Russian involvement is eagerly sought. However, definitively proving Russian involvement is fraught with risk.

Published:  Fri, 16 Mar 2018 21:33:00 GMT




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