A few decades ago, it would have been a pain to find a Russian teacher close to home to learn the Russian language.
Apart from a few linguists' works in bookstores, very much focused on grammar and morphological philology, no other method was available on the language market - maybe one or two dictionaries.
Today, things have changed: the digital revolution, in addition to having transformed our way of life, has completely changed our access to the educational tools facilitating the learning of Russian.
In addition to computer-based software and programs, tablets and other smartphones provide access to a wide range of Russian language applications, developed by speakers of different mother tongues, which can kill two birds with one stone by working several languages at a time…
Let's sort out these solutions in order of efficiency and value for money!
The power of apps to improve Russian
How to learn Slavic languages without a language study trip or a personal trip to Russia?
Well, this is where your little everyday devices will go to the Cyrillic keyboard to give you the opportunity to study Russian for free, anywhere in the world, without having to submit to specific schedules or movements to go to this or that language school.
Undoubtedly, the famous Apple brand – well-known for its Mac computers – has been a pioneer in new, ultra-connected gadgets.
The iPad is the queen of tablets, while the iPhone is the king of smartphones, with successive versions hitting the market at a frantic pace, boasting constant improvements in power, autonomy and ease of use.
Russian e-learning is of interest only in view of its practice (written communication as well as oral communication) with real Slavic interlocutors. In other words, reading about it is all good and well, but you have to hear it to truly learn how to speak it.
Coming from a rather traditional perspective of the Russian language course, some textbooks have designed audio recordings with compatible subtitles for iPhone: perfect for revising Russian vocabulary on your way to work!
Which language, today, doesn't offer the opportunity to be in full immersion in free or inexpensive classes via digital means?
Learn Russian online with great tools such as videos or apps. It's really the only avenue for students and tight-budget beginners that wish to take Russian courses and meet new challenges.
Also check out Russian videos to progress.
Top 15 English Russian courses and exercises for smartphones
The online Russian courses are very popular, and some of you may already know the Busuu.com website to learn Russian easily, via e-learning.
To progress quickly and improve in the handling of perfective, irregular verbs and phonetics, developers of the interface have created an application for Android and iPhone (if you have an iPhone, you will have to have an iTunes account to use Busuu).
The online Russian language courses follow interactive exercises adapted to your level (beginner or intermediate for example) and your goals. These language lessons are thematic.
The first lesson, like all the others, offers the basics of Russian grammar, new Russian words to memorise, speaking (and comprehension) exercises, as well as testing your acquired Russian alphabet skills.
Images and short dialogue segments help the future polyglot - you! - to get better at speaking and understanding Russian, without any headaches.
A little more for the learner: grammar exercises can be corrected by other users - native Russian speakers, for whom the language of Dostoevsky is the mother tongue.
To top it off, Busuu is about learning Russian for free... at 'basic' levels. A paid subscription is necessary to take additional courses, especially at an advanced level.
This should not prevent you from using private teachers or language classes to speak Russian even better.
If you prefer, it is also possible to get books and textbooks to learn Russian.
Duolingo is a large-scale project hailed by several specialised and general media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal to Slate via PC Magazine, who all aver that Duolingo will delight multilingual brains.
In language teaching, this Android app offers you the chance to learn English, learn Spanish, learn German...
Unless you wish to go for additional options, Duolingo's learning modules are free: could you hope for a better way to no longer hesitate on your pronouns, tonic and imperfective accents?
Four modes of progression can be chosen: "Easy" (5 minutes per day), "Normal" (10), "Serious" (15 minutes) or "Crazy" (20 minutes).
The Android application is a well-known platform of e-linguists. It's similar to the previous one we describe but with a less infantile and more adult approach.
As not all features are offered free of charge, it would be better rely on the subscription version at $10 a month.
Regular updates help avoid bugs and optimise teaching methods.
The advantage of this multilingual software is that you can then learn Portuguese or learn Italian from the moment you can say "I speak Russian". It's a never-ending language tool!
4. Speak Russian with MosaLingua
IOS, Android and PC / MAC (thanks to "MosaLingua Web"): the advantage and versatility of this digital language centre can be yours for less than $5 per month.
The use on mobile phones is intuitive, with 10 levels of difficulty to avoid any mistakes in your Russian pronunciation.
This theme-led course gives advice and focuses on real-life situations.
Very playful bonuses enhance your progress to maintain your motivation.
Websites in Russian also make it possible to progress rapidly.
5. Russian LingoPal
After the 4 major apps mentioned above, we immediately go down a single stroke in language level.
The LingoPal app will never replace intensive courses with a good teacher of Russian; at most, it can help you to consolidate your language skills and oral comprehension at the intermediate level.
In addition, this software costs, albeit less than $1. But it remains a great way to learn new words and a fairly comprehensive catalogue of Russian expressions that are always useful for learning the Russian language without having to go to St. Petersburg.
Your digital "teacher" will be a kind of Svetlana with a playful voice: you can learn every new Russian or Ukrainian word with a light heart.
The App Learn Russian Free is very well rated on Google Play by nearly 20000 people. Although it is free, some add-ons are not; they may cost anywhere from $5 to $90.
The idea is to become familiar with the grammatical principles of Russian by devoting a few minutes a day to learning the language's words and phrases, grammar and verbs.
The focus is on the vocabulary rather than on grammar rules. A voice recognition utility will help you with your Russian pronunciation.
Different vocabulary exercises are presented in the form of games.
It does not cost anything to set up the free version, so why not?
Like most of the other successful applications listed here, Learning Russian's 6,000 Words is first and foremost a matter of vocabulary: enough to become a small Russian dictionary!
Warning: avoid buying paid plug-ins, which bring - almost - nothing for an unjustified price.
Also think about podcasts to learn Russian!
8. Russian Nemo
We go up in price ($10) now for an application that you have to download if you want to learn vocabulary lists essential to the Russian culture.
Note that this is not a good method for learning to speak the language properly.
It will be a clever way to read in the text the great penmen of Russian literature – Pushkin, Chekhov, Tolstoy...
The lexicon is read and written in order to know how to pronounce it and to assimilate the letters of the alphabet.
9. AccelaStudy Russian
Want to learn grammatical structures of Russian? Don't stop at this app.
For $8, AccelaStudy simply offers something to be understood, doing little for Russian learning from a non-native perspective. So it doesn't offer enough to help master Russian as a second language!
The fun way to learn a new language in 2.0 mode is erased by an outdated design.
To learn to speak fluently Russian as a native, you'd better not try this one out. But, as an additional resource, it's quite alright.
10. Learn & Play
If you have exhausted previous programs and are bored, go to the Learn and Play module. 1000 Russian words can be revised by using vocabulary exercises.
A thousand is both a lot and little: it is very likely that you already know the terms proposed, but it is hardly bad to use them to train!
11. Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone is an immersion language app with some features offered free and others on a subscription basis.
It's famous because it is efficient, and has been proven to improve conversation for Russian learners and other languages. It even has a speech recognition system which listens to how you pronounce Russian words and corrects it!
Free for basic use but with a subscription available, Memrise is said to be one of the best language apps on the market.
It offers everything all the others have but it has the added bonus of being able to chat with other users thus improving your written and spoken conversational language.
This free app is an entirely game-focused, which helps you to boost your language skills whilst being distracted and having fun.
14. Hello Talk
You don't have to pay a penny for Hello Talk, and all it's used for is to talk to people in Russian.
But you're best to download this only when you are more confident in your language skills.
Drop is available on Apple store and Google Play and is quite new on the language learning scene. That said, it deserves recognition as it contains catalogues of words and phrases and offers fun activities as well as games to help you learn.
Of course, get an English Russian dictionary to speed up your learning.
The best apps to learn Russian for free
Of course, you pay for quality and that's certainly the case for some language materials. Not all, though, because as you can see from our review above some app features are just not worth the money they charge.
In our opinion, and judging by the feedback and reviews left by customers, these are the best totally free apps to use if you want to learn Russian on a budget:
- Mondly, the masses of positive ratings speak for themselves
- Drop, it's new but innovative and will no doubt rival the likes of Memrise, Babbel and DuoLingo
- Hello Talk, because there is no better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself in speaking it with natives!
What do you think? You can suss these out and leave your comments because they are completely free to use their basic functions!
Study Russian on simple websites
Russian language online courses are not limited to applications as such. Indeed, you will win (to leave more quickly a beginner level) at doubling the latter with alternative digital content.
Sites such as EasyRussian do not have the same impact for the linguist as conversation classes, total immersion or individual courses (Russian lessons), but a free Russian course is always a taken.
A Wi-Fi or 3G / 4G connection will allow your tablet or smartphone to connect to the Net, where the Russian world is yours to explore.
Be self-taught by surfing the Russian-speaking Google to make friends with whom to correspond via Skype or e-mail (the installation of a virtual keyboard may be required).
To find a correspondent is to prepare a language exchange with a host family, near the Urals for example - nothing better to be aware of the different possible dialects.
In parallel, practice Russian transcription and translation: who says you won't discover a vocation to be a Russian translator?
My method, which I recommend, is finally to watch Russian films in original version and to listen to Russian songs: perfect to know the language and culture of the Russians while having fun!
Russian language online translators are very practical.
Searching for Russian course London produces the most results on Superprof but there is a lot more choice if you're willing to learn Russian online.
The platform that connects private tutors and students