Saturday, December 10, 2011

Simple ways to learn new words

Recently, I stumbled upon a post (7 Simple Ways to Learn New Russian Words) in a blog called Fun Russian. It talks about different ways to learn new words in Russian, although these tips are useful for any foreign language that you may be learning. I recommend you to read and follow these guidelines.

Here's the whole post.

7 Simple Ways to Learn New Russian Words

Working on your vocabulary is a part of the language learning process. Learning new words does not have to be a daunting task, but it may take some time to build a vocabulary that will make you feel comfortable speaking Russian. Today we will talk about a few steps that you can take to help yourself to improve your vocabulary faster and more effectively.


Motivation is the most important part of the vocabulary-building process. Your motivation is your inspiration that helps you to succeed. This is why it might be a good idea to think about the reasons why you would like to improve your Russian vocabulary. Is it because you have a new pretty Russian friend?  :D Or is it because you are planning a trip to Russia? Write your reasons down and every time you feel like giving up read them through again.


Immersion is the key. Surround yourself by Russian, and you’ll notice how much easier it is now to learn new words. Listen to Russian radio stations, watch Russian TV channels, read newspapers, magazines or books in Russian and get acquainted with the Russian speaking community. You can find Russian speaking communities online, join (Russian version of MySpace or Facebook) and make friends there, or join a forum or a chat, where you can meet likeminded people who are learning Russian.

Why is immersion so important? You will hear your new words during talk shows, you’ll see them in a Russian paper, you’ll watch them on YouTube (including YouTube Channel :D ) and you’ll hear them from your new Russian friends. It will be so much easier to learn new words once you will see and hear them everywhere!

Good Old Flash Cards

This method helped me to learn new English words. A few months before I left for London I had set a goal to learn 20 new words and expressions each week. And here is what I did. I wrote down one word on each of the flash cards and hung them up around the house everywhere, in places where I spend the majority of my time. And every time I glanced at the new word, I read it and tried to use it in a sentence. Then, a week later I tested myself.

If you don’t want to decorate your flat or a house with the flash cards with the Russian words on them, you can just write down the words and remember to look at them every day, say, in the morning before you go to work or school or at night before you go to bed. You can learn as many words a day or a week as you want, but, please don’t set unrealistic goals. They will burn you down very quickly and you’ll feel bad if you can’t reach them.

Word Puzzles in Russian

This is my personal favourite. I love to play scrabble (on my computer, because then I can cheat by searching for a word at the dictionary…  :oops: Oh come on, who hasn’t done that?). And I also love word games on Yahoo (no cheating here). They help to relax, unwind and learn new English words!

Playing word games and solving puzzles and crosswords will definitely help you to learn and practice new Russian words while having lots of fun at the same time! Although, be ware – this method is very addictive, you might find yourself sitting in front of your computer for hours…. Just tell yourself that it’s for a good cause, and it will make you feel better! :D

Dictionary is Your Best Friend

the absolutely best friend you could ever ask for! It always understands your efforts and needs, and is always ready to tell the truth about the words and expressions. So, please make sure to look up as many words as possible in the dictionary. Also make sure to read the full entry of the each word. One word can have several meanings. For example Russian word «ключ» has a couple of meanings. Nope, I won’t tell you what they are! Look it up and make friends with the dictionary at the same time! :D

Practice, Practice, Practice

It is always a good idea to review the words you’ve learned. One of the reasons is that Russian is full of surprises, like suffixes, prefixes, word endings, cases…and as you know, I could carry on for a long time! This is why it is always a good idea to start practicing using new words as soon as you can.
Practice your Russian pronunciation by reading new words aloud several times. When you are comfortable with your pronunciation, try to actually using them in your speech! This is where the Russian speaking community comes in. Whether you are chatting online or talking on Skype, or in person, try to use the variety of the words and expressions you have just learned! You will be so proud of yourself! :D
Reward Your Efforts
Reward Your Efforts

Always Reward Yourself

It is always a good idea to appreciate your own efforts. Have you just learnt your 50th word? Or have you just asked for the directions in Russian for the first time? Every single, even the smallest success is worth a celebration! Get yourself a little present, like your favourite desert or a movie, or go out with your friends. You deserve that! And now, you will have something to look forward to when your next goal is accomplished!

I hope these tips will help you to improve your Russian vocabulary much faster! Visit YouTube Channel to learn new Russian slang, idioms, popular expressions and other fun stuff!

Good luck and have fun learning Russian! :D

  • Fun Russian, Learn Russian the Fun Way:
  • If you want to meet people and practice languages such as Russian, Spanish, English or French, etc visit: Babelan.

Friday, November 18, 2011

10 steps to becoming fluent in a language in 6 months or less

Recently, I stumble upon an interesting article with some tips to learn a foreign language in a few months: 10 steps to becoming fluent in a language in 6 months or less. You can read those guidelines here:

1. Immerse yourself

It’s almost impossible to learn a new language, or at least to learn it rapidly, unless you begin thinking in that language. But how do you think in a new language you can’t yet speak?

The answer is to simply immerse yourself in it. Traveling in a foreign country allows you to continuously hear the sounds, rhythms, and inflections of a new language–spoken on the streets, in buses, on television, etc. Your brain will already start to process and interpret a new language.

Even better than simply traveling is being forced to “operate” in a new language by participating in a volunteer program, or working abroad. Best of all is being completely immersed with locals (such as living with a host family) and completely isolated from other native speakers of your language.

Immerse yourself with the locals, their music, culture, media, politics, sports, family, etc. Ingratiate yourself with the community and you’re halfway there!

2. Forget translating: think like a baby!

How do babies learn language? Through imitation, repetition of sounds, and above all, by not being shy or self-conscious.

So what if your pronunciation is a little off, or you can’t remember the proper conjugation? Just start talking, even if it seems like babbling. Resisting the urge to translate everything into your native language can be the single fastest shortcut to fluency.

Rather than walking up to the restaurant or giving your host family a pre-memorized phrase for what you’re going to order, simply listen to how the locals order their food, and then imitate them as best you can. The same goes for greetings, small talk, etc. Watch their facial expressions as they say the words; study how they move their mouths.

Copy these expressions and sounds just like a baby would. Whether you understand what they mean exactly or not, eventually you will begin simply calling upon these sounds / phrases / words in appropriate situations. They’ll appear, as if by magic. This is the gateway to thinking in a new language.

3. How do you say?

Besides common greetings, the one phrase you should memorize and always have at the ready is the phrase is “How do you say that / what is that called?”

By being an inquisitive traveler, one who is always asking questions, you befriend the local people. You’ll find that over time they’ll open up to you, making it easier to initiate conversations. These daily interactions with the locals are your best teachers: set a daily goal for yourself of having X number of conversations each day–asking people about things you’re interested in, but don’t know the words for. Even if you can’t finish the conversation, you’re on the way.

4. Write it

After having conversations, jot down the things you remembered hearing but didn’t quite understand. (This can serve double duty if you’re also taking notes for your travel blog).

Then go back and use your dictionary. Look up the words, piece the conversation back together in your mind. Then, next time you have a conversation, use what you learned.

When studying French and Spanish, I also used “grammar sheets” where I wrote down the various verbs to learn their conjugations. Besides helping me focus, they also became handy reference guides.

5. Use cognates and draw links

Ever noticed how some words appear exactly the same across various languages? These are called “cognates.” Unlocking the usage of cognates instantly gives you several hundred more words to your vocabulary. For example, most words ending in “ion” in the Latin languages are the same in English.

For example: information / información, donation / donación

Similarly, words across different languages often share the same root word, so drawing on what you already know will make it easier (e.g.: cheese is fromage in French and fromaggio in Italian). Studies have also shown that when you have mastered a second language, your brain becomes becomes better wired to learn subsequent new languages. Fret not, it gets better!

6. Local TV, movies, music

Watch movies, listen to music, sing songs, and browse newspapers and magazines. It’s fun and helps improve your pronunciation and comprehension.

I often stumble when trying to read Chinese script because I don’t use it enough and there are no phonetic cues in Chinese characters. But by watching Chinese music videos and following the lyrics, I learned many new characters and also began pronouncing words more accurately.

In the same way, I attuned myself to rapid French prattling by watching French movies on DVD without subtitles and improved my Spanish by paying attention during the dubbed action movies on long bus rides in South America.

Salsa classes have also ensured I know my izquierda (left) from my derecha (right)!

7. Non-verbal cues

Beyond words, observe locals when they talk. Be it the Gaelic shrug or a slight tilt of the head, combining body language with a new tongue helps you communicate better.

This is especially important in cultures where language is closely linked to gestures. For instance, appropriate bowing and greeting in Japanese are inseparable, as with the hand gestures and intonation in Thailand. Picking up on non-verbal cues added a new dimension to my interactions with Thais, as I learned the appropriate bowing of the head and a deep enough wai (palms together) to accompany my greetings.

8. Get emotional!

Emotive experiences often etch impressions onto our memory. Make full use of embarrassing / funny / angry experiences by linking them to the new language.

I learned, quite unfortunately, the importance of the special “ñ” character in Spanish because saying “Tengo 24 anos” instead of “años” meant I told everyone I had 24 anuses rather than being 24 years old.

Needless to say, the embarrassment helped correct my pronunciation for good! Similarly, negotiating with shady cab drivers or nasty vendors also helps you learn numbers rather quickly so you don’t get ripped off.

9. A world of friends / then going solo.

While individual classes can be highly beneficial for unsurpassed attention, group classes with friends can greatly aid learning. Having a friend to practice with helps you get better, and you can also learn from the different mistakes different people make.

On the other hand, venturing out solo in a foreign country forces you to speak with local people–say the person riding next to you on the bus, or standing in line at the market. It also prevents you relying on a friend with stronger language skills to do the talking for you in key exchanges such as asking for directions or buying food.

10. Practice at every opportunity before and after you travel.

Ever felt really “rusty” and lacking confidence in a language despite having taken classes or used it (or even mastered it) at some other time in your life? Languages are alive and require exercise. Find avenues to practice wherever and whenever you can.

For instance, I don’t get to use French very often in my daily life, so I found a French penpal to exchange emails. I also keep in touch with people I met in France and French travelers I met in the course of my travels. Writing in French on FaceBook ( walls does wonders and even helps you learn some local slang!

If you know tips about learning languages, you can post a comment.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Online language exchange

One of the best way to practice a language is to live in the country where the language you learn is spoken. Although, this is neither easy nor cheap.

Thanks to internet, now, there's the chance to practice languages speaking to native speakers via Skype, Msn, chats, e-mails, Facebook...

If you have already visited Babelan, you probably know that you can contact people, make new friends and exchange languages in this community. It is open to any language of the world: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Italian...

From now on, you can follow on Twitter all the messages published on the site from people searching an online language partner.

Online language exchange

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ask a Korean

Those who learn Korean or are interested in this Asian country will find interesting this blog. Ask a Korean answers all the serious questions asked by anyone. Just drop a line by e-mail and you will receive a short answer direct to you and, later, the author will develop a comprehensive answer in the blog.

As stated in the AAK! Policies: "For emails that deserve a post, the Korean gives a short answer to them in a private email, then later writes a longer, more detailed post."

Regarding language learning don't miss the post Learning Korean Language Series Index.

Hence, you can learn more about Korea and its language in:

More about language learning

Monday, September 5, 2011

Russian cuisine

There are many benefits when you learn a foreign language, some of them are:
  • It's an avantage when searching a job.
  • On holidays, it's useful abroad when booking rooms in hotels, ordering meals, etc.
  • Also, you can make new friends and have fun.
  • You will understand and enjoy different cultures.
Regarding culture, you can add gastronomy as part of it. Hence, this time instead of recommending a language web page, this post recommends a cuisine web page. That will help to understand a bit more the Russian culture. is a good taste of Russia for those learning Russian, or even for those who don't learn it. It's got recipes and articles about the most tasty and delicious dishes.

What can you find?

"In our Russian recipes cookbook you'll find a great number of palatable dishes (hors-d'oeuvres, main courses, desserts, beverages etc.) from ancient times to the present. With our help you'll taste and find out tales about the most popular ethnic dishes of Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, Georgian, Armenian and other cuisines. We invite you to keep our company and listen our stories over a cup of tea."

Enjoy your meal.

More about language learning

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Slovak. Online resourses

Here's a list of online resources to learn Slovak:
If you want to know more about this slavic language read this article in the Wikipedia: Slovak language.

If you want to meet people and practice languages such as Slovak visit: Babelan, people learning, practicing or teaching languages.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Russian language: web sites

This is a useful list of web pages for students of Russian.

If you know more, you can post a comment in this post.

A Touch of Russian -

Alphadictionary -

Aula fácil -

Beginning Russian through film -

Engoi -

Goodbye summer -

Learn Russian language -

Learn Russian Online -

Learn Russian the fun way -

Master Russian - -

Russian for everyone -

Russian for free -

Russian Language Mentor -

Russian -

Russificate -

Spoonful of Russian -

Time to speak Russian -

WikiBooks. Russian -


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Learn Japanese Free

Learn Japanese Free is a resource site for those ones who want to learn Japanese from scratch to a proficiency level.

The site offers a comprehensive course divided into lessons (basic & intermediate) and preparation units for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test).

The site gives us the following advice: We have divided our 'Free Learn Japanese' and JLPT course into lessons. Please start from the first Japanese lesson and proceed to the next Japanese lesson only when you have thoroughly understood and learned the previous Japanese lesson.

Words from the author: My view about learning Japanese: I have learned the language and I personally love the language because it has very interesting scripts and the grammar too. I personally believe that if you like the language then it is very easy to learn it. All the Best to all of those who are planning to study Japanese language.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Practica Español

Practica Español is a site intended for those who learn Spanish. The student can practice Spanish reading real news, watching videos, listening to Radio FLE (The Spanish Language Foundation) and doing excercises.

The site has got news and features about Spain and the rest of the world, current affairs, sport, entertainment, travel, health, business, culture, science and gastronomy.

There are also grammar lessons with the most important grammar points of the Spanish language. Here, you can read the grammar explanations and, later, work it with related readings and exercices.

In adition, you can watch Spanish music videos of the most well known groups and singers.

Practica Español is in English, Portuguese, French and Chinese.

What is "Practica Español"?


Friday, June 10, 2011

Vocabulary building

Again, thanks to Twitter I stumbled on an interesting article with learning tips. It tells how to learn and build new vocabulary in the language you are learning. You can read the whole article here: Poligo Guide to Language Part 40: Vocab Building.

Here's a sample of some pieces of advices from the article:

"So, in order to build your vocabulary fast, you should follow this simple recipe:
  1. Increase your daily exposure to the language: listen and read a lot;
  2. Make a note of new words;
  3. Make an effort to sit down and learn the new words.
If you are not learning lots of words at the intermediate level, you are not doing one of these three things. If you are not encountering new words, read and listen more. If you are not remembering the new words you find, sit down and learn them. If you sit down and find that you have no new words to learn, you have skipped number one or number two.

Do not try and choose which words to learn. Learn them all:
  1. If you have met a word in some real-life situation, it is not useless, no matter what you think.
  2. You cannot judge the usefulness of a word by comparing it to your native language.
  3. Even if a word seems useless, it might be very easy to remember, so you might as well learn it.
  4. You also cannot tell, until you learn all of the language, whether a seemingly useless word might not be related to other far more common and useful words. Learn it and you can lay the foundation for learning other things.
  5. It is also sometimes the case, that the sheer absurd uselessness of a word makes it memorable. You might be able to learn it with very little effort.
  6. Even obscure words can show in interesting ways features of the target language that will help you to learn more common words later.
  7. The words learners judge "useless" are almost always words they (and most twelve-year olds) know or at least can understand in their native language: for example, you might be surprised that anyone would know, or want to know, foreign-language words for things like "hippopotamus" or "dolphin", "schizophrenia" and so on. Yet everybody certainly knows all of these words in their native language. Why would you know a word for it in ANY language if it was "useless"?
You should just learn the words that come your way, no matter what, and enjoy them."


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Strategies to learn a foreign language

Learning a foreign language could be easier than you expect. You must work different skills such as reading, writing, speaking and listening. Just attending a class a few hours every week is not enough, you must work every day a bit at home. Obviously, the best way is to live in the country where the target language is spoken. Although, if you do not have the chance, you can improve so much in your home country.

There are some strategies you can follow in order to learn a foreign language properly, although, I strongly believe that the key word you cannot forget is "motivation". The following are some strategies to help you to success. They are useful for any language you wish to learn (English, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Romanian, Vietnamese, French, Korean, Arabic, Hungarian, Polish, Bulgarian...).

1. First of all, be self-confident and strongly believe that you can get it. You know probably that learning a foreign language is hard but it is not impossible.

2. Enjoy yourself. Make the most of the new language, culture and all the things you will learn and the people you will meet.

3. Study every day for short periods of time several times a day. You do not have to do always the same activities. You can do the homework, watch videos, listen to the radio, read a bit, write a friend and brush up vocabulary or grammar points. If you feel a bit bored try listening music in the target language or watching a funny video.

4. Look for native speakers penpals with similar interests. You can use new technologies to practice. Use a chat or e-mail and practice your writing skills, moreover, you can talk with Skype, Yahoo Messenger or Msn and impriove your speaking skills. There are several sites to contact people (e.g., just search for them.

5. Take advantage of all available resources. They are great to broaden your skills:
  • Reading: you can borrow books or newspaper from the library. In internet, there are thousands of pages that you can read in the target language.
  • Listening: the chances are endless, video pages, radio stations, tv, podcasting...
  • Writing: make new friends (penpals) and write them, you can also try building a blog in your target language and write about your hobby, interests or whatever you feel like.
  • Speaking: you can talk online with native speakers.
6. Do the homework. And later you must revise it, only what your teacher has corrected. Do not learn what you do not know it is correct.

7. Buy a small notebook. Write down new vocabulary, phrases, grammatical points, idioms, etc. It is really effective to read articles or books and write down the new words you come across. Later, you can revise them..

8. Do not worry about making mistakes. Your partner or teacher will correct you. In addition, you wil learn from mistakes, everytime you make a mistake you will notice it and improve.

9. Increase the amount of contact you have with the language (e.g. change to the target language on your computer, mobile, e-mail acount, calendar, etc.).

10. The best tip of all is linguistic immersion. If you have a chance, travel to the country of the target language. Study and work there. Or just visit the country for holidays.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Five strategies to better learn... a language

Thanks to Twitter I stumbled on a post called Five Strategies to Better Learn Spanish in It tells some good tips to study Spanish (or any language). Here's those strategies:

Five learning strategies

- The first learning strategy is a simple one, and one that might not appeal to many people. This strategy is simple: Turn off your TV, turn off your radio and find a quiet place to study Spanish with no distractions. It is amazing how many people like to have background music playing when they are learning, unaware of how counter-productive it can be. If you need to have background music, then choose Baroque, and then preferably strings, rather than brass. Baroque music played on strings has actually been shown to be beneficial to learners.

- The second strategy follows on from the first. Don’t slob out on the bed, especially on your front, when you are trying to study Spanish. Sit at a desk or a table, if possible, with a comfortable, but straight-backed chair and make sure your materials are within easy reach. You don’t want to have to break your leaning state over and over again, by having to retrieve items you need from elsewhere, such as a highlighter, or a pen. You can read a book for pleasure while sitting or laying on your couch, but when you need to learn something, such as in this case Spanish language, even though you might be home, you still need to replicate a classroom or a library setting to help you learn faster and more effective.

- Strategy three: You will be amazed how many people approach learning Spanish without first asking themselves why they are learning it and what they want to achieve with it. Having a concrete reason to learn Spanish makes your brain focus more on the task. With learning Spanish this step is vital because it is essentially a brain-oriented task. And if you get bored or bump into an obstacle, your brain will veer off to another world, you will lose your focus and learning Spanish will become a nightmare. So, write down the reason why you’re learning Spanish and what you will accomplish with it, and have it next to you to remind yourself when and if the going gets tough.

- Strategy four: Study the Spanish language for short periods of 20 to 30 minutes each, and take breaks of about 10 minutes in between. It’s a new language and it’s literally a new world to you. Your brain will get overwhelmed pretty fast. Experts have found that our peaks of learning information tend to come at the beginning and the end of a session. In other words, we remember material more easily that we learned in the first few minutes of a session, and the last few minutes. Therefore, creating many beginnings and endings in one learning session would increase the amount of Spanish you are able to take in, and more importantly, recall it later when you need to use it.

- Strategy five: Breathe deeply and relax at your 10 minute breaks and not get on the phone or watch TV. That will break your concentration. Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth a few times, slowly and evenly. This helps prepare you for your next 20 to 30 minute study session.

If you want more hints, read the previous post Ten Commandments for language learning.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Improving listening skills (tip)

As you probably know, internet offers endless chances of improving your listening skills: radio broadcasts, podcasts, videos, films, etc. Although, there are other ways of working your listening skills. The following is a useful tip.

If you have a recording and the text you want to work out, you can upload it to your mobile or mp3 player. Write down the text in your notebook, and search the new words. You can also print out or photocopy it, although it's much better to write it down.

Once you have finished, you can listen to it several times in the underground, in the bus or at home. At the beginning, listen to it reading the text, later do it without the text. This way you'll improve your listening skills and broaden your vocabulary.

Those who learn English, for instance, can work this way with Words in the News from the BBC Learning English. If you have the CD from a learning book, you can also work this way.

If you know more tips to improve your language skills, please leave a comment.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Learn Serbian

Learn Serbian is a blog with lessons of Serbian (by Marina Petrovic). You'll mainly find short videos (and exercises) with different topics about the language. Also, Marina tells tips about the language and some useful links for learning Serbian.

Many lessons are fun and display real videos from tv or music clips. Here's an example, learning numbers with an hilarious gag about inflation: Practise Numbers in Serbian - Listening Exercise.

In her 'intro lesson' she advices:

I believe that the easiest way to learn a language is to be relaxed and eager to learn. Your actual feelings towards language learned will depend on your teacher and surroundings, to their attitude and their feelings - you will be just their mirror.

Therefore, I would suggest you learn bit by bit - small chunks of language, incorporated in short and easy to memorize sentences. Therefore, you will be able to repeat these simple things and motivate yourself by your own success.

Do not worry about the pronunciation. The aim is to say a word clearly enough, so that people understand you. That is an achievement in itself. In the course of time, your ears will get accustomed to Serbian, and thus, your pronunciation is going to improve. So pls, don't worry about difficult sounds like š, ž, ć, č, đ will come in time :)


Monday, April 18, 2011

Learn English with jokes

Sometimes, language lessons are not really motivating and boring. offers materials for teachers and students to learn English in a fun way. All the materials are focus on jokes. They are classified in different levels: elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper intermediate / advanced. Every joke comes with grammar points, vocabulary and exercises.

Welcome to

This is a website of free English Language Teaching materials for teachers and students. Jokes written in graded English are followed by grammar and vocabulary exercises.

Teachers: print out the jokes and language exercises to use with your classes.

Students: work through the jokes on screen, or print them out to make your own self-study book.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Ten reasons to learn Russian

Master Russian is a comprehensive site for students of Russian. It's got several resources such as lessons, videos, tips, links, etc. An interesting article in the page is Ten reasons to learn Russian. It talks about the different reasons to learn Russian as a foreign language. Here's this article:

Ten Reasons to Learn Russian

You might already have your own good reasons for learning Russian. Perhaps you like the sound of the Russian accent, or admire the Russian ballet and literature, or want to get a Russian girlfriend or meet your prince charming. Maybe you plan to do business in Russia or simply want to visit Moscow as a tourist. Just in case you are still wondering about the benefits of learning Russian, here are ten great reasons to get started.

1 You are passionate about Russian classical literature and dream to read the works of Russian classics in the original.

Talented Russian writers - Bunin, Chekhov, Pushkin - are authors of amazingly interesting literary works. The famous writings of Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Nikolai Gogol convey the essence of the Russian soul. However, the Russian culture is known not only for its writers. Many brilliant musicians and singers such like Oistrakh, Chaliapin, Tchaikovsky, and dozens others also came from Russia. The glory of Russian ballet and its stars Anna Pavlova, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Rudolf Nureyev does not subside even today. Russian cultural heritage is widely known throughout the world and knowledge of the Russian language is a must to fully enjoy and understand it.

2 You have heard a lot about the beauty and modesty of Russian women and want to find your destiny in Russia.

The amazing and mysterious Russian women have been the Muses of many great artists and writers. People have told legends about the beauty of Russian women, while the traditions and peculiarities of Russian upbringing shape their noble and modest character. Russian women make wonderful hosts and place great importance on family values. Many men from different countries of the world dream of having a Russian woman as a wife. Therefore, besides learning the language of love, it would be perfect to master the native language of your future "second half".

3 You are aware of Russia’s lucrative investment opportunities and consider establishing a company in Russia.

If you are going on a business trip to Russia, you want to be prepared to communicate with your Russian business partners. Russian entrepreneurs are well-versed in international economics and willingly establish business relationships with partners from abroad. Russia is adequately represented in the international arena. Due to the size of the country and its natural resources, the Russian market is of great interest to foreign businessmen. And serious business requires a serious approach - the knowledge of the Russian language is a must for efficient communication with your new business partners.

4 You are an ambitious traveller and Russia is the next stop on your travel list.

Many foreigners have set to travel across Russia at various times. Russia is a fascinating and exotic country. It occupies a vast territory offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy resort towns with spectacular beaches, experience the taiga with its diverse wildlife and unexplored places, visit the Russian Far East where the sun rises while people in the Western parts of the country are still fast asleep. There is so much to see and do in Russia, and speaking a little Russian will help you to meet all sorts of fascinating people and make the most of every moment.

5 You know that life in Russia is very different from life in the West. You are interested in everything connected with the Russian way of life, habits and mentality.

Life in Russia is not quite the same as in the Western world. Everything from upbringing of children to family values to friends and relationships has its own flavor in Russia. The system of education (kindergartens, schools), health services, and work of various official organizations – all this is often radically different from what is common for the Western Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. You will find it much easier to quench your thirst to all things Russian if you can speak and understand the Russian language.

6 You like to meet new people from around the globe but don’t have enough knowledge of the language to talk to your Russian friends. Your Russian friends will certainly be very pleased if you can understand them better.

The latest advances in technology have opened limitless opportunities for communication. The distance is no longer a barrier. In just a few hours, anybody with a computer and Internet connection can make dozens new friends with similar interests from around the world. Russian Internet users are actively exploring the virtual space – run personal blogs, post Twitter updates, connect with people via numerous social networks, and gain new knowledge about other countries of the world. In Russian schools, English is taught starting from the elementary grades, therefore most Russians can understand a few English phrases and express simple ideas in English. So why not learn a little bit of Russian? After all, it’s much easier and more interesting to communicate with friends from abroad if you can understand the language of each other.

7 Russian language is the most widely spoken among Slavic languages. You should certainly learn it – there are about 300 million total speakers of Russian in the world.

Russian became one of the languages of world communication – a global language – as early as in the twentieth century. Today, there are less than ten global languages in the world. This means that the Russian language – just like English, French or German – is used for communication by a very large number of people around the globe. In addition, Russian is one of the official UN languages. Out of approximately 300 million people in the world who know Russian, 160 million people consider it to be their native language. The Russian language is ranked the fifth most prevalent language in the world.

8 You are seriously interested in history of Russia. The knowledge of the Russian language is required for you to work with archival documents.

The historical past of Russia is of great importance for understanding the World history. In fact, Russia played crucial role in the development of the world during the past several centuries. The Russian authorities have recently opened access to a variety of archives storing many invaluable documents. These materials enable researchers to look into the past and understand the reasons behind many global events. However, the study of these documents is only possible if you understand Russian. Want to better know the history of Russia and the world? Start learning Russian!

9 You plan to adopt a child from Russia.

International adoption of children from Russia became possible in the early 1990’s. Since that time, Russia has been one of the top sending countries. Today, there is an estimated 750,000 children living in baby homes and orphanages in Russia. They dream about a new family, a cozy house, and affection of mother and father. And some adults find that it’s in their power to give the child a miracle and make him or her happy. If you are planning to adopt a child from Russia, you should start learning Russian now. Many adoptive families agree that it’s important to know more than just “yes” and “no” in Russian.

10 You have a lot of free time. Why not learn a foreign language like Russian? Especially when it has such an unusual and original sound for native English speakers.

Every person should strive to develop and improve. A wise man will always find it interesting to make new discoveries and master new knowledge. It is believed that the more languages a person knows the more intelligent and educated he or she becomes. Learning the Russian language should be twice as interesting because it is very challenging to learn and many native English speakers find Russian accent to be unusual and beautiful.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Ten Commandments for language learning

Kató Lomb was a Hungarian interpreter, translator, language genius and one of the first simultaneous interpreters in the world. She spoke 17 different languages. And she suggested the Ten Commandments for language learning. They're really interesting, so do not miss out on them:

I. Spend time tinkering with the language every day—if there is no more time available, then at least to the extent of a ten-minute monologue. Morning hours are especially valuable in this respect: the early bird catches the word!

II. If your enthusiasm for studying flags too quickly, don’t force the issue but don’t stop altogether either. Move to some other form of studying, e.g., instead of reading, listen to the radio; instead of assignment writing, poke about in the dictionary, etc.

III. Never learn isolated units of speech, but rather learn words and grammatical elements in context.

IV. Write phrases in the margins of your text and use them as ‘prefabricated elements’ in your conversations.

V. Even a tired brain finds rest and relaxation in quick, impromptu translations of billboard advertisements flashing by, of numbers over doorways, of snippets of overheard conversations, etc., just for its own amusement.

VI. Memorize only that which has been corrected by a teacher. Do not keep reading texts you have written that have not been proofread and corrected so as to keep mistakes from taking root in your mind. If you study on your own, each segment to be memorized should be kept to a size that precludes the possibility of errors.

VII. Always memorize idiomatic expressions in the first person singular. For example, ‘I am only pulling your leg.’ Or else: ‘Il m’a pose un lapin’—‘He stood me up.’

VIII. A foreign language is a castle. It is advisable to attack it on all fronts at once: via newspapers, the radio, un-dubbed movies, technical or scientific articles, textbooks, or via a visitor at your neighbor’s.

IX. Do not let the fear of making mistakes keep you from speaking, but do ask your conversation partner to correct you. Most importantly, don’t get peeved if he or she actually obliges you—a remote possibility, anyway.

X. Be firmly convinced that you are a linguistic genius. If the facts demonstrate otherwise, heap blame on the pesky language you aim to master, on the dictionaries, or on this little book, not on yourself.”

Language exchange online

- Meet people and exchange languages

Friday, March 18, 2011

What are the hardest languages to learn?

This is a list of easy and difficult foreign languages for English native speakers. The time it takes to learn a language depends on a number of factors. You can see these factors and the list of languages in the following image.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Language schools of Russian

If you are thinking of learning Russian in a summer course, you can start searching from here. The following is a list of languages Schools in Eastern Europe where you can learn Russian in the summer.

This is not a list of the best ones, just a list of schools that you can find, a sample. First of all, compare them and ask for further information about their courses, prices, dates, accommodation, etc. You can also search and find more in internet.

Below, you'll also find a list of 'course finders' for different countries such as Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine. And some related links.


St. Petersburg
- Saint Petersburg School
- ProBa Language Centre
- Extra Class, language center
- Saint Petersburg Politechnic State University
- European School
- Derzhavin Institute
- Glory School

- Liden & Denz
- Center for International Education
- Moscow State University
- Pushkin Institute

Volgograd & St. Petersburg
- Language Link

- "PRIVET!" - School
- Ziegler & Partner

- Talisman
- Ural State University

- Exlinguo

Petrozavodsk (Karelia)
- Enjoy Russian


- Pushkin Institute
- Tallinn University, Summer school
- Language School Bellnor

- Estonia - Dialoog School


- European School of Russian


- Minsk State Linguistic University
- Belarus State Economic University


- Nova Mova International Language School

Course finders

- Language Course finder (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and Ukraine)
- Russian Language Programs in Russia
- Russian and Ukrainian Language Programs in Ukraine

Related posts

- Learn Russian with Alla's videos
- RusskogoYazyka, a collection of Russian videos
- Russian Language Podcast

Language exchange online

- Meet people and exchange languages

Thursday, January 27, 2011

English as a Second Language. Web pages

This is a list of web sites to help you to improve your English skills. If you know more just post a comment. Moreover, you can find native speakers, make new friends and practice English in Babelan (language exchange).

5 minute English -
Sherton English -
Aprender Ingles Blog -
BBC Learning English -
Bon's tips -
Dave's ESL Cafe -
El blog del inglés -
El Inglés que tu ya Sabes -
Habla mejor inglés -
Everyday English for Children -
La Mansión del Inglés -
Learn English -
Learn English with the Beatles -
OM Personal Multimedia -
Special English -
Storynory -
Subinglés -
The yellow pencil -

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sit back... Watch... Learn (Learn a language on YouTube)

Sit back... Watch... Learn (Learn a language on YouTube) is a blog with a colection of youtube videos focused in learning foreign languages. In fact, it's a compilation of a different channels that you can find in Youtube to help you to learn languages.

The blog currently has posted video channels to learn Arabic, Chinese, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Maori, Old English, Portuguese, Sign Language, Swedish and Welsh.

Moreover, the blog recommends other sites with language activities, listening materials, grammar tutorials, reading handouts, etc. This blog is a comprehensive source of online language learning resources.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Listening to radio in Russian

In a previous post, Learning foreign languages: listening skills, you can find some tips about how important is to listen the language you are learning. If you study Russian, and you want to improve your listening skills, you can find several radio stations in Russian Radio.

Russian Radio has got a list of stations broadcasting in Russian which can be listened in internet. There are two groups of radio stations:
  • Radio Stations in Russia with local stations, e.g. Echo of Moscow, Jazznet Radio (Krasnoyarsk), Russkoe Radio (Moscow & N.Novgorod), Uniton Radio (Novosibirsk), VBC Radio (Vladivostok) or Voice of Russia (Moscow).
  • Radio Stations outside of Russia, e.g. Detskoe Radio (Chicago, USA), SWH+ (Riga), Voice of America (USA), Prague Radio (Czech Rep.) or Canada International (Canada).
There are more radio stations outside of Russia which broadcast in Russian and they are not in the list:


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where to get books in English in Barcelona

Nowadays, it's not difficult to get books in foreign languages. You can buy books in an online bookshop.

Although, if you are in Barcelona (Spain), there are some bookshops that offer books in English and, also, learning material.

Here's a list of bookshops in Barcelona. If you know more bookshops with foreign languages books in Barcelona or in another city, you can leave a comment.

Hibernian Books
Second hand books in English and a small selection of new books. You can find a few ones in other languages such as Italian or German.
C. Montseny 17
+34 93 2174796

BCN Books bookshop
Focus on learning material, although, it's got other books in English. Three shops:
C. Roger de Llúria, 118
C. Amigó, 81
C. Riera d'Horta, 32
+34 93 4763343

Libreria Anglesa Come In
Learning material plus a good range of other sort of books in English.
C. Balmes, 129 bis
+34 93 453 12 04 / +34 93 453 18 06

Alibri Llibreria
It's got some foreign languages learning material: English, French, German or Russian.
C. Balmes, 26
+34 93 3170578

Fnac Barcelona
Books in English and learning material.
Plaza Catalunya, 4
+34 93 3441800

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