Is this for me?
Intermediate and Advanced students of Russian benefit most from working with the episodes of Learn Russian Conversation. Here is a general description of these levels.
You have worked through a textbook or perhaps even several of them.
You have a firm grasp of the grammatical and syntactical structures of the Russian language. Your active vocabulary in various everyday and societal topics reaches up to 2,250 words. You watch Russian movies and television news reports. You have possibly practiced your spoken Russian in real life situations or with a native speaker as your speaking partner.
You’re ready to sail in the open waters of the Russian language and you need the right material to practice regularly and enjoy your skills.
You mastered the basic grammatical and syntactical structures of the Russian language. You have an active vocabulary between 1,500 to 2,000 words. You can read short stories and possibly short newspaper articles. You’ve started watching television news reports. You have possibly practiced your spoken Russian in real life situations.
You have studied Russian for many months and maybe even years. Simple dialogues from the textbook are no longer interesting, but the fluent Russian talk still escapes you.
You have built your foundation and you are ready to go further.
What about Beginners?
Of course, Beginners are most welcome to try the episodes out. In fact, one of many strategies to learn the language is to plunge into the language environment. However, you might find it overwhelming. If this is your first contact with Russian, we recommend that you will first learn how to read. Russian is written with the Cyrillic alphabet and knowing it is essential. Come back after taking a basic Russian course and learning the Russian cases.
If you want to give it a try, you can work with the episodes that are accompanied with FREE sample transcripts.
Take it easy. Work in small chunks. Don’t overdo it. A paragraph or even several sentences a day can get you much further if you do it regularly.
What podcast episodes give you
You will get the opportunity to test your knowledge and discover how much you already understand. And you will also find out what you have to focus on.
You will get more than the recordings of small talk. You will learn how to keep the conversation going for much longer than two or three minutes. You will see that in Russian even a small talk often turns into a serious conversation or even a debate.
You will see how the conversation is born and develops out of everyday things; how Russian native speakers look for words and phrases; how space fillers give them time to think; and how they interact and interrupt each other.
You will get access to a wide variety of topics. You will surely find something that resonates with you. It is easy to learn the language and participate in the conversation when you are interested in the subject.
You will develop a sense of Russian, you will get used to sounds, intonations, and the pace of Russian language. You will be able to understand the message even if some words are not familiar to you.
By following our podcast, you will develop a habit of listening to modern Russian conversations every day. The habit of listening will soon turn into the habit of understanding.
What episode transcripts give you
You will be able to understand what was said in the audio and you will find the words that you always wanted to know. You will discover the mechanics of Russian conversation and how spoken language is different from its written version. We don’t speak the way we write. There are patterns of how Russian native speakers break some rules.
A live conversation is fleeting, the printed text is not. You have to replay the audio file several times if you want to catch a phrase, a verb, or a preposition. The text is always there for you. It stays, so you can work with it as long as you want and as slowly or as fast as you find it necessary.
How to listen with transcripts
For Beginner Level
You can pick any strategy for Intermediate and Advanced levels. Do it in bites, for 10-15 minutes. Pause for a day or two. Revisit what you’ve learned. Keep going.
For Intermediate and Advanced Levels
The simplest way of working with transcripts is to listen to the audio and read the text at the same time. You will be amazed at how much more you understand. You will also spontaneously improve your pronunciation.
In each episode, pick a couple of words that you want to take with you. Look at their spelling and look at the words that are connected to them. Phrases are easy to remember, single words are not. Play the sentences, repeat aloud, parroting the intonation. Connect your chosen words with the topic. Think about the situation in which you might possibly use them in the immediate future.
For Intermediate Level
You can work with the transcript first, then listen to the episode. This will help you to grasp the conversation that goes faster than you can follow at the Intermediate level. You can come back to the transcript and revisit the text.
Feel free to try some Advanced level strategies too.
For Advanced Level
Listen to the audio first without stopping it. Focus on the ideas and the intonation, skip the unfamiliar words. Listen for the second time. You can do it right away or you can come back to the episode in a day or two. Stop the audio once in a while. Think about what you might want to say on the subject, agree or disagree with what you can hear in the dialogue.
As you progress, you will find that you understand more and more. Try to write your own transcripts – one or two paragraphs – without looking into the text. Then compare what you wrote with the transcript on the website. How much did you get right?
When native speakers talk, they make mistakes and break rules. But not any mistakes. And there are patterns of how they break rules. Use the transcript to analyze the AUTHENTIC spoken Russian. How are the sentences different from what you can see in the textbook or in the fiction books?