Beyond Grammar

  When I teach a beginning class, I like to ask students why they are there. What led them to choose this language? What are their goals? And I don’t think anyone has ever said, “To learn about the genitive plural.” Of course, grammar is...

When Consonants Influence Vowels

Have your Russian courses given much time to pronunciation? In my experience, beginning Russian courses spend some time on the basics like hard vs. soft consonants, reduction of unstressed vowels, and voicing. After that, it's all we can do to manage case endings,...

Retrieval Practice: a Key to Success with Russian?

What's your favorite study method for new vocabulary or other material? Flashcards? Reviewing the book? Copying out word lists? I'm working on a project that takes a different approach, and I'd love to get your comments on it. A little background: in preparation for a...

Forgotten Words, Unpaired Opposites

Можно.. нельзя.. льзя?? You may have learned the words можно (‘permitted, allowed, may’) and, as its opposite, нельзя – ‘not allowed, not permitted, forbidden.’ Have you ever wondered why the opposite of нельзя isn’t just…...

Mnemonics: an Essential Memory Trick

Дорогие друзья, Russian is a beautiful, subtle, expressive language, but it can be challenging. So on this blog I’ll be sharing my favorite tips, gathered over my 30 years of studying Russian and 15 years teaching the language. Today’s topic is mnemonics:...