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Tips on how to learn the cyrillic alphabet?


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So, I am going to Russia this summer and as I always do, I try to learn a bit of the native language so I can A: help myself get along when there is a language barrier and B: try to talk to people and make an ass out of myself. My mother tongue is Swedish and I have fiddled around with latin languages, slavic languages are new to me. I need to start in the starting blocks, the alphabet. I watched a couple of videos but I would like to hear tips on what made it easy for other people (you). Did you you use a specific process, app, video or just some little mind game that worked out for you? I definetly think I need to know the alphabet and not just learn a few phrases by how they sound. What good is it knowing what subway stop you are going to if you can't read the signs? 

For me, music has been helpful in language learning. I learned German by listening to german music with printed translations. When I learned a bit of Spanish I used Fluentu and they use plenty of kid's music in their videos which is awesome. Simple melodies that stick, simple wording that you can learn. Movies in the target language with subtitles in my mother tongue or English (actually I prefer English) are very helpful. I also drew my own corny flashcards which helped, it is a bit of work but it is quite good for me. 

So that is my starting point: How should I start handling the cyrillic alphabet? It seems difficult now but I have to attack from some angle.......

Edit: Come to think of it: suitable flashcards that one can print out would be great for this task. In south America I would stuff my flashcards in my pocket and rehearse whenever I was waiting for my food or whatever. In my opinion, physical cards trumps the smartphone any day. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, Ideas I have, or at least previous experiences. I haven't actually dived into something yet but I am interested in some good visual flashcard stuff to start out with. Any tips? You know, the super-obvious stuff like "A" and a picture of the corresponding letter along with a guy who drops an anvil on his foot and goes "aaAAAAAAAH!".

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Just use Duolingo, Memrise or some other app for it. Check out some youtube videos and practice by reading some texts. It's not that hard, the letters are very similar to the Roman alphabet.

+ I just spent a couple of months in Saint Petersburg and all the metro stations also have the station names written in Roman letters + the metro is very easy and simple to use there anyway. I still mix up some of the S-sounds though + it's impossible to know when they pronounce O as an A (like the last letter in Спасибо = thank you, is pronounced as A). 

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6 hours ago, codardia said:

it's impossible to know when they pronounce O as an A 

It is possible to know. You need to memorize and apply this vowel declension rule until it becomes second nature:

  • Vowels ‘а’ and ‘о’ are pronounced [a] either in initial position or 1 syllable before stress. Otherwise they reduce to “schwa” [ə].

The other one you'll eventually need, if you aren't using it yet, is:

  • Unstressed vowels ‘e’ and ‘я’ (and ‘a’ after ‘ч, щ’) are pronounced [ə] in final position and [йи] if word-initial. Otherwise they reduce to [и].
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On 1/7/2018 at 6:03 PM, codardia said:

** impossible for my lazy brain

Good to know this stuff, it was driving me insane and one Russian speaker told me that there are no rules for this stuff so I never bothered to look more into it (:

I will try my best to learn the rules, if there are any. In Swedish there are some things that learners have to just memorize as they go along because there are rules that don't apply all the time, you have random exceptions. Any randomness in Russian I will simply look past, just like you. :) In my mind being able to communicate is the main priority and making it all sound right is always second. 

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  • 2 months later...

A murderous workload kept me confined to the transportation route Workplace - Bed - Workplace for a while but now I am back at it. I was doing memrise for a while and now I am trying to get back into it, I have to say though that the mems available are quite crappy.  I started making my own flash cards but it is time-consuming and a bit of a hassle. I do enjoy how the Memrise website is built up and how it works but I would really like some high-quality mems, anyone has a source or maybe their own ones that they can share? 

I am determined to learn the alphabet first before I go into other stuff and although I have some background in language learning I never had to master a new alphabet, I need some help here... 

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  • 2 weeks later...
6 hours ago, Colorblend said:

Well, that seems to be spam....... Reported.

As the thread topic goes, any good cyrillic-alphabet mems out there? I respond well to the mem-based learning style but sitting down and thinking up your own and putting them in print takes forever.....

thank you Colorblend. yea, that is indeed spam. usually when people color their messages it is always spam :=)

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