If you want learn to read Russian, then you have to learn how to read Russian as well. The Russian alphabet is the Cyrillic alphabet, which has 33 letters as opposed to the 26 that you find in the Latin alphabet. As with the alphabet you're likely already familiar with, Cyrillic has both hard vowels and soft vowels. Many of the letters that you will read are actually similar to your own alphabet, which can make the process of learning quicker than you may have imagined.
So what are the benefits of learning to read Russian quickly?
- Phrasebooks: By learning to read the language, you can also rely on phrasebooks, or phone apps that have a database of Russian phrases for you to use. This can be an easy reference if you forget a term or need to look one up.
- Newspapers and literature: Reading these can be a very strong way to improve your Russian, and it can also help you to better understand Russian culture. Culture and language go hand in hand. Basic news reports and literature can both provide context to the language.
- Examinations: Simply put, to pass any examination of the Russian language, you will need to be able to read the alphabet as well.
- Signs: When traveling in Russia or Ukraine, you will need to be able to read Cyrillic script to know where your hotel is, which directions you should take when driving, and other important information.
To practice Russian and learn to read quickly, you would need to understand the alphabet.
The Cyrillic Alphabet
Below, you will find the Cyrillic alphabet, along with approximate pronunciations in English.
- А – A
- Б – Be
- В – Ve
- Г – Ge
- Д – De
- Е – Ye
- Ё – Yo
- Ж – Zhe
- З – Ze
- И – Ee
- Й – Ee ( Short “i”, such as the y in “toy”)
- К – Ka
- Л – El
- М – Em
- Н – En
- О – O
- П – Pe
- Р – Er
- С – Es
- Т – Te
- У – Oo
- Ф – Ef
- Х – Kha
- Ц – Tse
- Ч – Che
- Ш – Sha
- ъ – (Hard sign, no sound. Pronounced “Tviordiy znak”)
- ы – Ih
- ь – (Soft sign, no sound. Pronounced “Myagkiy znak”)
- Э – E
- Ю – Yoo
- Я – Ya
Books to Learn Russian:
There are many great books to learn Russian phrases, practice your vocabulary, and even learn more about Russian history and culture, including:
- Russian For Dummies (2nd Edition)
( ISBN-13: 978-1118127698 ISBN-10: 1118127692 )
- The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners
( ISBN-13: 978-0140120417 ISBN-10: 0140120416 )
- Russian for Beginners: The Best Handbook for learning to speak Russian!
( ISBN-10: 1329641957 ISBN-13: 978-1329641952 )