Russian Language Challenge Update: First Month

I wanted to check in for my Russian Language Challenge and let you know about my progress. I began the challenge in mid-December with plans to focus on reestablishing my vocabulary.

When entering the challenge, I envisioned Learning with Texts being the cornerstone of building my vocabulary in this early phase. While still extremely helpful, I think that using Memrise has taken the lead in reviving my vocabulary and has even taken it to a new level. LWT has become a great way to get a feel for Russian grammar while not strictly learning grammar.

What’s Working

For the early stages, Memrise was immensely helpful in learning vocabulary. What makes Memrise good is through a use of mnemonics, which are provided by the community of learners, as well as scheduled repetition based on your prior performance. Read more about how Memrise works.

What’s Not Working

Anki is difficult for me to keep up with. It would be more helpful if I weren’t trying to use it on my iPhone and iPad – it’s a paid app on iOS. They do offer an alternative of using AnkiWeb, which can be great. However, my best time to study is while I’m on the CTA Red Line in Chicago, where 3G is nearly useless.

What I Didn’t Expect

To be reading so much about how to learn languages, success stories, and other encouraging material. I find that I need to read an inspirational language learning story at least once or twice a week. My personal favorite blog to find such material is Fluent in 3 Months, but a quick search will find you plenty more. If you’d prefer, making a language learning buddy on something like italki could also work for you.

What’s Next

This first phase has me feeling like I have my vocabulary back on track, so I will be shifting my focus a bit. I have just started reading bite-sized chunks on grammar, and practicing writing simple, but complete sentences. I plan to write more notebook entries on italki and begin to speak with Lena at home. As usual, I will be asking a lot of questions.

I will continue to use Learning with Texts, Memrise to a lesser degree, and move more into the speaking portion of my challenge.

Are you working on your own language challenge? What’s working best for you?

  • aaronogan

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