I love learning languages and have spent the last five years studying French, German and Russian.

Today, I want to take a look at the excellent language starter “Teach Yourself Beginner’s Russian” by Rachel Farmer (updated 2003). A further update has taken place since, but much of the course remains the same.

The 2003 course consists of two CDs and a book. The pace is manageable (using the CD helps), and the tone light.

The course offers a wide depth of vocabulary over twenty lessons and limits its coverage of Russian grammar to a minimum—generally acknowledged as extremely difficult, anyway.

The book introduces the Cyrillic alphabet and includes both reading and writing exercises. Difficulty increases as the material progresses.

I feel the course takes the student to somewhere in between A2 and B1 of the Common European Framework for languages (CEFR).

The level of grammar required for B1 is missing; however, the vocabulary enables the student to cope in many situations that might arise whilst travelling in a Russian-speaking country.

As for me, I startled a local barmaid from Latvia recently by speaking in Russian and she told me that my command of the Russian language is good.

I’ve had several other conversations in Russian with various people and received positive feedback. The course has certainly helped. I’m also diving into various other sources and attempting to move from basic conversation to more cultural and historical themes.

So in all, an excellent course, affordable, and available from many places, including Amazon.

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