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Once, an adult student asked me whether they needed to learn the alphabet right at the beginning of their language-learning journey and where to start in general. They wondered if it was possible to skip learning the alphabet altogether. My response was simple. I explained that while learning the alphabet can be beneficial, it’s not an absolute requirement to kickstart your language-learning adventure. It’s more about building a foundation, focusing on practical communication skills, and gradually incorporating the alphabet into the process.

Many beginners in learning Russian face the question: should you start by fully memorizing the alphabet? In reality, there’s no need to memorize the entire alphabet from the get-go before delving into Russian language learning.

Initially, it’s essential to get acquainted with the alphabet and understand each letter and its pronunciation. Learn all the letters and sounds, and that’s sufficient to begin. In the early lessons, you usually start by learning individual letters, like “АБВ,” and then put them together into syllables, mastering their correct pronunciation. You then progress to reading simple words and phrases.

Subsequent lessons introduce a few more new letters, along with various tasks like counting in Russian and learning basic introductions. In just 11 lessons, you’ll not only learn all the Russian alphabet’s letters and sounds but also acquire the ability to combine them into syllables and read.

Afterward, once you’ve grasped the fundamentals of the language, you revisit the alphabet. The great news is that, by this point, you already know it by heart, and this happens naturally, without unnecessary stress. You continue to explore and enhance other aspects of the language, including conversing in Russian.

Of course, if you feel ready and eager to memorize the alphabet right from the start, there’s nothing stopping you. However, it’s not a necessity, and it’s important to remember that language learning should be a comfortable and engaging process. There’s no need for rote memorization. Instead, you naturally acquire reading, writing, language rule application, and proper word pronunciation skills.

In just three months, my student from Poland was able to hold conversations, write, and read in Russian, and, of course, now knows the alphabet. The key is to make learning interesting and not overly complex!


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