So you’re enthusiastic about learning Russian. You’re a high achiever. And you want to learn Russian ASAP. (I understand that!)
You start working hard and try to memorize anything you can find. Or anything that comes up in a conversation.
But then you realize that you don’t use the most of it and forget a lot. You feel overwhelmed. If you force yourself to use and revise what you learned, it still doesn’t work very well – it’s just too much!
At the same time, you become unhappy. Sometimes you feel like you’re being oppressed by a dictator (that critical voice in your head). It seems you’re progressing slowly. But worst of all, remain that way, and you risk burnout.
No, it’s not bad memory or lack of talent. It’s lack of priorities!
Let’s see why more is not always better and how to pick your learning targets so they work for you instead of you working for nothing. Continue reading
Some people say:
“If your goal is communication, throw out your grammar books and dive into speaking!”
Grammar is not sexy. Yet it’s a topic that causes hot discussions on the Internet.
Does learning grammar impede or boost your progress at speaking Russian?
…and you’d prefer not to stuff your brain with endless memorized rules and other abstract linguistic information. Right?
So, does learning grammar fit into this picture or is it better to avoid it by all means?
I’d say, it can be both – depends on how you approach it!
Read on to find out how learning Russian grammar can destroy or boost your speaking and what may happen if you ignore grammar.
In fact, it’s not a goal. It’s a dream.
Not meaning it’s impossible. But you are making it harder for yourself to reach your goal if you describe it as “conversational Russian”.
Let me explain why I think so and what you can do to make your dream a reality.
Speech tempo is a tricky thing that depends on many factors.
For example, on your personality: some people are calmer and speak a bit slower naturally, and that’s not really a problem.
Also, novice Russian learners always speak slower than learners with an advanced level of Russian: everything is new for them and they are just starting to get used to Russian pronunciation, new vocabulary and new ways to express things. Even easy phrases are not so easy for a newcomer. Even saying “здравствуйте” can be challenging.
So this is often not a problem to be solved, it’s rather a natural characteristic of the beginning stage. If all your language skills develop in balance, the more speaking experience you have and the more your level grows, the faster your speaking tempo will be. (Have a look at my free e-guide Beginner Russian Grammar and Speaking Roadmap if you’re unsure as to what to expect.)
However, no matter what your Russian level is, if you speak too slowly because you keep thinking about grammar rules that you’ve learned and it takes you forever to say a sentence, this might be a problem.
If you’ve ever thought anything like this:
“I wish I was able to use Russian grammar more quickly when I speak”
“I’d like to have more automatic use of correct cases and verb tenses”
then read on, and you’re going to find out why you speak slower than you wish you did and how to change that.