Well, of course, it is. But not literally.

If you look up “name” and “my” in the dictionary, you’ll get “имя” and “мой”. So, you can translate “My name is Anastasia” as “Моё имя Анастасия”. It is technically right… except that we never use this phrase in spoken language.

We use “Меня зовут Анастасия”, which means something slightly different.

So, why care about the literal meaning of “меня зовут”? After all, you can just memorize this phrase and start using it! It’s enough to get by.

Of course, you can.

But if you know the pattern and can decode it, you get additional benefits over someone who just memorized the phrase from his CD. You’ll be at least 3 steps ahead.

Let’s see what you can get if you dig deeper!  Continue reading


I was at my friend’s when her daughter Lisa told me:

“My English grades are poor because I’m just not talented at languages!”

I felt sad. She’s just 10 and has already given learning languages up as a lost cause. If only she knew what she’s gonna miss out on…

But no wonder, if even teachers think like that. I used to think in these terms too.

Sometimes learners of Russian feel they are not talented (enough).

It’s harmful because it makes people unhappy about themselves and their progress and they often quit.

Let me tell you 4 real life stories (including my story of learning English) and debunk the 4 dangerous talent myths. You’ll see that talent is irrelevant for success (and what is).

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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


You have a dream: an adventure, a discovery of the Russian speaking world, a deep connection with a local. They probably don’t even speak much English. So you’ll need to speak Russian at intermediate level at least.

Yet you keep hearing how hard Russian is. Maybe you’ve already experienced it firsthand and are wondering – how much harder can it get?

Ok, you’re always up for a challenge. But you don’t want to spend 10 years of your life learning a language.

So you are not sure if it’s all worth it. Is it doable at all?

Let’s sort it out.

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People often want to learn Russian the fun and easy way. This is the promise that many language learning apps and language schools give.

It sounds attractive: most people prefer enjoying over suffering.

But the problem is… this promise is misleading and, if you’re ambitious, you may not get the results you want.

Let’s see why (and how to change that).

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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?

If you’re reading this blog, probably you want:
  • to be able to clearly express your thoughts in Russian, even the complex ones, and come across as a smart and educated person;
  • to learn Russian as quickly as possible and start using it soon, not after 10 years of study!

…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.

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Is fear of making mistakes keeping you silent?

You can’t say much in Russian yet and at the same time you are dying to approach native speakers, speak and connect. But your fear stops you. What if they think you’re weird?

Sometimes you don’t even allow yourself to open your mouth. Or you restrain from speaking much because your Russian is not flawless.

And you know what? That’s so human. Many Russian learners feel the same.

In fact, as a recovering perfectionist, I know that feeling too. That’s the reason I didn’t blog for such a long time. I was comparing myself to great bloggers and thinking that my writing was “not good enough”.

If you don’t fight with it, perfectionism can silence you, prevent you from learning and growing your skills.

The following is what I’ve learned while working on my perfectionism. I hope it will help you too.

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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.

Continue reading