My name is Natasha and I’m a qualified Russian teacher and native speaker.
Usually I teach Russian to English-speaking people, so I would like to share with you some common challenges and mistakes in learning Russian. I know that a lot of people think that Russian is too difficult to learn, but I think it’s not as difficult as some people say. There are, however, some points that are hard to understand or learn, but I believe that this guide will help you avoid many mistakes and improve your Russian language skills.
Russian verbs are conjugated differently than English verbs, and change their forms according to their gender, number, time and case. In English this phenomenon is also present but is very limited in its usage. In the Russian language there are 1st and 2nd conjugations which have different endings.
|For example:||Ending -ть /||Ending -ить /||Ending -ать /|
|Conjugation 1||Conjugation 2||Conjugation 2|
|to know||to walk||to hear||знать||говорить||слышать|
|I know||I speak||I hear||Я знаю||Я говорю||Я слышу|
|You know||You speak||You hear||Ты знаешь||Ты говоришь||Ты слышишь|
|He/She/It knows||He/She/It speaks||He/She/It hears||Он/Она/Оно знает||Он/Она/Оно говорит||Он/Она/Оно слышит|
|We know||We speak||We hear||Мы знаем||Мы говорим||Мы слышим|
|You know (plural)||You speak (plural)||You hear (plural)||Вы знаете||Вы говорите||Вы слышите|
|They know||They speak||They hear||Они знают||Они говорят||Они слышат|
The Gender of Nouns
Since the gender of an English noun is most often determined by the dictionary or by its meaning, it is sometimes difficult to understand why the Russian word ‘стол’ (a table) – is “he” and not “it”, and ‘кошка’ (a cat) – is “she” instead of “it.” The fact is that in Russian the gender of a noun can usually be determined by its ending.
|Feminine (usually ending in -а/-я/-ь)||кошка (cat fem.), шапка (hat), земля (ground), рука (hand), ночь (night), дочь (daughter), битва (fight, battle)|
|Masculine (a consonant sound or -й are usually at the end of the word)||кот (male cat), сын (son), дом (house), стол (table), бой (fight, battle)|
|Neuter (usually ending in -о/-е)||море (sea), поле (field), окно (window), зерно (grain)|
Natasha Fisher, Former LOS Consultant