Differences between Russian and English
Indo-European family of languages Like English, Russian is part of the Indo-European family of languages, although Russian is part of the Slavic branch, while English is in the Germanic group.
Cyrillic alphabet The most obvious difference between the two languages is that Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, but there are also several key differences between Russian and English grammar. In English, the meaning of a sentence is conveyed by word order, while in Russian, the words in the sentence are modified by using a different inflection, or by adding a suffix or prefix. It is also hard to predict which syllable of a Russian word is stressed, so this has to be learned by listening and practising.
Phonetic spelling Russian is perceived by many English speakers as a difficult language to learn, mainly due to the Cyrillic alphabet. However, many of the letters in the Cyrillic alphabet are pronounced similarly to their equivalent in English, and the characters can even look similar. Russian spelling is largely phonetic, so there are fewer differences between spelling and pronunciation than in English.
How to learn Russian most effectively?
The best way to learn Russian depends on the individual, since different learning methods suit different people.
Textbooks People who learn best via reading might prefer to study alone using textbooks, although they may then struggle with pronunciation.
Holidays Some maintain that the most effective way to learn is to visit the country and immerse yourself in the language, while others find the idea daunting.
Language courses Some people find Russian lessons from a tutor, either individually or as part of a group, is the option that suits them. Private tuition can be expensive, however, while classes may not run at a convenient time.