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Russian Resources

Russian with max
4.5 
Price: Freemium, Courses cost $59
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Russian with Max supports intermediate and advanced learners from several angles. He has a podcast, Youtube Channel, and purchasable courses, all of which provide content that introduces Russian culture, history, and everyday life in an interesting and understandable way.

If you would like to access transcripts for both his Youtube channel and podcasts, you can sign up for the membership program; you will receive additional audio lessons that focus on new vocabulary, listening, speaking, and pronunciation.

Max articulates clearly and speaks at a relatively natural pace. His personality is engaging and he provides lots of examples for how to use new words and grammar structures. If you watch his Youtube videos, you can choose to watch with subtitles. However, Max has also identified challenging words in each video, and will provide translations only when necessary in order to maximize your Russian Immersion.

His courses on learning Russian through stories and conversations provide six months of independent study, with audio and PDF files to support your learning.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Readlang
4.5 
Price: Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $5/mo
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With Readlang as your Google Chrome Extension, you can have instant translations for words or sentences in over 45 languages at the tip of your mouse cursor (or fingertip)! Browse the internet and effortlessly click on unknown words to get a translation that stays on your screen until it is no longer needed.

If you can’t find anything to read on the internet, you can access a bank of public texts organized by word count and difficulty, browse the most popular websites for Readlang users, or upload your own text to study.

The best part is, Readlang will collect flashcards for you from words you have translated. It will only record the most useful words for you to practice based on word frequency lists, which could be either a pro or a con depending on your study goals. The flashcards follow a Spaced Repetition System that will prompt you to study words based on the natural forgetting curve, so you will be quizzed on the words you are about to forget. Each flashcard also includes audio pronunciation and the sentence from which the word was taken for reference. You can choose to reveal the flashcard to check your comprehension, or type in your response for more effective recall.

The free version provides enough for an average user, but upgrading to an affordable premium membership both supports this awesome resource and allows for unlimited phrase translations. Although there may be some problems with translations in beta languages, and sometimes it fails to recognize text, overall Readlang is an excellent resource for language lovers.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

HelloTalk
4.5 
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HelloTalk is a mobile app for language learners interested in language exchange. It facilitates communication between native speakers and those learning their language with the use of built-in language tools. It also offers audio lessons in 10 languages as part of a separate subscription.

Easy Languages
4.3 
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Easy Languages gets people involved from all around the globe —from Brazil to Mongolia — to film authentic interviews about everyday life with locals on the street.

A typical episode format starts with the interviewer (or interviewers) introducing the topic and location for the day. Then, they will approach various locals to ask their opinion or test their knowledge. Only a handful of languages, like Hindi, and Swahili, don’t follow this format — these are also typically the languages with fewer videos.

Easy Languages invites co-producers to join their channel, which means that anyone can apply to create videos, as long as they are filmed according to the Easy Languages guidelines. These co-producers receive multimedia training if they don’t already have experience in the field, so the videos typically have a baseline quality standard (although sometimes the filming can be a bit shaky).

Most of the interviewers have a bubbly personality, and some of them appear in multiple language interviews within Easy Languages. Overall, the interviews are enjoyable and will train your ear to understand a range of voices and accents. Also, for anyone who uses Seedlang for German, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see Cari’s friendly face in the Easy German episodes!

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

 

Speechling
4.3 
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Speechling is a website and app that makes it easy to improve your speaking skills in several languages. The free version is an incredbily valuable resource that makes it easy to practice mimicking native speakers. The Unlimited Plan provides unlimited corrections of your recordings by a teacher.

Beelinguapp
4.3 
Price: Freemium, $29.99/year
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Beelinguapp makes it easier to read and listen to interesting content in a number of languages. You’ll find short stories, news, fairy tales, music, and more. Their side-by-side reading functionality highlights the sentence in the language you’re learning, as well as in a language you’re familiar with. The karaoke feature makes it easy to follow the audio with the written text. Some of the content and features are available for free, but there are also premium plans to unlock more.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

BeFluent in russian
4.3 
Price: Paid plans start at $19.99/mo
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BeFluent supports Russian learners in two ways: On Youtube and through an online program. They have also written 2 books to improve your reading and listening comprehension.

The Youtube channel has hundreds of quality videos for beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners alike. Fedor, the founder of the channel, is entertaining and friendly with his audience. He seems to truly enjoy teaching and supporting the community of Russian learners. However, he does speak a lot of English to explain complex grammar points, so you may have to search a bit for his Russian immersion videos.

The BeFluent Class contains an ever-expanding resource library and a main curriculum, with lessons that become increasingly difficult as they progress. There is a strong focus on communication so that you can learn to express your thoughts and understand others. You can participate in weekly group calls with the BeFluent team to ask questions and learn about different topics, and with BeFluent Class Premium you can also receive private coaching.

The library includes vocabulary books, street Russian vocabulary, grammar manuals, listening comprehension exercises, and more. Subscribing to BeFluent, whether on Youtube or through the paid membership, seems like a very supportive and effective way to improve your Russian.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

DLI Courses
4.3 
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The DLI and FSI language courses are still some of the most comprehensive resources for language learning today, and probably the most comprehensive free resources you will find. 

Although the DLI and FSI courses are comparable in quality, DLI courses focus more on military terminology in the later lessons, while FSI courses focus on everyday communication and communication for diplomats. Another key difference between them is that the DLI courses may go into more depth, and also seem to provide a more comprehensive guide to the study of each language; the FSI courses either have briefer explanations or dive straight into the content. Both of them have outdated content, which is understandable considering that they were developed in the mid-1900s and have scarcely been updated since then.

Often the DLI courses outline clear practice strategies to reproduce your target language’s sounds. Also, depending on the language, literal translations are sometimes used so that you get accustomed to each language’s grammar structure.

All the PDFs and audio files are available for download on various sites, although Live Lingua has made navigating between the material quite intuitive. If you can’t find your desired language in the DLI courses, check out the FSI courses for different options.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

FSI Courses
4.3 
Price: Free
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The Foreign Services Institute developed their language courses to help diplomats quickly reach professional working proficiency in a language. They would attend 5 hours of language instruction per day, plus homework, for 24-88 weeks (depending on the language). The table at the bottom of this page indicates the average time it would take for a student to reach professional working proficiency.

The FSI program places a strong focus on listening comprehension, in addition to extensive exercises for grammar and vocabulary. If you follow along with the audio and respond to the prompts in each drill, you will also develop confidence in speaking the language.

With hundreds of pages of text, dozens of hours of audio, and several levels in many languages, the FSI courses are still probably the most comprehensive, free courses you can follow. Just remember that they are decades old, so the audio is not very clear and the vocabulary often includes both sexist and obsolete language. Also, some of the topics will not be relevant to your everyday life.

Several sites host these free, open-source courses, but the site linked below is  easy to navigate. Beware of any site selling courses “originally made for diplomats,” as these are probably free FSI courses with a price tag. You can also check out the DLI courses, which are equally as comprehensive (and free!).

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Rassias Center
4.3 
Price: $200/3-week, 9-class online session
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Originally an in-person school, the Rassias Center now offers online semi-intensive classes. The classes prioritize spoken language and understanding the culture of the language being studied.

The Rassias method aims to make students feel comfortable speaking a language within a short time frame. The teaching techniques are both dramatic and structured; you will find yourself in a creative, fast-paced, and enthusiastic environment with teachers who are passionate about your success and will positively reinforce your learning. You can be sure with the Rassias technique that you will quickly feel at ease no matter how hesitant you are to join a group class.

It should be noted that online classes may offer less opportunity to speak as there would be in a live setting.

The virtual courses are 3 weeks long, meeting 3 times per week for 1.5 hours and within groups of 5-12 students.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.