Join our weekly newsletter.
Articles, news, and ideas.

Languages, people and their cultures.

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!

How to Learn Slavic Languages when English Is Your Native

Slavic Languages
How to Learn Slavic Languages when English Is Your Native
on December, 06 2016

Slavic languages are beautiful. They sound melodic and soft, so it often seems as if these people are generous and kind when you hear them speak. Russian, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Polish, Macedonian, Bulgarian… all these languages sound great!

If this was an article named “How to Learn Slavic Languages when English Is NOT Your Native,” we would run into a problem: there are not many non-English online sources that help you learn Slavic languages. In that case, we would have to stick to the good old advice: find a course in your area and sign up for it. Since English is your native language, that’s a circumstance that makes things easier for you.

Here, I’m going to guide you through some tips that will help you focus on the right methods and tools to help you learn a Slavic language.

1. Choose your language

You can’t learn all Slavic languages at once. Since you’re a native English speaker, they probably all seem the same to you. However, there are important differences, not only in vocabulary and pronunciation, but in grammar, too.

Russian and Polish, for example, have declensions. Since there are no declensions in the English language, this aspect of the grammar may be very challenging for you. In Bulgarian and Macedonian, the declensions have been replaced with prepositions. However, there are not many online resources that can help you learn these two languages, so maybe you would want to face the challenge and learn a language with declensions.

Take a look at the list of all Slavic languages. Which one would you like to learn? Can you find enough materials that teach you that language? If that’s the case, then set your goal and carry on with the process. Learning a new language, especially a Slavic one, can be very challenging, but also yields so many benefits.

2. Get the Textbooks

In the time of apps and online learning services, a textbook is probably the last thing that comes to mind. However, this traditional source of knowledge is still important when you want to learn a language. You’ll have all the grammar rules in one single place. Don’t forget to get a dictionary, too.

You can find great books on Amazon, including Polish for Dummies, Intensive Bulgarian, Beginning Russian, First Czech Reader for Beginners, and more. Search for a textbook in your target language and you’ll definitely find something useful. The good news is that these are English books, so you’ll get the translations and comprehensive instructions you need.

3. Write!

Foreign language learners often focus on the listening and speaking parts. They forget a crucial element: writing. It’s important to develop a daily writing practice, which will help you remember what you learned and use the new words in their proper context. Moreover, the practice of writing will help you keep track of the progress you make.

If you don’t have good writing skills, you can rely on an online source that connects you with professional writers. Writing services have many authors who speak foreign languages, so try your luck; maybe some of them are proficient in your target language and can help you practice. You can also use basic writing tools in English to help your syntax and style, if you're translating a piece from Russian to English, for example.

The important thing is to keep practicing. You don’t need specific topics, although it would be lovely to write about things related to the country of your interest. Hey; maybe you could even start a blog that would attract other native English speakers to start learning that language! That way, you’ll develop a community that will motivate you to keep trying.

4. Read

You’ve probably heard of the Russian soul, which is conveyed through the works of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Gogol and other Russian writers. This vibe is persistent throughout the entire Slavic literature.

It doesn’t matter what language you decide to learn, since Dostoevsky sounds great in any Slavic language. Read his works. I suggest this author because he wrote with a simple, heartbreaking style that you understand not only with your intellect, but with your soul, too. Then, you can continue with Kundera, Tolstoy, Andric, Sienkiewicz, and other famous Slavic writers. When you start exploring this literature, you won’t be able to stop!

5. Apps

Oh good; we came to the fun part! Of course you can use different apps to learn a Slavic language. All you need to do is find a good app that supports the language you have in mind. Here are few for you to consider:

This is a fun app that gives you grammar and vocabulary lessons, as well as practice sessions every day. It provides materials for learning Russian, Polish, Czech and Ukrainian.

When compared to Duolingo, this is a more serious app. It still lets you learn and practice at your own pace, and it gives you all the learning and practice materials you need. It supports Russian and Polish.

This app is great not only because it gives you bite-sized lessons that grow into full language courses, but also because it connects you with native speakers of the target language. They want to learn English, and you’ll help them with that. They will return the favor, and you can learn Polish and Russian with this app.

The good news is that the instructions in all three apps are provided in English.

These five simple tips will help you achieve your goal to learn a Slavic language. The key is to choose the language, get a textbook, read, write and use a language-learning app on a daily basis. Are you ready to make that commitment? Get started!

About The Author

Mary Kleim is a creative writer and a digital expert. She works on several online projects dedicated to student online help at She also works on developing her own project dedicated to self-improvement.

  • Learning a new language sounds like a daunting task but your article makes it look way easier. Anyways, gotta get back to writing affordable essays. Thank you for sharing.

  • Paul W Dixon

    Bear in mind that Slovenian also has declensions, 17 of them and, to make matters even worse, has the dreaded dual form. At least the alphabet is the same!

  • Paul W Dixon

    A bit of Slovenian. This is the national poem, by France Prešeren. The seventh verse is the Slovenian National Anthem;

    Spet trte so rodile,
    prijat'lji, vince nam sladko,
    ki nam oživlja žile,
    srce razjasni in oko,
    ki utopi
    vse skrbi,
    v potrtih prsih up budi.

    Komu najpred veselo
    zdravljico, bratje, č'mo zapet'?
    Bog našo nam deželo,
    Bog živi ves slovenski svet,
    brate vse,
    kar nas je
    sinov sloveče matere!

    V sovražnike `z oblakov
    rodu naj naš'ga trešči grom!
    Prost, ko je bil očakov,
    naprej naj bo Slovencev dom;
    naj zdrobe
    njih roke
    si spone, ki jim še teže!

    Edinost, sreča, sprava
    k nam naj nazaj se vrnejo!
    Otrok, kar ima Slava,
    vsi naj si v roke sežejo,
    da oblast
    in z njo čast,
    ko pred, spet naša bosta last!

    Bog živi vas, Slovenke,
    prelepe, žlahtne rožice!
    Ni take je mladenke,
    ko naše je krvi dekle;
    naj sinov
    zarod nov
    iz vas bo strah sovražnikov!

    Mladen'či, zdaj se pije
    zdravljica vaša, vi naš up!
    Ljubezni domačije
    noben naj vam ne usmrti strup;
    ker po nas
    bode vas
    jo srčno branit' klical čas!

    Žive naj vsi narodi
    ki hrepene dočakat' dan,
    da koder sonce hodi,
    prepir iz sveta bo pregnan,
    da rojak
    prost bo vsak,
    ne vrag, le sosed bo mejak!

    Nazadnje še, prijat'lji,
    kozarec zase vzdignimo,
    ki smo zato se zbrat'li,
    ker dobro v srcu mislimo.
    Dokaj dni
    naj živi
    Bog, kar nas dobrih je ljudi!

Join our weekly newsletter for articles, news and ideas

In need of a translation or interpreting service? Get a 5% lifetime discount now!