How to understand Russian speech by ear?
There are many reasons for misunderstanding including speech tempo, unusual voice tone (as a rule, while learning Russian one gets used to the teacher’s voice), the presence of different types of connections, bindings and sound omissions in the speech flow of the speaker and so on. So, here are some tips to avoid misunderstanding.
To begin with, remember the main rule – in order to hear one needs to listen. Listen to everything that is available in Russian: radio, television, songs… Let Russian sound at your home and all around you: listen to it while cleaning, while having breakfast, while travelling to work. Download Russian songs or any audio text to your mobile. Listen again and again. At first will you will understand nothing, but occasional individual words, don’t be afraid of that. Try listening many times without translating every single phrase and soon you will start to reach the meaning, you will recognize more and more individual words, they will connect with each other into sentences and sentences will connect into the text. Of course, you have to constantly expand your vocabulary, learn some new words every day and practice what you’ve learned in exercises and texts.
“The study of grammar is necessary. Mastering lexis extends the vocabulary. However, the study of these two components of language separately complicates the process of using language in everyday life. “
Don’t miss any opportunity to practice the usage of Russian language. If you have the opportunity to communicate with native speakers, use it, get yourself a pen pal and chat with him or her on Skype, ask for help in learning Russian. Practice and regular training is the key to success. And once again try to understand the foreign speech without translating into your mother tongue. To develop such a habit, first of all try to “grab” the essence of what have been said by your partner, or at least to understand the general idea. At first it will be difficult. If you communicate with a partner directly, the nuances and the details can be clarified through questions. You can also record your dialogues and then play them in short snippets, such as 1-2 sentences, until you reach a complete understanding of what was said.
Another good tool for the development of auditory comprehension skills is watching movies in foreign language. First try to watch a movie in Russian with Russian subtitles. In this case a “vague continuous speech” will become easy to understand. Some make a mistake watching Russian movies with subtitles in their native language. Such an activity won’t let you succeed in learning Russian, because in this case one fixes attention on the content and ignores the form of the expression of this content in Russian language.
Work on correct pronunciation. The one who understands well is the one who speaks well. Repeatedly recite tongue twisters in Russian. This contributes to the formation of the correct pronunciation and tempo of speech. Understanding spoken Russian language is not a quick process, but daily practice will bring results. Follow these advises and in two or three months you’ll notice an obvious progress in learning Russian.