How Long Does It Take to Learn Russian?

How Long Does It Take to Learn Russian?

How long does it take to learn Russian?

If you’ve been asking this yourself (or others around you, too) for quite some time, we have to admit that it’s a good question.

When you plan to learn any language, it is good to know how many hours or weeks you will need to learn it. If anything, this helps organize your schedule.

Perhaps you will be disappointed, but there is no straight answer. If you are looking for a quick way to become fluent, stay with us, and find out how long it takes to learn Russian.

Now, let’s dive in.

How to Determine If a Language Is Hard to Learn?

 Whether one language is easy or hard to learn depends on several things: 

  • The similarity between your native and target language. The more similar your native and target languages are, the easier it will be to learn them.
  • Structure of the language. Some languages have more complex grammars than others. In some languages, tones, accents, and pronunciation give a headache to their learners.
  • Being able to speak more than one language. People who speak more than one language already have their ways and methods to learn other foreign languages. They also understand the language structure and they know effective ways to learn faster. 
  • Motivation. Staying motivated is the key to learning a language. It is the main motive why people succeed, but also why people fail. Whenever you feel you’re lost, reminding yourself why you learn the language helps you stay motivated.

Is Russian a Hard Language?

Even though the answer to this question is more complex than you think, we can say that Russian is a challenging language to learn.

If you are an English or Spanish speaker, it will take more time and dedication to achieve a decent conversational level than if you were a Polish or Bulgarian speaker.

Many Russian students think that the Russian alphabet is something they will struggle with before they start learning, but it’s not. If your native language uses letters, that is, the alphabet, you can learn it in a day. Moreover, some letters are the same in both Latin and Cyrillic alphabets.

Speaking to different Russian learners, linguists have concluded that the biggest thing they struggle with is the cases. The cases are an essential part of every Slavic language, and Russian, of course. There are six cases in Russian, and they are used so that nouns can change their forms. It denotes the noun’s function in the sentence.  Since many languages don’t use cases, their speakers often encounter them for the first time when they start learning the language that uses them.  

This makes Russian challenging but not at all impossible to learn.

What’s Your Desired Proficiency Level?

How much time you need to learn Russian depends on which proficiency level you want to achieve, among other things.

The Common European Framework of Reference to Languages (abbreviated CEFR) is a guideline created by the Council of Europe to describe foreign languages’ achievements.

CEFR recognizes six levels of language proficiency: 

  • A1 Beginner
  • A2 Elementary
  • B1 intermediate
  • B2 Upper-intermediate
  • C1 Advanced
  • C2 Proficient

Each level has its own criteria for writing, listening, reading, and speaking skills.

To be able to communicate at a decent level with Russian native speakers means that you can understand topics about everyday life, work, leisure, school, etc., to use sentences to speak to them, and to be able to deal with most situations, such as traveling to the area where Russian is spoken.

So, How Long Does It Take to Learn Russian?

Many linguists have been trying to find a way to classify all the languages into several categories according to their difficulty. They’ve been studying the number of hours needed to learn different languages, Russian among them, too.

The Foreign Service Institute made a list of all languages dividing them into categories. It is based on the length of time it takes to learn a foreign language to get to the speaking level.

It is vital to mention that the list is made for English speakers, precisely, how much time the English speakers need to learn the language.

According to the list, Russian belongs to category 4. Languages from this category are different from English linguistically and culturally.

It means that you will need around 1.100 hours or 44 weeks to learn Russian to achieve a decent conversational level.

Is It Worth Learning Russian?

Yes, it is.

Despite the time you'll need to learn Russian and the difficulties you will face, we highly recommend learning Russian for many reasons.

  • You can explore new parts of the Russian-speaking world. You can travel to Russia, Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldova and see that the cold winters can be so romantic.
  • Russia has a rich culture, tradition, and, above all, it has impressive poetry and literature. Reading Dostoyevsky or Pushkin in Russian can be described as a fantastic benefit only Russian learners can experience.
  • This huge country is divided into 11 different time zones, so you may feel like you are on another planet. 
  • Speaking Russian can give you the basis for learning other Slavic languages. Once you learn Russian, every next Slavic language will be a child’s play for you. 
  • Even though Russia’s winters are among the coldest ones, the Russians’ hearts are among the warmest ones. You won’t find such open-hearted and friendly people who are willing to help you. And if they hear you want to learn their language, you will be treated like a king.

How to Learn Russian?

Today, there are so many different and entertaining ways you can learn Russian. From watching Russian YouTube channels, listening to podcasts, to practicing the language with native speakers, you can learn and have fun at the same time.

Final Thoughts 

As you see, linguists claim that you need around 1.100 hours or 44 weeks to learn Russian.

On the other hand, we say not to worry about the hours or weeks you will need to learn the language.

You can never tell until you start. Maybe you will learn Russian in 600 hours total. Perhaps all the things we’ve been talking about don’t apply to you, and you find it incredibly easy to achieve fluency.

No matter what, keep going, and don't give up. Russian is worth every second of your time!

How to determine if a language is hard to learn?

Whether one language is easy or hard to learn depends on several things: student's native language, the similarity between your native and target language, the structure of the language, being able to speak more than one language, motivation.

Is Russian a hard language?

Even though the answer to this question is more complex than you think, we can say that Russian is a challenging language to learn.

If you are an English or Spanish speaker, it will take more time and dedication to achieve a decent conversational level than if you were a Polish or Bulgarian speaker.

How long does it take to learn Russian?

You will need around 1.100 hours or 44 weeks of learning Russian to achieve a decent conversational level.

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