Learning Russian and the consequences for my shopping list

During our visit in Yaroslavl a couple of weeks ago, we noticed that people who spoke fluent English were rare. This gave me an extra push to finally start learning Russian. So now, every day when I’m driving to and from work (which is only 20km but can take up to 1 hour!), I put on my Michel Thomas Russian CDs.

The Michel Thomas method is great. You hear a native speaker teach 2 students, who get plenty of exercises to practice what they’re taught. You don’t have to study or memorise anything as there’s a lot of repetition throughout the course. You just go with the flow, listen to the teacher and participate in the exercises. And that’s it!

The teacher even gives you tips to remember words by associating them to funny images. For понимать (pronounced ponimat’, meaning understand), for example, she proposes the image of a pony who sits on a mat and sadly says “I don’t understand!” 🙂 And she always calls хочу (meaning I want, pronounced hachoo), “the sneezing word”. 🙂

The downside of the method, however, is that there’s no written practice. So even after I proudly finished the Foundation course and enthusiastically started the Advanced course, I’m still having difficulties reading – and even more writing – the Cyrillic alphabet. To get some exercise, I’ve now started to write my shopping list in Cyrillic letters! Here’s what that looks like (i.e. Dutch transcribed in Cyrillic letters):


Any idea what we’re buying this week? 😉


5 thoughts on “Learning Russian and the consequences for my shopping list”

    1. это голландские слова написаны на кириллице 🙂 Я не знаю русские слова, но я хочу практиковать кириллицу


  1. Awesome, I need Cyrillic practice. I live in Little Russia in Philly, and I guess cause it isn’t everywhere, I read everything Cyrillic I can get my hands on.

    My sister in law helped me read my first Cyrillic word from a magazine in a laundromat.


    The app Memrise has an amazing mnemonic based learning thing that taught me. Ю is the star ship enterprise, which is a UFO, so it goes “you.” Ф looks like a fart so it g goes “f”. (They accuse ف in Arabic of the same)

    But let’s see, you had melk, brot, museli, fruit, yoghurt, and toilet paper. You are making a bomb!


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