How to practise Russian

“Practice makes perfect, right?”
Here are some ways you can practice your Russian skills…

“Practice makes perfect, right?”

For many European languages that I used to learn, it was quite easy to practise the languages. Firstly, there are probably a bunch of people in your town that speak that language that you can practice with. There are also probably a lot of people near you that are also learning to speak that language (if you are at school you could probably even practise with your friends). Also if you are in the UK and you are learning a European language, chances are you will probably go there on holiday or pass through those countries (I’m thinking about French specifically) so you could practice them. But if you are from the UK (like me) and are studying Russian these probably aren’t applicable. So here are a few tips to practice Russian.

Find the few people near you that will speak it

It is unlikely that someone near you speaks fluent Russian unless you live in a big city, but if you can find someone, make sure you talk to them in Russian as much as you can. For example talk to them in English and when you can say one of the sentences in Russian, make sure you do. That way you will get more used to talking to people in Russian. They’ll probably even get a kick from it and have a laugh with you. If you talk to them, however, there is a chance you will end up practicing a more colloquial Russian and the odd swear word. As usuall


One thing I noticed when I talked to my friends was that they spoke WAY too quickly. So I decided to work on my listening skills. To do this, I just practised listening by watching YouTube that I would have watched in English anyway. If you enjoy watching FIFA, I stumbled on a really good Russian YouTuber called Yozhyk. Sometimes I even watch Pravda to improve my listening. There are a lot of really good Russian YouTuber. All you need to do is find a YouTuber that makes videos you like and then just subscribe and watch their videos every time they come out in order to improve your Russian listening.

VK and Twitter

VK is very similar to facebook and is widely adopted in Russia and Eastern Europe. If you find a Russian YouTuber that you really like or Russian journalists on twitter, make sure that you follow them. One thing I find that is really helpful is reading Russian out loud and not even bothering to think about the meaning of different words. This really helps with your reading skills and even helps if you are learning Hungarian. I follow Pravda on twitter and often check Yozhyk’s vk.

These will help you to improve your Russian by reading, listening and speaking every day. If you need some tactics to learn vocab, check out the tips in my post How to Learn Numbers in Any Language (you can apply these tips to any vocab).

Good Luck!


Chinese Character Flowcharts

Character flowcharts are really useful to refresh your Chinese knowledge. Today I’ll show you the different ways to do them!

Chinese character flowcharts are an excellent way to improve your character writing and recognition. They are really good because they force you to think about really random characters that you may not have written or encountered for a while. They also provide a really good visual way to learn characters by spotting patterns and similarities. 20170201_093009 The way to use the flowchart is to start with any character you choose. I chose “裤子”, trousers. From that character identify aspects of it that can be found in other characters. from trousers I found “袜子”, socks. This is a fairly understandable leap from trousers, however the more obscure and demanding leaps from character-to-character require more thought and attention and therefore, make it more interesting and a good way to learn or refresh characters in your mind. For example, from Italy (意大利 – right hand side) I got banana (香蕉). Another similar example of an obscure leap would be bus stop (公共汽车站 – slightly left of centre at the top) to shop (商店). These steps really help to remember characters and refresh them, whilst also showing how closely linked Chinese characters are.

For an easier challenge, only link characters to other characters with the same radical.This will be far easier for you as if you have limited Chinese knowledge (like me). For example most clothes contain the clothes radical (衤- like in shirt and trouser:衬衣 and裤子). However, for those of you that have quite a good chinese knowledge already, don’t limit yourself to just jumping character-to-character as when you make connections by small parts of the character you will have a broader range of characters. This will allow you to learn and refresh a wider variety of characters rather than just clothes or food.

This can be used for alphabetical languages by linking prefixes like “un” or “dis” but by the time you can start to use it, you need to have studied English for a long time. To give yourself a real challenge, try linking the words by pinyin. This is really good because you will be forced to use characters with different meanings but it is very difficult as sometimes the pinyin does not match well to the sound. Moreover, you would need to know a lot of characters for it to work well.

Hope this helps.



How to learn numbers in any languge

Easy tricks to quickly learn numbers in any language

Today I am going to be showing you a few quick and easy ways to learn numbers in a foreign language. I’ve tried all of these with the languages I am studying already and think that they are really good but some work better than others, so find what works best for you! The first step is to find out what the numbers actually are and then use these tricks to get the numbers nailed.

Counting Foreign Sheep (egy, kettő, három, négy…)

As a teenager I have quite a few sleepless nights. And I have always used the age old trick of counting sheep. But instead, I count the sheep in a different language. When you are tired and required to think extra hard to retrieve the numbers from the back of your mind, it certainly helps. Try it, next time you can’t fall asleep count in a language that you are learning and not only will it help you to fall asleep, but by the next morning you can impress your teacher with your immense number knowledge.


Think of a place that you can imagine vividly, that you know like the back of your hand. It might be your room, school, Times Square, it can be anything. When you close your eyes and see that place, assign areas of what you see to a number, but it HAS to be RELEVANT. Don’t just assign “dos” to your clothes pile, there has to be a reason. If you chose your room, the bookcase with 5 levels might “cinq” or the 10 posters on the wall might be “dieci“. This may sound stupid but if it is somewhere you know really well, it will be easy to assimilate the number to any aspect of that place and you will learn them in no time at all.

Post-it Notes

When I have any kind of language test then I invariably stick some post-it notes on my bedroom wall with the things I need to learn on them. Every morning when I wake up I look at them for a minute then go about getting ready. Seeing them as you pass by will force you to learn them and practice whatever it is you need to learn. Put them somewhere you will be forced to see them and won’t get damaged. Also, if you can, put them somewhere that has some relevance to what the post-it note says. That way you will learn the numbers even quicker, as mentioned above.


If you absolutely insist on writing notes or writing the numbers out thousands of times, make sure you use some colour. This will help you to remember the numbers quicker, plus if you just flick onto that page then you will clearly see the numbers you need to remember. Highlight the numbers you are having difficulty with and soon enough you’ll know them really well. Also, if you are going to use post-it notes, add some colour.


Good luck! Remember these tips can be used for anything you need to learn, not just numbers or languages but even science and maths etc.


How I am learning Hungarian

“My superpower is speaking Hungarian? You?”

“My superpower is speaking Hungarian? You?”

Hungarian is pretty darn hard… I’d say it is harder than any other language I am learning, putting it above Russian and Chinese. But it is not impossible, and here is how I am attempting to learn it:

Firstly, at the moment I am not receiving lessons from a teacher (though I will do in a short while).

So at the moment I am using the Duolingo Hungarian course. I find Duolingo to be very good for languages that have similar grammar to a language that you already speak proficiently because Duolingo doesn’t actually teach you the grammar or the conjugations etc. This is alright for languages that have a basic or similar grammar, but for Hungarian, which has such an alarmingly different grammar, Duolingo is not the best. For example, with Duolingo you would never know that the case endings depend on the harmony (vowels) of the word. Therefore I think that it is good to learn the vocabulary but not ideal for learning the language as a whole.

Mostly I am learning the language by talking to people in Hungarian.

The first words I learnt were out of necessity. Such as:

Police-Rendőrség    Ambulance-Mentők    Fire-Túz    English(language)-angolul

1    egy

2    kettő

3    három

4    négy

5    öt

6    hat

7    hét

8    nyolc

9    kilenc

10  tíz

11  tízenegy

I have already learnt phrases by talking to people and looking outside (mostly at shop signs).

Hol van a busz? Where is the bus.

van means is but is not necessary: En olasz – I am Italian – no need for ‘to be’ like in Russian. “a” or “az” before a vowel is the determinate in Hungarian.

The way I have learnt Hungarian means that I can not ask for directions or ask someone how old they are, however I can use an adverb in the comparative.

En jóbban beszélek magyarul mint te.  I speak Hungarian better than you.

Jó means good and is often used in greetings. Jó napot/ Jó estét. Jó or any other adverb can be made comparative by adding ‘bban’ or ‘bben’ as far as I am aware.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent (or lack of it) of my Hungarian knowledge.