Wondering what the best learn Russian app is? Well, you've come to the right place.
Whether it’s maths, history, or learning languages, we all learn in different ways. Some people can sit down with a grammar book and dictionary and walk away with some new info. Other people can listen to podcasts and take it in like a sponge.
And some of us are a bit of both, and for that we have apps. Apps are great at dividing the learning process into smaller pieces that are more manageable and maybe a bit less intimidating than the old school methods.
That’s exactly why in this post you're going to discover some of the best apps for learning Russian. These range from the absolute beginner to the more advanced learner, so you’ll find something that fits you.
By the way, if you'd like to improve your Russian grammar but don't know how, then I recommend Russian Grammar Hero, an innovative story-based online course to help you internalise the grammar so you stop translating in your head!
Apps To Learn The Russian Alphabet
#1 Russian Cyrillic
Focus: Learning the Russian Alphabet
Russian Cyrillic is the app for those who are starting Russian from the very beginning. And here that means learning to read.
If you want a fun and well designed app to teach you how to read the Cyrillic alphabet, then I couldn’t recommend anything better.
If you’re starting completely from scratch, then this is the place to begin. You can learn the Russian version of the Cyrillic alphabet along with the more important spelling rules. However, Russian Cyrillic will only take you so far and to continue learning the Russian language, you’ll need to go on to something for beginners.
Apps To Learn Basic Russian
Drops definitely has a unique approach to learning vocabulary. The premise is matching new words to pictures to build up your mental vocabulary.
This has the benefit of giving your mind an association with the thing itself instead of with a translation.
The app gives you 5 minutes a day of a sort of matching game. And overall, it’s great at helping you build up a core vocabulary in Russian fast. However, there is one drawback.
The focus of Drops is almost entirely on vocabulary, and more specifically on nouns. That means you can learn a lot of words, but not so much grammar. So, it’s great for the casual beginner, but if you plan to study Russian intensely, you’ll eventually outgrow it.
Babbel’s great for the language learner with a busy schedule. It has lessons and explanations for grammar rules and new vocabulary.
Generally, the lessons take about 10-15 minutes each. But what’s really cool is that lessons often refer back to previous ones.
So, if you learned the Russian word for “glasses” or “mango” in one lesson, you can expect it to come back in a few lessons to make sure you actually retained it. For those who have a tough time retaining new words, the pace repetition is great!
#4 Russian Dungeon
When it comes to language learning apps, the idea of having it resemble a game is quite common. However, Russian Dungeon is the pinnacle of gamification and learning the Russian language.
In this app, you play as a knight exploring different dungeons and learning new Russian words as you progress.
For those who have trouble holding onto new words, this unconventional approach might be what you’re looking for. And while the idea sounds a bit silly, but honestly, it’s a blast.
#5 Michel Thomas – Russian
The Michel Thomas approach is very straight-forward. You listen to dialogue and conversations of language classes. They slowly build up from zero to more complex sentences and phrases.
With Michel Thomas, everything is audio-based, so you don’t learn reading or writing, but you will be exposed to lots and lots of real language use.
Overall, the app is quite relaxed and moves at a leisurely pace. For beginnings who need to build up their confidence in listening and basic vocabulary, it’s a nice place to start, especially if games aren’t for you. Of course, while it’s a great app for new Russian learners, it can only take you so far.
Memrise is a nice mid point between the fun and the practical. Content-wise, it’s got a lot going for it in terms of learning vocabulary and conversational phrases that you’ll actually use.
These are often supplemented with videos of native speakers to help you adjust to listening to the Russian words as they’re spoken. So you learn reading and listening at the same time! One of the best aspects of Memrise is that you can make a personalized lesson to challenge yourself.
Like some other language-learning apps, Memrise has an element of gamification to it. There are badges, points, and streaks that track how many days you’ve made consistent practice. Memrise is a great place to start if you want to learn Russian with a lot of positive reinforcement.
You can use flashcards that others have made or customize some for your own interests. This is particularly useful if you have a clear idea what topics you want to learn about.
One of the best things about Anki is that the community is very active. So there are plenty of other Russian-learners posting or creating content on the site. Using materials that someone else created also opens you up to learning a lot of words and things you might not have otherwise.
Apps For Beginner/Intermediate Learners
Focus: Language Use, Natural Speech
The concept of Busuu is simple, but definitely engaging for beginning and intermediate learners. You go through a series of mini-lessons to learn vocabulary and some grammar.
This is ideal if you want to cram a lot about basic words and phrases before a trip or want to do a quick refresher. The structure is great as well since every lesson builds very directly on the previous one.
There is another aspect to Busuu however. If you choose to get Busuu premium, then you get a whole lot more with the app. At this level, you can have your work graded by a native speaker with the expectation that you’ll grade someone else's.
It’s here that Busuu really stands out from the pack because you’ll get bits of information about how people really speak. And having more input from natives and knowing that you’re interacting with a real person makes learning Russian feel more personal.
Focus: Vocabulary, Reading
Clozemaster is something between a game and a reading exercise. You're given loads of sentences and phrases and asked to fill in the missing Russian word.
What’s great about Clozemaster is the use of context. Unlike some other apps, the words you learn are never to you in isolation. Instead, the main focus is to get you familiar with vocabulary in actual sentences and phrases.
Likewise, the app focuses on comprehensible input. That means nothing is ever too easy, but you can use context to help figure out the answer.
This helps you not only get familiar with new words, but also the words they come with and correct word order. As such, using Clozemaster can help give you a natural sense of how Russian tends to structure itself, which makes reading texts much easier.
Best Learn Russian Apps For Intermediate Learners
LingQ is an app with a lot of variety and a lot of different features. These include flashcards, regular reviews, dictionaries, and progress tracking.
The progression of lessons is much less guided than most other apps for learning Russian. You can start from the very beginning, jump in at the intermediate level, or choose different lessons and topics at your leisure. While some language-learning apps put you on a set path, you have to be a lot more disciplined with LingQ.
One of the best features that LingQ has is the combination of audio and visual content. This means you can read along with a story as you listen, so it’s great to know how to pronounce unfamiliar words.
And after any reading, you test yourself on the vocabulary or grammar you learned. Interestingly, the app allows you to import texts to work with so you can easily customize lessons for your specific needs or interests. If you know exactly what you want out of a language learning app, then LingQ might be for you.
Mondly is another app for learning Russian that’s best suited for the more goal-oriented learner. There are no games or points or progress bars. And the design is anything but flashy.
However, if you want to take a deeper dive into learning Russian grammar, Mondly is great.The lessons start from basic phrases and core vocabulary and then build into more complicated topics.
What’s useful is that topics are focused on for longer and go into more depth than most other apps. Likewise, there are clear explanations of Russian grammar points and lots of tables with noun declensions and verb conjugations.
#12 Reverso Translate And Learn
Also known as Reverso Context, this is a great app to have as a reference. The concept is simple. You enter a word or phrase in one language and see translations in the target language.
The key here is that you get loads of examples. Unlike a dictionary, this helps make it clear which word to use in which situations.
Since this app is designed as a reference, there are no lessons or games. In essence, it's a way to see how and when specific words are used. So, for intermediate students who want to expand their vocabulary, Reverso is an invaluable tool.
Focus: Talking, Communication and Conversation
For learning Russian, no app can replace actually talking with a native speaker. And that is actually what iTalki offers to its users.
If you’re looking for a language partner to practice your Russian with, then look on further. They have a committed community of users so that you can practice Russian with a native speaker. To get going, you can either find a tutor or do a language exchange and then take it from there.
Using Apps To Learn Russian Your Way
So have you found the best learn Russian app for you in this list of 13?
There is no silver bullet to language learning. We all take in information differently, so knowing what resources you can use is a great starting point. Of course, you might want to use a combination of apps, podcasts, and books. It never hurts to have more resources!
At the end of the day, the best way to learn Russian is in a way that works for you. So I recommend trying a few of these apps out and seeing which one clicks for you! As you continue learning, you’ll find your own flow and learn what you need from an app, a book, or a language partner.
Speaking of which, from years of travelling the world and learning languages, one method really stands out, and that's learning thorough stories.
When you learn through story, you learn in a natural way, like children do. You pick up grammar and vocabulary without having to “study” it.
And yes, you can even apply this StoryLearning method to something as seemingly tough as Russian grammar. Introducing…
Russian Grammar Hero
Russian Grammar Hero is a StoryLearning course where you master Russian grammar naturally thorough story, not rules. While it's not an app, you can use it on any device and learn wherever and whenever is convenient for you.
If you've ever felt frustrated because you have to translate in your head when you speak Russian, then Russian Grammar Hero will help you finally internalise the grammar, so you can speak with confidence.
We don't learn our native language by memorising rules of grammar, so why learn a new language that way? Immersion is key, particularly “Controlled Immersion” at your level which lets you understand the story and learn the grammar naturally.
The course is aimed at low intermediate and intermediate learners (A2-B1 on the CEFR). Russian Grammar Hero condenses potentially years of frustrating, traditional study into a “fast-track” experience that will transform your grammar in the next 90 days.
Find out more about Russian Grammar Hero and start learning.