Write your way to greater fluency in Russian in 6 easy steps (12 foreign language writing prompts included!)

1. Challenge yourself to write on a daily basis, using recently-learned vocabulary and rules in your work. Try these foreign language writing prompts which will get you using high-frequency vocabulary.

Describe yourself.

– What is your name?

– Where were you born?

– Where did you grow up?

– What do you do (student, career)?

– What do you look like?

– What are your favourite hobbies / interests?

Describe your family.

– Do you come from a big or a small family?

– How many siblings do you have?

– Are you married, or single?

– Do you have kids – what do they look like?

Describe your friends.

– Who are your closest friends?

– How long have you known them for?

– Where did you meet?

– What are they like (personality-wise)?

– What do you like to do with your friends for fun?

Describe where you live.

– What country do you live in?

– What is life like there?

– What is the weather like throughout the year?

– Do you live in a city, a town or a village? Would you ever wish to change where you live, or move to another country?

– What are some local, or national traditions?

Talk about food.

– What is your favourite cuisine and why?

– What is your favourite meal? What is inside it? How do you make it?

– What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Describe your favourite TV show / film.

– What is your favourite TV show / film and why?

– Who is your favourite character and why?

– How often do you watch this TV show / how many times have you seen this film?

– What is the main gist of the plot?

Describe your favourite season.

– What is your favourite season and why?

– Do any events or holidays take place then?

Describe your daily routine

– What time do you set your alarm for in the morning and when do you wake up in the morning relative to your alarm?

– Do you feel tired, or refreshed when you wake up in the morning – why?

– What do you do as part of your morning routine?

– What do you eat for breakfast?

– When do you leave home for school, or work?

– How do you get to school, or work?

– Are you often late?

– How do you relax when you get home in the evening?

What are your plans for the weekend?

– Who are you going to see or visit?

– What are you going to do?

Write about animals.

– What is your favourite type of animal? Why?

– Do you have any pets?

– Describe your pet.

– Do you prefer to keep pets indoors, or outdoors?

Holidays

– If you could travel to any destination right now, where would it be and why?

– Who would you like to travel there with?

– Describe your last holiday – who did you go with and what did you see?

– What was the culture in the country like compared to the culture in which you grew up, or were raised?

The future

– What goals would you like to achieve in the near future?

– What are you doing in order to achieve them successfully?

2. Review what you have written to pick up on any silly errors you made whilst concentrating on getting your thoughts down and then submit it to the kind people in the Reddit forum r/Russian, r/WriteStreakRU or similar language learning forums, for correction. Once you receive the responses, conduct as much research as you need to in order to understand why you made a mistake and using a pen in another colour, update your work with the corrections. You can then rewrite the hopefully error-free passage(s), so that you can study it without the distraction of seeing messy corrections and disjointed text all over the page.

3. Peruse each sentence carefully, looking for vocabulary that you didn’t know and adding it to a notebook, or your personal deck on websites such asAnki,Memrise and Monument.

4. Identify the grammatical mutations that the parts of speech undergo using this tool from Monument, which is not only capable of highlighting parts of speech, but also revealing the grammatical case of each word in a piece of text. If you can’t explain or understand why the change in form occurred, study the case system systematically. The key cases to learn are the nominative , accusative , dative , prepositional , instrumental and genitive cases.

5. Re-read the corrected text over and over again and create an audio recording of yourself reading it. Try to get to a point where you no longer need to read from a sheet in order to recount the words. If you ever had to memorise a piece of text for a school foreign language exam, you can probably recall the speed with which your language proficiency suddenly improved as the oral exam or essay-writing requirement loomed. Your efforts will not be in vain; the vocabulary and even sentences from the memorised passage(s) will come in handy one day when you’re conversing with a native speaker, as will the fluency and speed with which you communicate in Russian when you practise your reading skills on a regular basis.

6. Learn from your mistakes by maintaining a cheat sheet with the general idea behind the most common mistakes that you make when writing or speaking in Russian. Keep it with you whenever you begin to write, referring back to it throughout, or at the end when you conduct a review.

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