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Approaches to Learning Foreign Languages

Individuals can acquire knowledge of a foreign language by:
  1. building up knowledge of words:
        1.1. learning the meaning(s) of individual words
        1.2. familiarising themselves with the ways words are built in the language they are learning;
  2. learning from phrases they hear or read in that language
  3. acquiring knowledge of the grammar of the language.
Children tend to learn mostly through the processes described in 1.1 and 2. Adults tend to be exposed predominantly to the mechanisms described in 1.1 and 3. The process described in 2 tends to be under-utilised in most language teaching methods. The learning process described in 1.2 is very rarely used at all. Because of the way Russian words are composed of roots, prefixes and suffixes, this learning process 1.2 is an essential element, which is often totally neglected in the ways the Russian language is being taught at present. This is where our electronic dictionary of common Russian words grouped according to their roots comes in. The existing paper-based dictionaries of this kind are cumbersome to use. One has to look up a word in the index first to find the location of its root, where all the words with the same root are grouped together. The search mechanism of our electronic dictionary directs the user immediately to occurrences of the word one wants to look up. The inquisitive user also finds related words and expressions based on the same root - even words in which the root is preceded by a prefix, as is very often the case in Russian. Obviously, these words appear in a completely different location in the conventional alphabetical dictionaries.

We are firmly convinced that adults determined to ‘improve their Russian’ are well advised to use all the learning tools mentioned in the enumeration earlier on this page. To the best of our knowledge, our electronic Russian-English dictionary is the only effective tool of the category 1.2 available now.

If used well, our dictionary is invaluable for ‘Improving one’s Russian’ at all levels.