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Beginning Russian
Suggested Course Outline

NOTE: The following is a suggested course outline by SRAS. While indicative of the subject matter presented over a one-semester course, actual curriculum and the order it is delivered in will differ by location and teacher. This is especially true of custom courses which do not cover an entire semester. 


Course Objectives

This course explores the basics of Russian grammar and vocabulary, builds up conversational skills in Russian at the beginning level, and presents the system of phonetics and intonation of Russian language. The course also provides an introduction to Russian culture. A full semester course is roughly the equivalent of three semesters of college Russian in the North American system, and includes more class hours.


Language of Instruction

True beginners will start with English-language support. However, as this course aims to build language skills at a rapid rate, Russian words and phrases will be used in the teaching process as the students learn them. Classes should be expected to move quickly to utilize Russian as close to 100% of the time as possible.  


Time Allocation 

The following flexible allocation of time is generally used:

35% - Conversational speech 
30% - Russian grammar
15% - Phonetics 
20% - Vocabulary building  


Course Subjects

Phonetics/Intonation in Russian Sounded Speech
In linguistics, prosody (from Greek προσῳδία, prosōidía) is the rhythm, stress, and intonation of connected speech (as opposed to smaller elements like syllables or words). Prosody may reflect various features of the speaker or the utterance: the emotional state of a speaker; whether an utterance is a statement, a question, or a command; whether the speaker is being ironic or sarcastic; emphasis, contrast, and focus; or other elements of language that may not be encoded by grammar or choice of vocabulary.

  • Prosodic structure of the Russian word. Basic prosodic patterns. Accent (stress) in Russian. Reduction stage I (reduced o, a after hard consonants in unstressed syllables). Intonation patterns 1 and 2;
  • Reduction stage II (я, е after consonants). Vowels а, у, ы. Hard and soft consonants м-м’; п-п’; б-б’; в-в’; ф-ф’. Intonation patterns 1,2,3, in dialogues and texts;
  • Prosodic patterns of the words with 3 syllables. Voiced and voiceless consonants. Vowels и-ы, consonants т,т-т’.
  • Vowel [э] at the beginning of the word and after consonants ж, ш, ц in unstressed syllables. Consonant [j], combination of sounds та-тя-тья;
  • Consonants д, д-д’, н, н-н’, р, р-р’, Intonation pattern 4;
  • Consonants c-c’, з-з’. Intonation patterns 5 and 6;  
  • Consonants х, х-х’; к, к-к’; г, г-г’. Intonation pattern 7;
  • Russian alphabet. Printing and writing, capital letters and small letters. Letter collocation in writing.

Elementary Grammar

Introduction to Russian case system, declension patterns, primary meanings of the cases, use in simple phrases; animate-inanimate nouns; singular-plural nouns; endings of nouns in singular and in plural in nominative; gender of nouns: дом, книга, окно.

Cases of nouns:

Nominative case:

  • Nominative; pattern «это + N»
  • Predicate; pattern «N + nominative predicates in Nominative case»

Genitive case:

  • Without prepositions:
    • Genitive of dates;
    • Numeral genitive (in collocation with numerals and with the words denoting indefinite amount);
    • Negation genitive (for denoting absence of a person or a thing in impersonal sentences with words нет, не было, не будет);
    • Possession genitive;
    • Genitive to denote quality of a substance;
    • The words час, минута in collocation with numerals 2-4; 5-20 ... ;
  • With prepositions:
    • Genitive case of nouns and personal pronouns with a meaning of a possessor (у Андрея...., у меня....);
    • Genitive of direction (приехал из Москвы);

Dative case:

  • Without prepositions:
    • Dative of recipient
      • Recipient - receiver with verbs дарить - подарить (to whom?) цветы; давать - дать (to whom?) книгу; покупать - купить (to whom?) подарок;
      • With the meaning of recipient - receiver of information with verbs with the meaning of informative-speaking action, etiquette action and other addressed actions (рассказывать кому? что?);
      • To denote age;
      • With the verbs нравиться – понравиться.

Accusative case:

  • Without prepositions:
    • Accusative case of inanimate nouns in the meaning of direct object;
    • Accusative case of animate nouns and personal pronouns in the meaning of direct object;
  • With prepositions:
    • Accusative case of nouns to express a direction of movement (with prepositions в, на);
    • Accusative case to express time: в пять часов, в понедельник, во вторник, в среду....

Instrumental case:

  • Without prepositions:
    • Instrumental case with the verbs быть, стать, работать кем? (nominative predicate);
    • Temporative: летом, зимой, весной, осенью;
    • Instrumentive: писать карандашом;
    • With the verbs: интересоваться чем?, заниматься чем?
  • With prepositions с (со):
    • Instrumental case of nouns and personal pronouns in the situation of meeting, acquaintance (with verbs знакомиться - познакомиться, встречаться - встретиться, разговаривать, играть);
    • With the verb поздравлять: с праздником, с Новым годом, с днем рождения.

Prepositional case:

  • With the preposition о (об, обо): prepositional case of nouns, personal pronouns to denote the object of thought, speech (говорить, рассказывать, думать, вспоминать, разговаривать о ком? о чем?)
  • With prepositions в, на:
    • Prepositional case of nouns in singular in the meaning of location;
    • Prepositional case of nouns to express ways of transportation;
    • With the verbs играть во что?
    • Temporative (когда?)

- Ending of nouns in all cases in singular.
- Ending of nouns in all cases in plural.

Personal pronouns

  • Cases of personal pronouns.
  • Possessive pronouns in the form of singular and plural; sequence of possessive pronouns with nouns in gender and number.


  • Use with nouns and coordination in gender, number and case.
  • Cases of adjectives. Demonstrative pronoun ЭТОТ (эта, это, эти) in nominative case.
  • Usage of possessive pronoun свой (-я, -ё, -и).

Introduction to Russian tense system, conjugation of verbs (1 & 2 types of conjugation, most often used irregular verbs); preliminary ideas of verb aspects;

  • Change of the verbs of conjugation I (работать, отдыхать);
  • Change of the verbs of the II conjugation;
  • Infinitive after the verb любить;
  • Formation and usage of the past tense of verbs;
  • Construction: хотеть + infinitive of a verb;
  • Construction: где/ можно + infinitive of the verbs купить, взять;
  • Construction: как называется ... ;
  • Construction: где находится ... ;
  • Aspects of verbs (general factual meaning, duration, the process of action of imperfective verbs; the result of action within perfective verbs);
  • The verbs of movement идти - ехать in present and past tenses;
  • The usage of constructions хочу пойти (поехать), должен пойти (поехать);
  • Future tense of the verbs of perfective and imperfective meaning;
  • The verbs пойти - поехать, прийти - приехать in past;
  • The verb быть in constructions: что было / будет когда; кто был/ будет где;
  • Verbs пойти - поехать, прйити - приехать in future;
  • Constructions: хочу + infinitive of the verb; хочу, чтобы;
  • Verbs начинать, начинаться, продолжать, продолжаться, кончать, кончаться in temporal constructions;
  • Verb aspects to denote sequence of actions in simple and complex phrases;
  • The usage of verbs in imperative.


  • The usage of adverbs:
    • Хорошо, плохо, неплохо;
    • по-русски, по-английски....;
  • Adverbs of location (вот, здесь, там, дома, слеза, справа);
  • Adverbs of time (утром, днем, вечером, ночью, завтра, сегодня, вчера, недавно).

The usage of conjunction и, а, тоже, и...тоже;
Construction: не только, но и.

Simple Russian Syntax

  • Subject and predicate positions, direct and indirect object, prepositional phrases); negation, introduction to simple and complex phrase;
  • Complex phrase with relation clause of causation and the conjugation потому что;
  • Complex phrase with relation clause of time and the conjugation когда;
  • Complex phrase with relation clause of description and the conjunction который in nominative case;
  • Complex phrase with conditional relation clause with conjunction если;
  • Complex phrase with conjunction поэтому;
  • Phrase with the forms of the verbs говорят, пишут … ;
  • Expressing time: вчера, сегодня...; утром, днем...; зимой, летом...; в декабре..., в году..., ...января, ...года; в понедельник, во вторник... ;
  • Direct speech. Indirect speech (constructions with the verbs спросить, сказать, ответить, рассказать).

Vocabulary building

Approximately 650 lexical units (active, passive, and potential vocabulary) are introduced in most cases. 


Materials are generally connected with contemporary life (people, customs, society, culture), history, and heritage. Students will learn how to interact in the following basic social situations:

  • acquaintance;
  • travel;
  • getting around a city;
  • class/study situation.

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