Sunday, February 15, 2015

Using Memrise.com To Memorize the Cyrillic Alphabet

When I was learning the Cyrillic alphabet, it was the Learn Basic Russian course at Memrise.com was pretty much helped me cement the new letters into my old Roman alphabet trained brain. These screen shots below are a quick look at how the site works.

First you'll plant a seed of new information such as the Cyrillic letter Р sounds like the Roman letter R. You can flip though memes that other users have created that might help you remember the new bit of information. This meme demonstrating that the country of Russia starts with a Р in Cyrillic alphabet was the most helpful for me. If you can remember what Россия looks like in writing, you got at a couple letters down.

Memrise Basic Russian Sample

As you start using the system, you'll hear the sounds and pick the right letters over and over using a variety of exercises. I used their iPhone app a lot more often than the desktop version. These images below show a few of the different exercises.

Memrise Basic Russian Sample

Memrise Sample

The Memrise app and site worked fast for me. I used it for maybe fifteen or twenty minutes a day in between other exercises on other sites. The app offers a review of previous lessons, and I didn't have to "water" my memories that many times before they were memorized. After a couple days, most of the mistakes I'd been making with the alphabet disappeared.

After I found Memrise is when it hit me for the first time that I was able to read Russian words. Most of the words I'd learned before, I'd memorized. I had one of those moments of clarity when I realized that I'd opened up a whole new world. It amazed me to think that I can look at a map of Russia now and read all those place names. I might not be ready to hit Tolstoy, but I could surely read Dr. Seuss.

When it comes to learning more Russian with my Memrise app, I haven't gotten that involved with the other Russian courses. Instead, I'm using the Memrise iPhone appto learn Mandarin Chinese.