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The Key to Russian English Dictionaries

Selecting and Using a Russian English Dictionary

Russian Dictionaries are Very Different and Cannot be Used as You Would Expect With English Dictionaries...

What are the differences?

Extra information is required to find a word, because we need to understand the grammar much more so than in English by virtue of word changes (unless you’re using an electronic dictionary as described below).

New Electronic Russian Dictionary  

A Highly Inflected Language:

Nearly all words in Russian are formed by adding prefixes to the beginning of the word, combining words, changing the ending, and even changing the base word. It is similar with English when you take the word "normal" and you add a suffix like "normalization" to change the meaning and intent of the word. The Russian language employs suffixes and prefixes as with English. But in Russian it tends to be much more extensive (it’s called a ‘highly inflected’ language).

Why does this present a problem? This presents most English speaking persons with a problem, because, when we open a dictionary of English words, we have come to expect to find nearly every word listed. However, in Russian most are not listed. Why? Russians understand the modular nature of their language, and know instinctively to look up the base word (the nominative form, in the case of nouns). Base words are ROOT words. Therefore, if you don't know the root word, often it will be impossible to locate a word that you see in print or have heard. So your first real challenge is to learn to recognize the root of any given word. Or in the case of verbs, to know how to make the infinitive form, which is what is listed in the dictionary.

This is why I recommend the SlovoEd Electronic dictionary for home study. You can find a word IN ANY GRAMMATICAL FORM in one click, without even leaving your active application! And you can display all the grammatical forms of the word for quick reference. And outstandingly, you can download it immediately for a FREE TRIAL! Click here for more information. This electronic dictionary can save you huge amounts of time and frustration.

Using paper and ink dictionaries, this was one of my many disappointments in trying to trail down and learn Russian words. It took me a long time to learn to pick out the root word in the dictionary.

Don't think the word is not in the dictionary, because the form of the word you’re searching for is not there!

Changes in word forms versus Context:

One of the major differences between Russian and English is how meaning is changed by declining the nouns (changing the word ending). In English, we employ word order, prepositions, etc., to make clear. changeTherefore, English grammar often expresses function by the order of words, and the use of additional words. Whereas, Russian employs changes to word forms to change meanings.

This is important, because when you are attempting to understand Russian, you must first realize words change more than in English. So, you must learn to recognize how words change. In addition to being a key in knowing what to look up in the dictionary, once you start to recognize these changes you will get a real sense of what is being expressed even if you have never seen that word before.

Why I bring these factors to your attention:

Firstly, I highly recommend using an electronic dictionary for home study! It can save you huge amounts of time and help in learning the language with the grammar reference feature.

Secondly, I point this out because a good desk reference Russian/English dictionary will have a ‘guide to use’ included in it to assist in the areas just explained. Remember, a good dictionary is an investment.

Side point: Surprisingly, some low priced dictionaries don’t show the accented syllable in the Russian words, but the show the accent in a phonetic spelling of the word. This may help when beginning to study Russian, but after a short while, you will probably find it annoying.

All said and done, you will need a good dictionary or two! A sturdy pocket dictionary is useful for carrying on your person at all times. A midsize dictionary is useful for carrying to class, meetings, etc. And a large reference dictionary is important for use at home or work. Choose wisely and carefully!

I’ve selected a few dictionaries here that I think will fit your needs in these areas.

Dan Bauer
Save $208 on Rosetta Stone Level 1,2&3 Sets 

 See New Electronic Russian Dictionary...

Kindle- Why is it the #1 Bestseller on Amazon? Click here to see for more info,and to see what Russian language books are available for the Kindle reader. 
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Treasure Island (1971) (DVD NTSC)
Mimino (DVD NTSC)
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Irony of Fate, or with Light Steam
Gentlemen of Luck
Business Romance-NO SUBTITLES
Amphibian Man
Weather is Good on Deribasovskaya, It Rains Again on Brighton Beach
Classic Russian Movie - Prisoner of the Caucausus
Classic Russian Movie - Operation Y
Classic Russian Movie - Ivan Vasilevitch
Classic Russian Movie - Diamond Arm

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