RussianDict: The English to Russian Dictionary
It’s summer of 2019 and you’re on your vacation. Rather than heading to your regular vacation spot like the beach, you decide to take a tour of the former Soviet Union and find yourself in Kiev, Ukraine. And, the women are gorgeous.
That’s what happened to me back in March 2017. I was traveling at the time and found myself in Tbilisi, Georgia, mostly because the pictures of Tbilisi looked like a Shrek village and it looked beautiful. While Tbilisi was great, I had less than zero motivation to learn Georgian, a difficult language that’s only useful in Georgia. After a week in Tbilisi, I decided to go to Ukraine instead, mostly because I have a US passport and Ukraine was one of the nearby countries where I didn’t have to take out a visa.
Traveling to Kiev was an interesting experience. The Ukrainian man sitting next to me on the plane was confused why I was traveling to his country. He told me that it was a terrible place and that Ukraine was in a proxy war with Russia. He advised me that I go to better places in Europe instead, like Italy or Spain.
Then I landed in Kiev and was on my way to my Airbnb, and I started to think that maybe that the Ukrainian man was right. The way to the center of Kiev looked dreadful. The buildings were gray, and the whole scene outside reminded me of cities in North Korean documentaries.
Then I arrived in the center of Kiev and this is what I saw.
Beautiful right? Then I saw the women.
And then I decided to learn Russian and signed myself up for an intensive Russian course for 3 months at a local Russian language academy in Kiev. Why? Only because the local women didn’t speak much English and that meant that I had to learn Russian to a high level.
Learning Russian in Kiev
I signed myself up for private 1 on 1 classes with a private Russian language academy called NovaMova. I took private classes 2 hours a day 5 days per week. With additional homework and self-study, I spent around 4 to 5 hours per day studying Russian. I decided to go this route because this was the way I learned to speak Spanish in about 4 months. Go hard or go home I suppose.
This is by no means an endorsement of NovaMova (and they’re not paying me to write this), but the school was great. It was on the expensive side, but when it comes to education, I believe in paying for quality and faster learning. Time is money so if I can pay more and learn faster, the premium price is worth it for me. My teacher’s name was Oksana. On Facebook, it looks like her name is “Pelipenko”, but it looks like it’s “Karakeyan” on NovaMova’s website. She was an excellent teacher and knows how to explain complex Russian language concepts in an easy to digest manner to a student.
Kiev was an interesting experience.
The previous city that I spent time in was Medellin, Colombia and the cultures between the two places were complete opposites. For example, people tend to be always smiling and in an upbeat mood in Colombia. In Ukraine however, everyone looked cold and gloomy. Ukrainian culture seems to be that everyone has a poker face and I saw very few people smiling on the streets.
For example in Colombia, everyone smiles at you, and the people are generally warm and friendly. However, while a good percentage of their friendliness towards you is genuine, a good percentage of their friendliness towards you is complete bullshit, an act that they’re putting on for who knows what reason. In Ukraine however, people will smile at you only if they actually like you. They will smile at your jokes only if they truly find your jokes funny. I’m not sure which I like better, because while the Colombian culture has some level of fakeness to it, Ukrainians were truly real and genuine.
While being in Ukraine for 5 months straight wore me down due to the general coldness of the people there, I have to admit that the people were more genuine than other places I’ve been. Also, they brew pretty good coffee. Here are a few pictures that I took in Kiev.
Difficulties With Learning Russian
I thought that learning Russian would be easy, mostly because I already spoke three languages: English and Korean at a native level and Spanish at a high proficiency level. I had some experience learning languages and was confident that I would be conversational within 3 months. And boy was I wrong.
Russian was a different beast. With Spanish, I was able to hold interesting conversations within 3 months. After 3 months, my Russian was only at the level of a tourist, despite putting in 4 to 5 hours of intensive study per day and living in Kiev at the same time.
I actually think that Russian is actually a very systematic language. It’s difficult due to the sheer number of rules one needs to memorize. Russian has 6 cases: Prepositional, Instrumental, Accusative, Dative, and Nominative. It even has 3 genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. In Spanish, only the verbs conjugate, but in Russian, nouns, adjectives, and verbs all have their own conjugations and declensions. My head was spinning from the number of things to learn and keep in my head at the same time while trying to speak.
To make referencing new words better, I asked my teacher to recommend me a modern web based English to Russian dictionary that I can use while studying because I couldn’t find one that was modern and comprehensive. She said that there weren’t any and recommended me this book.
I thought that it was ridiculous that in 2017 a major world language like Russian, one of the six official languages of the United Nations, didn’t have a modern web based English to Russian dictionary. Being a programmer myself, I wrote it down as a potential project idea. A year later in August of 2018, I opened my laptop and wrote my first line of code. 5 months later, RussianDict was launched and is currently live for use.
RussianDict is a comprehensive English to Russian web based dictionary. People may ask, “why not just use Google Translate?”. The problem with Google Translate is that it does not help you learn. For example, if we type “chair” into Google Translate, we get this as a result:
But what if I want to learn the numerous declensions of the word chair (стул)? With Google Translate, you’re out of luck. However, with RussianDict, we get this if you search for “Chair”:
With RussianDict, you not only get the normal functions of a dictionary along with example sentences, but also all of the declensions as well. The comprehensiveness of RussianDict will help you learn to speak grammatically correct, which will impress the locals and the women you date.
A lot of foreigners in the former Soviet Union looking to date the local women might dismiss the importance of speaking grammatically, but it’s actually important in Russian. For example, it’s difficult to make yourself understood if you use the wrong cases. Let alone, if you can speak the local language with a high degree of fluency, you will set yourself apart from the rest of the foreigners and have a much easier time in the dating market. RussianDict was built to be comprehensive to help people (including myself) learn to speak the language more accurately.
We also have a growing library of Russian grammar guides that are written by professional teachers.
We have 14 categories of articles and guides covering various grammatical topics including adjectives, adverbs, cases, gender, and more. The grammar guides are concise, to the point, and free for everyone to use.
Word of the Day
If you want to up your vocabulary game, RussianDict has a feature where you can subscribe to receive a daily word straight to your inbox daily. We pick a word for you and send you an email every day with its definition and example sentences. It’s a great way to learn a new word every day, and continue to motivate yourself to learn.
Russian is a difficult language. Everyone has a different reason for taking on this challenging language. I’ve met many who had to learn it for work but mine was because I wanted to find a Ukrainian wife, so I put myself through a grueling phase of intensive study. I’m sure many other men have done the same. My hope is that this dictionary will help others learn Russian -whatever their motivation is.
Check out RussianDict here. RussianDict is an English to Russian dictionary built for the modern web. Simply search for a word and learn everything you need to know about that word, including definitions, example sentences, declensions, conjugations, and more.