Can Memrise help you learn Russian?

Can Memrise help you learn Russian?
08 June 2016

Nowadays, there are countless apps and websites claiming to hold the key to unlocking a foreign language. A quick google search will through up thousands of pages with titles like ‘Fluent In Three Weeks!’ – something as we know is, sadly, impossible. Today I’m going to talk about an app I have experience with using to practice my language skills and learn Russian – Memrise.

Memrise, much like Duolingo, is a game based app designed to help you learn languages. However, unlike Duolingo, Memrise focuses on memorisation and vocabulary. That means there are less exercises involving a large variety of sentences, and more involving set words, phrases, and endings. The app and website make no claim to teach you a language – it instead exists to help you learn and remember words and concepts you are already familiar with.

A reason I love using Memrise to consolidate my learning is because it allows you to input your own lists to be tested on – meaning you can focus only on your weak spots. The lists you make then become public and can be used by other learners, creating a shared database anyone can benefit from. However, this means there is more room for small mistakes, so keep aware you’re not memorising an incorrect spelling!

Another useful feature of Memrise is the ability to create images, called ‘Mems’, to help you remember new words. You can either upload your own, or simply use another user’s. These visual cues really help you with quick recall and can be based on your own ‘in jokes’ and references. The app recommends you create ‘Mems’  based around questions such as “what does this word make me think of?” and “what does it rhyme with?”.

While the main focus of Memrise is vocab, the memorisation aspect of it also really lends itself to rote memorisation of verb endings and case declensions – things it’s always useful to have at your fingertips.

So if you need a new way to revise for your Friday morning test, or simply want to brush up on your skills and learn Russian, Memrise is a really great site for doing so.

Feel free to add me on the app if you want to indulge your competitive side!

Elara Shurety is currently studying Russian and interning at Liden & Denz. 

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