The learning software 101 Languages of the World contains the same lessons for over 100 languages. Not only can you learn to speak Russian, German, Spanish, French, Italian or Japanese, but also less-common languages like Icelandic, Esperanto or Swahili. English and non-English speakers alike can learn Russian with this software.
Although the interface looks a little outdated, the navigation is easy to figure out. The interface is divided into five tabs: theater, reading, activities, pronunciation and conversation. Each tab contains different activities to exercise a different aspect of your language skills. The theater tab uses images and text with Russian words. As the words appear on the reading screen, you associate the image with the word. If you like games, the activities tab is where you’ll spend most of your time. The interactive games include crossword puzzles, word dictation, plug-and-play and unscrambling games.
The reading tab caught the most of our attention. This section gives you a segment, word and phrase meaning as the software reads aloud. We found it hard to follow both Russian and English at the same time, and the robotic narrator makes it tricky to stay engaged. Most of the subjects involve travel and getting around in a Russian-speaking country. While this is a great way to acclimate yourself to Russian pronunciation, you won’t learn to read Cyrillic from this section. All the words are Romanized and spelled phonetically. So, instead of the Cyrillic spelling, you may see ZsDRAss-vOY-chA. While this is a definite disadvantage if you want to read Russian, the capitalized stresses help you learn spoken Russian.
The software also has a full vocabulary available to teach you 1,500 to 5,000 extra Russian words and phrases. You can find grammar and mechanics help to learn concepts and terminology. The Grammar Window provides additional examples to the ones you see in the software for items like parts of speech, sentence structure and gender conjugations.
The Russian language software in 101 Languages of the World is an awesome product for globetrotters. Not only can you learn Russian survival phrases for getting around, you can also learn other common and uncommon languages. Because this program supports so many languages, though, you won’t get an expert course for any of them. You get some grammar and mechanics help with this program, but it’s not a stand-alone product if you want to learn Russian reading or writing.