The very first piece of advice, I give to my students, is to listen to as much language as possible. The radio, movies, TV shows, people on the street and in the underground; every time you have a free minute, try to listen to Russian speech. However, it happens quite often that the student listens to a lot of language, but fails to understand what he or she is listening to. This happens because one should not just listen. You have to work on the audio piece. Here are some exercises you can do by yourself:
- Take a movie fragment (5–7 minutes) and try to imagine what the characters are talking about, while watching it in a mute mode. Then watch it again, but with sound switched on.
- Watch a movie fragment or listen to a part of a radio program. Write out all words, which are not familiar to you, and make up phrases with these words.
- Listen to the news in your native language and then in Russian.
- Listen to the audio books and write out unfamiliar words. Do not forget that live speech differs from the way the narrator is talking. When talking, people frequently shorten words or pronounce them in a messy manner. That is why you should watch movies and series, as well as listen to the radio interviews to perfectly understand spoken language.
- Try to transcribe every word from a short piece of a radio program (2–3 minutes).
I hope that these easy exercises will help you to better understand spoken Russian!