Russian Dolls

A beginner’s introduction to Russian

Module details

  • Offered to 1st Years
  • Tuesdays 16.00-18.00
  • Planned delivery: On campus (South Kensington)
  • 2 term module worth 7.5 ECTS
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

A communicative module for absolute beginners offering an introduction to the language and culture of Russia.

This module aims:

  • To give students with no previous knowledge of Russian a basic knowledge of the language consisting of a fairly wide range of vocabulary and familiarity with the basic structures of the language
  • To familiarize student with the Russian Cyrillic alphabet, both printed and cursive i.e. hand-written
  • To develop the fundamental language skills, i.e. reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • To offer students an insight into Russian culture and contemporary daily life in Russia

To be eligible for this module you should have had either no or very little previous experience of learning Russian.

Please note: This module is currently undergoing minor modifications and is therefore subject to change. 

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

Moscow City This module will equip you with the ability to:

  • Conduct a simple conversation about yourself, home and family
  • Give information on and enquire about professions, studies and other personal details
  • Talk about your preferences
  • Talk about hobbies and sports 
  • Talk about literature and music
  • Discuss holidays and travel 
  • Discuss work experience
  • Describe your future plans

Indicative core content

Red Square Basic linguistic structures to include:

  • The present tense of the first and second conjugations
  • Indeclinable nouns
  • The nominative, accusative, genitive and prepositional singular, and the nominative and accusative plural of nouns
  • The nominative, accusative, genitive and prepositional singular, and the nominative and accusative plural of adjectives
  • The nominative and accusative of personal pronouns
  • The numbers 1-100,000
  • The interrogative particle li


  • Personal details
  • College and subjects studied
  • Parents and family members
  • Meal-times and staple foods
  • Hobbies and sports
  • Interests in literature and music
  • Holidays
  • Career plans

Learning and teaching approach

Weekly in-class activities cover reading, writing, listening and speaking. Learning will involve pair work, group work, and individual tasks and will include critical evaluation of texts, audio and video material. A range of weekly homework tasks give you the opportunity to revise and consolidate knowledge and skills.

All pieces of coursework are marked and returned within two weeks. Detailed feedback is provided for each individual section of the coursework, giving the correct answer along with suggestions for improvement.  Generic feedback on each individual piece of coursework is also provided in class.


  • Coursework: Script, guided writing and integrated grammar (15%)
  • Examination: 1 hour written examination including grammar, reading and guided writing approx. 80 words (20%)
  • Coursework: Listening and comprehension  (20%)
  • Examination: 1-hour written examination including integrated grammar and free writing approx. 120 words (20%)
  • Practical: 10-12 minute Oral Exam - including presentation and unprepared dialogue (25%)

Key information

  • 7.5 ECTS points awarded on successful completion of the module.
  • Available to take for credit towards your degree where your department allows. Also available for extra-credit.
  • You must be prepared to attend all classes and and undertake approximately 3 hours of private study each week in addition to the assessment.

Coursebook:  Anna S. Kudyma, Frank J. Miller, Olga E. Kagan, Beginner’s Russian with Interactive Online Workbook. A Basic Russian Course  (Hippocrene Books, Inc., New York, 2010, 5th printing, 2015), Chapters 1-11. ISBN-13: 978-0-7818-1251-1 (pbk.)

Additional materials: The instructional film General'skaia dochka (made in Russia and produced by S.D. Cioran and Alexander Tarkaev, McMaster University, Hamiliton, Ont.)

"Great and well-balanced course, extremely rewarding progress despite the relatively low workload"