The New Penguin Russian Course Review

Posted on May 5th, 2012

the new penguin russian course for beginnersIf you are interested in a good Russian language textbook or a self-study book, then read on. Today, I’ll review the New Penguin Russian Course, one of the best Russian language self-study books that I’ve come across while giving private lessons. The New Penguin Russian Course: A Complete Course for Beginners

is a Russian language textbook designed for self-study. Although, it was primarily designed for self-study, the great thing about it is that you can use it in combination with other textbooks as well as with your tutor.

The New Penguin Russian Course includes 30 lessons. Each lesson contains a step by step introduction to Russian alphabet, vocabulary and grammar for the beginners, with plenty of examples, interesting facts and exercises.


By the end of the 30th lesson you will learn fairly large vocabulary of over 1,500 Russian words. What I like about this book, is that it concentrates on building student’s vocabulary from the very first lesson and points out the most commonly used Russian words and expressions.

As you know, I’m all about the modern Russian language; this is why one of my favourite things about New Penguin Russian Course is that it teaches contemporary vocabulary. Although, you won’t find many slang words in it, the New Penguin Russian Course teaches some useful and commonly used vocabulary that will definitely help you to understand native Russian speakers better.


Another thing I liked about The New Penguin Russian Course is that introduces grammar in smaller chunks and with plenty of examples. You will learn how to use Russian grammar in conjunction with the freshly introduced words and expressions. By the end of the 30th lesson you will know sufficient amount of grammar to allow you to speak Russian correctly.


The New Penguin Russian Course offers plenty of practice. You will see exercises at the end of each lesson to help you practice grammar and vocabulary. You can always check your answers by referring to the answer keys at the back of the book, just make sure to refrain from peeking! You will also have a chance to review what you’ve learned every five lessons.

A Slight Downside

The only downside of this book is that unfortunately, it doesn’t come with tapes or CDs that would allow you to practice your Russian pronunciation. I hope that this is something that authors will consider in future editions. For now, here is my advice:

If you are a beginner and are planning on using The New Penguin Russian Course for self-study, I would certainly recommend finding a language exchange partner whose native language is Russian. You can teach her English and she will teach you Russian. Your can chat with your language exchange partner on Skype, Google + or any other video or audio chat platforms. Language exchange is free, and is a great way to practice your pronunciation. You can always find a study partner on or any other social networking sites.

Another way to learn the pronunciation of new words is by looking them up in electronic dictionaries or dictionaries online.

The Verdict

All in all, The New Penguin Russian Course is certainly a great start for a beginner. It helps to build vocabulary and grammar as well as practice translation, spelling and reading. The New Penguin Russian Course introduces the information in smaller chunks and gives you plenty of opportunities to practice. Another great thing about this self-study book is that it’s much smaller in size then most textbooks, this means that you can take it to the park with you, or read on a bus or a train. I certainly recommend The New Penguin Russian Course for anyone who would like to learn Russian language.

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The courses of Russian as a foreign language with Russian4real take place online via Skype. The teacher works with adults individually since he is convinced that each person must receive maximum time for practice and professional attention while learning a foreign language.