As you may be aware, I am learning Russian and it is taking me a long time. One of my biggest difficulties (aside from Writing, Reading, Listening and Speaking) is memorising the new vocabulary. Some months ago I spent significant time memorising numbers in Russian up to 1000 and I find today that I can't recall them precisely. Not to worry. Повторение -- мать ученья. (Repetition is the mother of learning.)
I've spent my commuting time drilling verbs, nouns and adjectives. There is nothing better to do on a C2C train in the autumn - trust me.
This method of memorising verbs is probably the best I've come across. If you don't know what a verb is or you are not interested in Russian, you can probably stop reading now.
- Learn the infinitive. Obviously.
- Learn the я and the ты forms.
- From the ты form, you can usually deduce the он, мы and вы forms. The vowel in the ending will almost always be the same.
- For the 1st conjugation (е, ё in the ending) the они form will be -ют after a vowel and -ут after a consonant.
- For the 2nd conjugation (и in the ending) the они form the ending will be -ят. The spelling rules apply so after ж, ч, ш and щ it will be -ат.
- (The past tenses can usually be deduced from the infinitive.)
- (There are number of irregular verbs that just need to be learnt by heart.)
Let's run through this with жить, to live.
- Learn the infinitive. It is жить.
- Learn the я and the ты forms. They are: живу and живёшь.
- Deduce the other forms from the ты form. Here we have -ёшь so: живёт, живём and живёте.
- This is the 1st conjugation and в is a consonant so: они живут.
Similarly with the verb знать, to know.
- Learn the infinitive. It is знать.
- Learn the я and the ты forms. They are: знаю and знаешь
- Deduce the other forms from the ты form. Here we have -ешь so: знает, знаем and знаете.
- This is the 1st conjugation and а is a consonant so: они знают.
And finally with the verb смотреть, to watch.
- Learn the infinitive. It is смотреть.
- Learn the я and the ты forms. They are: смотрю and смотришь
- Deduce the other forms from the ты form. Here we have -ишь so: смотрит, смотрим and смотрите.
- Not 1st conjugation.
- This is the 2nd conjugation so: они смотрят.