Updated: Oct 12, 2021
What Interlinear text is and why it is so effective for language learning
Learning any language requires you to constantly boost your vocabulary apart from discovering grammar topics. While flashcards are supposed to be the best tool to learn new vocabulary, they cannot help you with grammar. Grammar textbooks are too focused on teaching grammar and cannot help you develop your conversational skills. Therefore, the process of learning a new language can often take a lot of time and efforts as vocabulary and grammar are learned separately.
However, there is a very effective but underestimated method to learn new vocabulary and understand how a new language works. This method is based entirely on reading and is called "Interlinear method of reading". This is not a new method of learning languages. On the contrary, this method was largely used in the past and is still used to read bibles and learn Hebrew and Greek. Nevertheless, not so many people know about this method of reading and there are not so many Interlinear books for Russian language learners.
The principles of this Interlinear method are quite simple. The original text in a target language contain translation of each word (usually in English, but one can also find the translation in their native language). The key is not to give overall translation of the text, but of each and every word, including prepositions. Such texts look a bit strange when you read them for the first time as it is not always obvious to make connection between translation of separate words and to see the whole picture. But that is also an advantage of this method as it allows a person to analyze the text, make some deductions and to see how a target language works in terms of word order.
Advantages of Interlinear method for learning Russian language:
1) New words are usually repeated throughout the text which makes it easy to learn them in various contexts;
2) It helps to learn some basic grammar naturally by analysing some key patterns and word order;
3) It trains your reading skills that are very important to form your speaking skills;
4) It is a pleasant way to read texts in your target language without wasting time on looking up every new word in a dictionary;
5) This method can be used at any level of proficiency: from beginners to advanced students.
This method of reading is a very powerful tool to learn Russian language (and any other languages). The only disadvantage is that you cannot rely only on this method to learn a new language as it cannot train your listening, speaking and writing skills.
If you are interested to learn more about Interlinear texts, I recommend you to watch the following video with a funny and easy Russian story with Interlinear text (Russian-English).
You can download a PDF file with this story and a Russian cartoon based on this story (with dual subtitles in Russian and English) here.
Easy story in slow Russian (Interlinear Russian Text)
Hello! My name is Mila and I am a founder of Hack Your Russian language platform. You can find me here:
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