I'm looking for resources that use mnemonics for the Cyrillic script, so I can learn the writing system in less time.

There are several Cyrillic alphabets, but I am only interested in the Russian alphabet.

Are any such resources available? Digital or in print?

3 Answers 3


Learn to Read Russian in 15 Minutes by Peter Starr Northrop and Ryan Estrada uses a number of mnemonics. For example,

  • Д is a dancer,
  • Р is an R with a leg ripped off,
  • П is a podium that makes a p sound, etcetera.

The page is available under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike licence (CC BY-NC-SA).

  • 1
    It's a very good resource in an excellent style, but it has a couple of typos. 1. Russian "туй" is pronounced as "tooy", not "twee". 2. Mickey (as in Mickey Mouse) is typically spelled and pronounced as "микки", not "мыки".
    – Vitaly
    Sep 27, 2017 at 21:50
  • 1
    @Vitaly Thanks for pointing that out. Would you be willing to contact the creator of that resource?
    – Tsundoku
    Sep 28, 2017 at 18:41
  • 2
    I emailed the author.
    – Vitaly
    Sep 29, 2017 at 13:12
  • @Vitaly Great! Thanks.
    – Tsundoku
    Sep 29, 2017 at 14:40

Memrise has several courses that focus solely on the Russian alphabet and provides mnemonics plus the ability to add your own. Some are better than others so I suggest trying a few briefly before you settle on one that you like.

The "Speed Review" feature is also particularly suited to learning alphabets. You can learn the whole alphabet very fast just by running that a bunch of times.


I had previously learned the Greek alphabet before learning the Cyrillic one. Being able to mentally map Cyrillic letters to their corresponding Greek ones was helpful to me.

Г = Γ
Д = Δ
Л = Λ
П = Π
Р = Ρ
С = Σ
У = Υ
Ф = Φ
Х = Χ

If you see the Cyrillic С not as a weird version of the Roman C that somehow always sounds like an S, but see it as a Greek Sigma (Σ) that has been transformed from bent to curved, you are likely to remember it a bit better. Likewise, the Greek Delta (Δ) and Lambda (Λ) have been fancied out in Cyrillic by adding top bars that do not change the pronunciation of the character.

  • 2
    Also, C is an alternative form for Sigma in Greek, called a lunate sigma, because of its crescent shape. Sep 12, 2021 at 13:34
  • 1
    This is the way. Most of us are already familiar with the Greek alphabet after math classes, so that's an excellent starting point.
    – Trang Oul
    Oct 18, 2023 at 20:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.