Thanks to the internet, you get to experience new cultures, music, and literature from the comfort of your home. You can make pen-pals across the Atlantic while sitting in New York.
And that's the reason more Americans are opting to learn new languages. The digital grid has brought us all closer, as it has gotten much easier to communicate.
Now, there are many bilingual and even multilingual people in America. If you're looking to jump on the multilingual wagon, try to choose a language that would lead to personal growth!
Though many would suggest Spanish or French, it doesn't quite set you apart from the crowd. One language that would make your skillset unique and lead to professional growth is Russian.
It is the second most used language on the internet after English. That explains its popularity!
It's the eighth most spoken language globally, with 155 million speakers, and is actively used in Russia, Central Asia, and Ukraine, among others.
Most Russian-Americans aren't well-versed in their native language like other immigrants. It can be hard to find fluent Russian speakers locally. But you don't have to go around searching Google for "Russian lessons near me."; instead, visit Superprof.
What Makes Russian Interesting?
Living in the States, some languages have had a pervasive influence on our language and culture.
If you're in Houston, it's not uncommon to hear Spanish phrases mixed in daily speech. Additionally, If you go to the Midwest, you may notice hints of German and Scandinavian being spoken.
Russian has not had a noticeable influence on our country's culture because many Americans have preconceived notions about the Russian language.
However, there has been a gradual shift in people's interest in Russian. Yet, there are still some who would need to be convinced, so let's take a look at why Russian is a fascinating language to learn:
The Cyrillic Script
The first thing that's bound to catch your eye when learning Russian is the unique Cyrillic script.
The exotic-looking symbols and alphabets might throw you off. However, it's not a completely different writing system, like Arabic or Chinese.
If you inspect closely, you can draw many similarities between the English and Russian script. And we're not talking about the backward "R."
Out of the 31 letters, 7 have roughly the same sound as in English. You'll find "a," "e," "t," "o," among others.
If you've taken high school math and dealt with Greek symbols, you'll find it even easier to grasp the script.
Consequently, The Cyrillic script is descended from the Greek alphabet. In the ninth century, the missionary St Cyril adopted the Greek alphabet to incorporate the South Slavic dialect, giving birth to the Cyrillic script!
To this day, the Cyrillic script is used to write the Orthodox scripture — Old Church Slavonic. It was then modified to fit other languages such as Ukrainian and Belorussian.
If you've mastered the Cyrillic script, you can learn how to speak Russian and several other languages in the former Soviet Union, such as Ukrainian, Kazakh, and even Mongolian.
To find a teacher near you in Chicago, New York, or wherever else you may be in the States, use Superprof!
Russia Is A Tourist's Fantasy
Russian happens to be the language of the largest country in the world; it covers about one-eighth of the world's landmass and nine time zones.
If you learn the language, it will make it easier for you to talk your way through the country!
Not to say that you would be completely lost without it, if you plan to live around Moscow or St. Petersburg, you may find people who speak English or someone who can translate.
But if you're venturing out into the countryside, English will get you nowhere. You must learn to speak Russian!
There's a lot to see in provincial Russia, from small villages that rise out of the woods to Soviet-built industrial towns. Many tourists stick to the big cities in the western half of the country for the bustling nightlife.
However, you haven't seen true Russia until you've been to the hinterlands, Siberia, or the Caspian coast. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find English-speaking locals here.
The Boston accent is different from the standard American accent, the same way various cities in Russia have their unique slang and dialects. But if you happen to know standard Russian, you can navigate the country with comfort!
Provincial Russia is a treasure trove of tradition and history, where you'll get to meet numerous interesting people with unique stories to tell. But like we mentioned, you'll be as good as a mute there if you can't speak in their language!
You'll find that the biggest reward of learning Russian is the ability to connect with locals more intimately — singing the Kalinka with the locals, having a drink with a WWII war veteran, or hunting with locals in Siberia.
For the average western tourist, Russia is familiar in the sense that it's a European country. You will find many similarities with other Eastern European countries, in the form of diet, climate, architecture, religion, and infrastructure.
But at the same time, Russia also offers uncharted experiences. You will get to see the Orthodox churches like never before, an experience you can only participate in if you speak the local language!
American cities like LA are glistening examples of capitalism and wealth. On the other hand, Russian culture is influenced by decades of communism and state rule.
Russia took European ideals and made them their own, and their language is a testament to that. Some important terms from Communist Russia are only best described in Russian, such as glasnost and khrushchovka.
Russian Is A Melodic Language
All languages are beautiful. But some languages are sweeter to the ears than others. You must have often heard people extolling the melody of the French language.
Well, many English speakers also find Russian intriguing and melodic in its unique way.
Phonetically speaking, some sounds are quintessentially Russian, such as the zh, ch, sh, and ts sounds.
These palatal sibilant sounds are typically Slavonic, and you'd find it in Polish and Czech as well. There are contrasts between soft (palatized) and hard (velarized) consonants.
A little practice with your Russian teacher will help you perfect the intricacies of these sounds.
Russian, like English, is a stress-timed language. What it means is that certain syllables are stressed over others, giving the language its unique prosody.
And for those who appreciate music, Russian has a history of musical incorporation. A great reason to learn Russian is that it will expose you to traditional folk music.
You will find some of the most extensive Orthodox hymns and chants, as well as more recent church renditions, in Russian. Additionally, Russia also prides itself on its orchestral and classical musical tradition.
Learning Russian can offer a new dimension to your engagement with Russian opera, orchestra, and folk music. That's not to say you won't find modern Russian pop, electronic and fusional music blaring from nightclubs!
Russian Literature And Film
Russians take their literature very seriously. If you thought "War and Peace" is all there is to Russian literature, you couldn't be more wrong!
Russia has a strong literary scene, going back all the way to pre Tsarist times. You might notice that poetry is much more pervasive in Russian national consciousness than in the United States.
Russian literature did take a hit during Soviet times when censorship was common. But the literary scene in contemporary, post-Soviet times has bounced back with vigor. You'll find that modern Russian literature has a strong "realist" touch to it.
Literature and politics have heavily influenced Russian history. If you're educated on the history of communism, you know Russia happens to be the land where it all began.
It doesn't matter if you agree with the ideology; it is beneficial to learn what has driven Russian foreign policy!
Furthermore, Some people learn to speak Russian because they want to experience Bolshevik literature in its true essence. Translated works don't quite do justice to the original pieces.
Also, Russians have always been fond of visual arts, using it for politics and entertainment!
There was a bustling cinematography scene even during the Tsarist times. And after the Bolsheviks took power, they utilized the camera to spread their message across the country!
Additionally, education in Russian cinema is a necessary part of film studies all over the world.
Some of the top Russian cinema works are from the early Soviet years, which are best enjoyed in their original Russian dialogue and without subtitles.
Soviet Russia has also produced some great arthouse directors like Andrei Tarkovsky. After the fall of the Soviet Union, filmmakers have bounced back by creating great quality cinema.
You can always catch Russian films at various film festivals and institutes around the country. Or maybe help your Russian teacher organize a screening of Russian classics for the class?
Films are a great way to learn any new language, and they help to motivate learners!
Russian Lessons Near You In The States
If that wasn't enough to inspire you, watch a Russian classic, and you will know for yourself.
You could be in Philadelphia or anywhere else and still gain access to world-class Russian lessons from a native speaker, at your own pace.
Start the process today by choosing Superprof!
Superprof allows you to learn Russian from the comfort of your home. You can choose from a range of Russian teachers and set up classes according to your schedule. Russian lessons in the States have never been easier.