When I started learning Russian, my friends would sit there and laugh at me. I always have questions such as, “Why did you learn Russian? It’s not useful” from many people, thrown at my face. Don’t worry about others though, because learning Russian is just as useful as learning French or Spanish, theoretically. If you want to learn Russian, and people ask you the same (or similar) question, you can reply using these 5 reasons:
1. You will be able to communicate with a lot of people
About 260 million of people around the world speak Russian, and Russian is the official language or second official language of 10 countries. Did you know that Russian is an important second language in Mongolia? If you can speak Russian, you will be able to connect with people from 10 different countries, and 10 different backgrounds. Russians are somehow reluctant to learn other Slavic languages. However, Russians are continuing to learn English since English is recognized as a business language. Still, there are some Russians who cannot speak English. If you can speak Russian, you will meet many people!
Did you know that Chris Hadfield can speak Russian?
Yes, so if you are interested in the aviation or space industry, learning Russian will benefit you. Many aircrafts and space stations are created in Russia.
2. You will be able to understand the Russian culture easier
Learning a language will expose you to the culture. While you listen to Russian music, you can understand what the singers are saying, and perhaps, make a connection with each song. While you are reading a passage in Russian you might learn something new about Russia. For example, the passage may be about how Russians contributed to World War II. Therefore, you will learn about the history, and the geography of the Soviet Union. Don’t you want to learn more about Yuri Gagarin’s tragic death? Or April 12th? Russia indeed has a long and rich history about becoming a cosmonaut!
3. You will be a target for many employers
People in the US are looking for people that can speak Russian to work in government agencies. There are also many jobs which require people to speak Russian online, and perhaps, you can become a worker at a Russian embassy with your profound Russian skills!
4. Learning other languages will come easier to you
For example, Ukrainian, Polish, or German (due to the grammar).
Let’s first compare the Russian and German grammar.
In Russian, there are 6 cases and 3 genders. While in German, there are 4 cases and 3 genders. The 3 genders are female, male and neuter. Learning Russian will help you learn German because you will have an understanding of the gender rules, and the conjugation of the case system. Russian and Ukrainian are not the same, but similar to each other. For example, “Good” is “хорошо”/“khorosho” in Russian, and “добре”/“dobre” in Ukrainian. Good morning in Russian is “доброе утро”/”dobroye utro“. As one can see, “доброе утро”/”dobroye utro” is similar to “добре”/“dobre”. Therefore, learning Ukrainian will come much easier!
There are also many similarities in the Russian and Polish language:
English / Russian / Polish:
- Who / “Kto” / Kto
- Hair / “Volosi” / Włosy
5. You will be able to interact with Russian Media
Russia is the second most used language on the internet. Therefore, there are a lot of Russian social media websites, and newspapers (which are published in the Russian language). Some social media websites can include Vkontakte, similar to Russian Facebook. You can sign up on various international social media sites using a Vkontakte account: for example, ask.fm. Also, you will be able to be exposed more to the Russian entertainment on vk since there are a lot of Russian singers, and a lot of news from Russia on that social media platform.
Now, what are you going to say when someone asks you about learning Russian? Russian is one of the most useful languages in the world, and definitely, a person will become successful after learning it. When I went on a trip to Detroit, an American citizen told me that “A person who knows how to speak Russian will be successful.” Russians are everywhere, from your local street to the news. Now, you know how to surprise them!
Text by Candice Zhang
Photos by Todd Prince