Why Russian should be the next language you learn!
As a university student, I have been studying Russian for almost three years now and I can honestly say that it has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Here are four reasons why Russian should be the next language you learn!
It’s one of the most widely spoken languages in the world
With around 258 million speakers throughout both Eastern Europe and Central Asia, (according to ‘Ethnologue Magazine‘), Russian is now the eighth most widely spoken language in the world and the official language of four countries including Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. It can also be found spoken in countries such as Ukraine, Estonia and Latvia, and there are significant Russian-speaking communities in Israel, the US and Finland.
A gateway to Slavic Languages
Once you master the Cyrillic alphabet and develop a basic understanding of the grammar and vocabulary of Russian, the language becomes a gateway to learning other Slavic languages such as Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Macedonian. A spoken history of Russia, or the previous Soviet Union, and it’s influence upon the development of Eastern Europe, a basic knowledge of Russian language provides a strong grounding for Latin-based languages such as Croatian, Polish and Czech.
Increasing political and economic significance
One of the official languages of the United Nations since 1945, the Russian language has always been one of political significance. Such significance has become increasingly relevant in the past decade not only in politics but also economics as Russian has became the second most widely used language online and can be found on 6% of websites, (according to W3Techs in 2013). A knowledge of Russian may prove to be useful for a future career within industries such as oil and gas, science and technology, or astronomy and business.
An insight into Russian, Soviet and Post-Soviet culture.
An understanding of the Russian language opens the door to a wide variety of authors and artists whose works cannot be done justice in translation. Authors such as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mikhail Lermontov and Chinghiz Aitmatov capture specific periods in Russian and Soviet history, best read in the original language. This also applies to Soviet films, which give viewers access to Russian-speaking creators throughout the Soviet Union, whose cultures often go under-represented in Western media. A great example of this is Soviet Sci-Fi, a genre which engages with periods of poignant social and political history throughout the Soviet Union.
Darcie Peters is a currently student of Russian language at Liden and Denz.