If you’re reading this, then you’re probably already considering learning Russian and I guess it’s our job to convince you why that’s such a good idea. Russian is a useful language to learn for lots of reasons and we’ve listed several below.
If you’re not familiar with the Russian language, it’s an east slavic language that belongs to the greater indo-european family of languages and it’s an official language in Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
So let’s have a look at some reasons why you might want to consider learning Russian:
Why learn Russian?
Russian is one of the official languages of the UN, along with Chinese, English, Spanish, French and Arabic. So if you want to work for the UN, choosing Russian would put you at an advantage, as a lot of English speakers know Spanish or French, but far fewer can speak Russian, Chinese or Arabic.
There are approximately 166 native Russian speakers and around 267 million speakers, making Russian the seventh most spoken language in the world. This is useful for you when finding a language partner, and with websites like italki, you don’t even need to go to Russia to find yourself a language partner.
Improve your career opportunities
Russia has the 12th highest GDP in the world. Although not in the top ten, this still makes Russian a highly useful language to learn for business.
Any company trading or dealing with Russian will require Russian speakers, and to have a native who can speak Russian is always going to be wanted. Even if you don’t use Russian directly in your work, learning a language that difficult shows you’re an intelligent person, who likes a challenge and can see something through to the end.
Being able to speak Russian will always be attractive to an employer regardless of the role.
It helps you to learn other languages
Russian can be a gateway language to the slavic languages.
Slavic languages are very similar, someone who speaks Russian can normally understand someone speaking Ukrainian and vice versa. Meaning when you learn Russian you’re not only learning to communicate with people from Russia but from other Slavic countries too.
It’s also very similar to Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian and Czech, meaning that even if you couldn’t understand a person speaking those languages, it would make learning one of them a lot easier.
Set yourself apart
Let’s face it, not that many people choose Russian as their second language. If you learn Russian you’re setting yourself apart from the majority of other English speakers. Both in terms of your hobbies and your potential job prospects.
And even if the career you choose doesn’t require Russian, no employer is going to see being able to speak Russian as a negative, and you never know where it could help you in your future career.
Great language if you want to become a spy
It might sound like we’re joking, but we’re actually not. If you want to work in the secret service, Russian is one of the languages you should learn. Even today, with the cold war over and the soviet union broken down, the secret services in the UK and the USA still look for Russian translators, and they pay really highly as well.
Learn it to travel in Russia
Sure, if you stick to the tourist areas and companies who specialise with foreigners then you don’t really need to learn Russian when you’re travelling through Russia. But if you want to go to more local restaurants or talk to people from the country then you’re probably going to need to learn a bit of Russian.
English levels aren’t that high in Russia outside of the tourist industry, politics and international businesses. So if you want to speak to people and get a real feel for the country, then learning some level of Russian is probably going to be necessary. It will give you a much more rewarding experience and you’ll see a more real side to the culture, than just what’s available at the tourist attractions.
It’s a challenge
You could probably say this about learning any language but learning Russian is definitely a challenge. It’s a difficult language, especially for English speakers, as it uses a different alphabet, phonemes that we would struggle with and different grammar rules.
Learning Russian is hard, and if you stick with it and manage to do it, then it’s definitely going to be an achievement that you’re proud of and that you know you worked hard to get. And let’s face it, because of this if you tell anyone you speak Russian, you know they’re going to be impressed. And although that’s not why we learn languages, it’s still a nice feeling.
The Cyrillic alphabet is relatively easy to learn
Compared to other writing systems, like Japanese, Arabic or Chinese, the Cyrillic alphabet isn’t actually that difficult to learn. You could probably learn it in a day if you concentrated hard, spent a couple of hours on it and then practise it.
Compare that to Chinese characters, and the Cyrillic alphabet is like a walk in the park.
Reasons not to learn Russian
Although these are reasons you might not want to consider learning Russian, we truly believe that reasons to learn this language outweigh the reasons not to. These are just some of the things you might want to be aware of before you start out on your language learning journey.
The conjugation is a nightmare. You think conjugation in French or Spanish is bad? Then you’re going to get a shock when you start trying to learn Russian conjugation; they conjugate everything! Word order is less important in Russian than in English because the suffixes and prefixes added to words give it the meaning and indicate who did what.
We hope you like our reasons of why learn Russian, and we hope we’ve helped convince you, that Russian is the language for you.
Now that we’ve managed to convince you, why not take a look at the best Russian textbooks available to get you started.
If you’ve learned Russian, or you’re thinking about it, or even if you’ve decided not to learn it, let us know about your experiences in the comments below. We always want to hear what you think and if you have something you think ought to be added to our list, then even better!