Learning the Russian language and interesting facts
How much do we know about the Russian language? We have been studying Russian for all our lives. But do we think about its significance from the standpoint of a foreigner? We have seen great interest in the Russian language from foreigners due to the Football World Cup. Despite the growing interest of the Russian-speaking population in foreign languages, only 5.5% can speak English quite well. That is why foreigners try to learn Russian at least at a basic level for travelling or business purposes. And what is another way to go to the Baikal– Amur Mainline, if no one understands English in some places? Some interesting facts about the Russian language: More than 260 million people around the world speak Russian.
Russian is the official language in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and very common in other countries. These are the Indo-European languages of the Slavic group and the Eastern subgroup of languages. Russian is the most geographically widespread language in Eurasia. The language uses an alphabet based on the Cyrillic alphabet. For those who really want to learn Russian, there is a long road ahead and many obstacles, as in any other language, and even more. The first difficulty is the Cyrillic alphabet which the absolute majority of speakers are not familiar with. But the Russian language is not just Cyrillic. We, Russian-speakers, have many interesting linguistic skills – this article is the collection of the most interesting skills that are available to native speakers of Russian and for those who have already begun to learn it.
1. Correct pronunciation of the letter "ы"
"Ы" is a problem for many foreigners who study Russian. If you need to explain this sound in English, the closest English sound is "ee", but it is not done largely with the palate, but with the throat. During the utterance of the sound, your interlocutor will feel a slight vibration in the larynx. This sound can be made accidentally if you hit yourself in the stomach – but this is a method as a last resort! The good news for Turkish speakers is that "ы" in Russian and Turkish is the same. But for the rest it will be a little problematic...
2. The 6 Cases in Russian Grammar
English has largely lost its inflected case system, but in some languages they are still actively used, and for the Russian language cases are very important. First, there are 6 cases in Russian: Nominative, Accusative, Dative, Genitive, Instrumental and Prepositional. Secondly, although there are no articles in Russian (unlike in German), but there is Adjective and nouns declension according to a particular case. Foreigners are especially frightened by the realization that their names will have different endings depending on the case. But it can be even worse, for example, in the Tsez, also known as Dido language – there are 24 cases! 3. The word order in a sentence is a mess Cases are so important for the Russian language that the word order is not fixed, because the main meaning of the sentence is conveyed through the cases. If your interlocutors speak a language with a strict word order in a sentence (for example, as in German), a b-i-i-ig surprise is waiting for them! 😄 However, the problems with word order in sentences in the Russian language is a myth. It makes learning even more difficult, because native speakers pronounce many words by inspiration rather than by rules.
4. Terms of endearment and more!
If you've ever read "War and Peace", a novel by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, you've probably noticed that each of the characters has at least 2 variants of the name. Natasha – Natalia, Sonya – Sofiia, Kolya – Mykola. For foreigners, these are 2 completely different names, but we know that this is just a formal and informal variants. And this is just the beginning! Welcome to the strange and at the same time wonderful world of terms of endearment! Kateryna becomes Katenka, Katyusha, Katyushechka. It is very difficult for foreigners to understand what variant is appropriate, because some names are for the public, and some only for loved ones.
5. Many meanings for the same word
One of the first verbs of the Russian language for foreigners should be the verb of movement, analogous to "to go". But the Russian language is not as simple as it seems! Usually teachers give students at least a few simple verbs, Because the diversity of Russian verbs can make your head spin. Why? Because the verb "to go" is to go, to go, to depart, to leave and many others. Verbs of movement in the Russian language are very rich in prefixes and suffixes for the same root word. If it is obvious and simple for us, for a beginner it may seem utter darkness.
6. Unspeakable sound "ь" and mysterious "ъ"
Analogues of "almost soundless letters" are in many languages, but only Russian and a few Cyrillic languages have a letter without sound at all. Soft sign and hard sign are important indicators of how to pronounce some words in Russian. They denote a softening or firmer pronunciation with a separation from the previous consonant. Once upon a time, "ь" still had its own sound, similar to the breath of "хь", but over the centuries it has become only a phonetic indicator. (The letter Ъ (italics Ъ, ъ) of the Cyrillic script is known as er golyam ("big er") in the Russian alphabet, the hard sign.)
7. Blue is not just blue
In most languages there is only one word for denoting a palette of blue shades, in English - "blue", in German "blau". In Russian there are blue and dark blue depending on the shade. Due to this, we know much more shades of blue than, for example, native speakers of English.