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Is Russian an easy language to learn?

The answer to this question depends on:

  • Your native language

  • Your reasons for learning

  • Your environment and motivation

But the general facts are listed below.


Russian Pronunciation is easy

After spending one hour on making yourself familiar with the Russian Alphabet, you will be ready to read Russian fluently. The mistakes you are likely to make without studying any further will not be crucial. Although there are a couple of rules that will help you sound like a native speaker, the pronunciation itself is quite simple. Russian does not vary much from one region to another, it is more or less the same on all its 17.000.000 square kilometers. Follow these easy steps to sound natural:

  • Learn to pronounce the “ы” letter, and then substitute all the hard unstressed vowels in a word with it. Russians do not articulate their letters much. The shape of the mouth stays almost the same no matter what you are pronouncing.

  • Do not exaggerate the pronunciation of any consonants at the end of a word. “б” will always become “п”, “в” - “ф”, “г” - “к,” “д” - “т”, “з” - “с”. Is there a way to remember these pairs? No! And there is no need to. Once you stop trying too hard to make every sound matter - you will get there.

  • Learn to pronounce the letter “ц”. It is actually quite easy. Say “ts” very fast. Now faster. Now even faster. And you got it! You cannot speak Russian until you get this letter right. We say it a lot.

  • Love the letter “p”. Russian do not actually roll their R’s all the time, but we can. And if we can - you should, too.

And that is it! There are no more complications to the Russian pronunciation. It is as easy as it gets.

If you cannot read Russian yet, watch this video and learn to read in 20 minutes.

The verb “to be” is not used in the present Tense

Yes, we simply omit it. The word “to be” (“быть”) does exist, but not in the Present Tense. So we simply put words one after another without connecting them with the help of “to be”. So, we say things like “You American” and “It good” and “My coffee black”. Does it solve the mystery of why Russian usually forget auxiliary verbs when they speak English?

Word order is totally up to you

Talking about putting words one after another. In Russian the word order does not exist. We have no rules that tell us where to put our words in a sentence. No rules what-so-ever. It is totally up to you. Mainly depending on what you are trying to emphasize. So, very soon you will be hearing and saying things like “I am going shopping now,” or “Shopping am going now I.” Go ahead and play with the word order. In no time you will just feel the beauty of it.

The tense system is easy

We have three tenses in Russian - Present, Past and Future. And nothing else. Three grammatical tenses reflecting the three logical tenses in life. It is either something has happened, something is happening or something will happen. No need to overcomplicate it. In Russian you will never need to worry whether “had will have placed” is the correct tense for “something would have happened in the future of a past that was affected by something from the future” (The Big Bang Theory).

There is an abundance of borrowed word

Russian has developed more in the past 10-15 years than it did in 200 years before that. And although the Russian language is not very keen on borrowing words, we ended up adopting a wide vocabulary from English. So we, too, have “чизкейк”, “компьютер”, “стриптиз”, “мюзикл”, “милкшейк”, “интернет”, and “блог”.

The takeaway here is that every language has its complications and its simplicities. When it comes to Russian, its peculiarities do not coincide with those of English. But if they did, where would the fun be?

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