Today I begin learning Russian. You’d think I began months ago, and technically I did. I’ve got the alphabet in Evernote, and I also wrote it in a book of mine. But I haven’t done anything with it save glance at it wearily or in annoyance.
But today, I am officially…actively beginning to learn the language. As a part of my first lesson I googled ‘learn Russian’ and on Google’s suggestion ‘best way to learn Russian’. I decide to take a look at fluentin3months.com and I am surprised and motivated by their article. And also surprised by myself.
The article states that persons sometimes stay away from learning Russian due to because of the need to learn the characters. I understand that. It might seem daunting to some but I didn’t think that was my problem until I really thought about it.
My unfortunate problem, is apparently an old one. I am afraid, yet again, of failing. I see Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and (my love) Korean as fair game. I am okay with spending forever learning their alphabets. I’m not saying I have. I’m saying they don’t intimidate me. But Russian does, or did…
The difference between Russian and these other languages which do not use roman letters is that the Russian alphabet has letters which are similar in appearance to that of the roman alphabet which are sometimes similar in sound and sometimes very different. In Korean I’ve got to be careful with my vowels (아, 어, 에, 이, 오, 우, etc.) and sometimes my consonants. Not only can a mix up make the word incorrect, it can also make the word something else altogether. But that happens in English too, and thankfully context obliterates this worry in most cases, and someone is usually able to understand that there was a jumbling of the letters.
But it’s a little different…a lot different in Russian (or so I presume). Suppose I use confuse roman letters with the Russian (Cyrillic) letters? Then the word wouldn’t be incorrect based on it’s being spelled incorrectly in Russian. It simply wouldn’t be a word, and most likely the person I’m writing to or conversing with will be completely confused. It would basically be a bunch of hieroglyphs slapped together. So I…was afraid.
Luckily, I’m happy to report that of several articles I checked around the topic of “hardest languages for English Speakers”, Russian didn’t appear in the top 10 for any of them. It’s still considered easier than Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
Fortunately, the Internet is full of words which connects, illustrates, and diffuses among other things. And I’m a little arrogant. I don’t think I’m brilliant, but I do think I’m above average. So when I read on the site that Korean was easier than Russian. I was taken back. I’m learning Korean. It’s not that hard. Actually it isn’t difficult at all. Once you’ve got someone who understands your native language and Korean as well it’s as easy as it can get, and I tend to locate such people. (*whispers* because I’m a little slow. 🙂 Yes, that is contradictory. Enjoy it.) To be clear, I don”t mean someone who simply gets it. I’m referring to people who can fully explain concepts, in addition to the major and minor differences between native and foreign language.
This comparison of Russian to Korean bolstered my spirit. But that wasn’t all. I looked at the list of other languages, and noted that I wasn’t and am not, in the least, intimidate by any of the other languages, and then I began searching myself for the problem which we both are now aware. If I can learn Korean, I can Russian, right? I’ve just got to be less afraid of making those big blunders. The article even deals with my issue, and having read it I am relaxed, and ready to learn a new language.
한국어 ‘안녕히 가세요’다고 하지 않아서 그냥 러시아어 ‘안녕하세요’다고 해요. 배우는 것 기다릴 수 없오요. 재미있을 거예요. 지금 너무 행복해요.
I am not saying ‘Good bye’ to Korean, just saying ‘Hello’ to Russian. I can’t wait to learn. I t will be fun. I am happy extremely now.
Do forgive my lapse on last week’s post. Oddly enough I wrote a post, and had it edited. But it felt more personal and depressing than I could bear to share. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the zest to write anything else for any purpose whatsoever.