Russian Language Review

I've never had much aptitude or interest in foreign languages, so I must have been crazy when I decided to take Russian in college.


Russian had a reputation of being a particularly difficult language to learn, especially since it required learning a whole different alphabet. Still, I liked the sound of it, and I'd enjoyed reading Russian literature in translation, and the language had that whole "Dr. Zhivago" mystique to it.

The only foreign language I had any experience with, prior to college, was my two years of high school French. I hadn't enjoyed French, and I had no desire to take any more of it. (My pronunciation had always been terrible, and I had trouble remembering the gender of nouns, which I got around by slurring my articles -- a technique that worked marginally when speaking, but was no help at all in writing the language.) I had to take a college language, and French was definitely out. Russian it was!

Surprisingly, I found it nowhere near as difficult as I had expected. It is an amazingly phonetic language, for starters. It's very regular. Both adjectives and nouns have gender, which have to agree, but they tended to be, to me at least, pretty logical. The language generally doesn't use adjectives, which was a great blessing. (I'm told that I tended to stop using articles in my English speech as well, which must have made my conversation very weird indeed.)

I'll admit that, once I had my minimum requirement in, I was done with learning Russian, but for a foreign language, I found it not too bad to learn at all!

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