There are many reasons to learn Russian. It is the 8th most spoken language in the world with around 200 million speakers in 16 countries. It is also learned as a second language in much of Eastern Europe. To put that in perspective, French – the 6th on the list, has only around 20 million more speakers. You will be able to speak to a lot of people if you learn Russian!
Russia, officially named the Russian Federation, is geographically the largest sovereign nation in the world. It spans nine time zones and covers around ⅛ of the world’s land surface. Around 150 million people live in Russia making it the 9th most populated country in the world.
So, we know Russia is big and there are a lot of people who speak Russian in the world. What other reasons are there to learn Russian?
11 Reasons to Learn Russian
1. Fewer Russians speak English
Have you ever gone on vacation somewhere in Western Europe. You decide to try to speak their language only to find that almost everyone speaks English with you? Disappointing right? But this is less likely to happen to you in a Russian speaking country because only around 5% speak English.
2. Stand out in a crowd
Many of us have learned a second language in school, the most typical being French, Spanish and German here in the United States. Many universities offer Russian, but not that many students choose to take it. I assume that is because of the alphabet in many cases. Nevertheless, you will be like a big fish in a small pond if you are one of the few who know how to speak it.
3. Travel with ease
Since very few Russians speak English, you are unlikely to find any signs written in the Latin alphabet. This can make travelling in a Russian speaking country very difficult if you don’t know the language.
4. It isn’t as hard as you think
I have always wanted to learn Russian, but the Cyrillic alphabet scared me. I thought that learning a language like French or Spanish was already difficult enough without having to learn all new letters. But as I got into the advanced levels of my studies, I had to learn the phonetic alphabet, and it wasn’t that hard! Learning the Cyrillic alphabet isn’t that difficult either! With some practice and dedication, you can learn the 33 letters and move on to the real challenges!
5. Understand an amazing culture
If you have ever learned another language, you know that it is linked to culture. A language is influenced by the culture that speaks it and vice versa. By learning Russian, you will be able to truly appreciate the culture. You will be able to read the great Russian literature and gain a deeper understanding of it and the culture that produced it, for example.
6. It is a beautiful language
Russian is a lot like German in that people think it is a harsh language, but it really isn’t. Listen to the person speaking Russian as a second language in this video for an idea of how it sounds. As a matter of fact, Russian poetry is considered to be some of the most beautiful in the world.
7. Open doors to learn other Slavic languages
Russian is a Slavic language. Learning Russian can help set you up to learn Ukrainian, Belorussian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Polish, Czech, and Slovak. These languages all use either the Cyrillic or Modified Latin alphabet.
8. It is making a come-back as a world power
Russia is a resource based economy and so it was not affected as much by the recent world financial crisis. It is estimated that 50% of the natural gas used in Europe will be controlled by Russia by the year 2030. There is also talk in the region of forming a Eurasian Union with surrounding former members of the USSR which would help it continue to increase its economic and military importance. Even NASA relies on Russia to transport astronauts to the International Space Station!
9. Increase business opportunities
Russia is one of the largest producers of natural materials in the world. This includes natural gas, petroleum, copper, gold, silver, platinum, diamonds, and more. In fact, Russia’s oil reserves are second only to Saudi Arabia. If you learn Russian, you would be a great asset to companies that do business in any of these areas.
10. Work for the US government
Russian has been designated as a priority language and there are many federal agencies in need of Russian speakers. This includes the FBI, CIA, FCC, and Homeland Security, just to name a few.
11. Gain a sense of accomplishment
Learning a new language can be difficult and Russian is said to be one of the hardest languages for English speakers to learn. Imagine what a great accomplishment learning it would be!