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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Why is Russian So Hard to Learn?


For hundreds of years, Russia was a closed society.  In my opinion, her language played a large part in keeping outsiders out, and insiders in.

The mere fact that Russian words have an average of 32.5 syllables per word is daunting enough.  Add to it, the Cyrillic alphabet, and a boiling bowl of borsh, and you’ll be up the creek in no time.  (Or, down the river, in the case of most of Russia.)

Let’s give some examples of the friendliness factor in world languages, for instance, how to say hello.  In French, we say, “Bonjour”–two syllables.  In Italian, we say, “Buon giorno”–three syllables.  In Russian, we say “Zdrast’vweetyeh”–45 syllables.  Do you see a pattern emerging?

The Russian language could be likened to a secret society meeting up with a people given to science and engineering.  The complex case endings and perplexing pronunciations could only result from such a sinister scenario.  Mix in the exile to the gulag, or torture treatments, and you’ll see why learning Russian is so tortuous.

In all world languages, we know about basic verb conjugations:  I go, you go, he goes, she goes… but nouns?

Da, Russian declines nouns, so if I am walking the dog, looking at the dog, or if I am with the dog, the ending of the word “dog: would change  in each case.  Except that dog is “sabaka” in Russian, so “dog” would not change at all.

Are the muddy waters becoming clearer now?

To gain true mastery of the Russian language would equal an attempt to take over the world.  Language domination and world domination go hand-in-hand.  As a case in point, have you heard of the number of nations teaching English as opposed to any of a handful reaching out for rudimentary Russian?  Even the former Soviet satellite states such as Georgia are bringing in English teachers by the boatloads to supplant Russian as their state-sponsored secondary language.

In so many ways, language defines us:  the happy and musical sounds of Spanish, the serious and abrupt staccatos of German, the Gaelic lilt, the Chairman’s chopped Chinese.  Russian could be termed to be complex and incomprehensible, and it’s all by design, I say.

World domination:  you heard it here first.  The Russians want to keep you out.

The Chinese want to draw you in:  “Ni hao.”   Same objective, different strategy.

And the happy thought for the day:  my family is perfectly poised for world domination. How about yours?

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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Maria says:

    well, actually “Zdrast’vweetyeh” (????????????, pronounced as Zdrastvuite) has only 3 syllables: ?????-?????-??. In russian, a syllable means one vowel and no matter how many consonants.
    And you can use another words when greeting, not this the most complicated one, for ex. ?????? (Privet, 2 syllables).
    And if you say Chinese is simple to learn, i’m telling you, you’ve never learned it. Characters, 5 tones, a structure of typical isolating language, hem… At least 5-7 years to speak fluently.
    Learning foreign languages is never easy.

  2. avatar Andrey says:

    Maria is indeed correct. I don’t like this post very much, for a person looking for some insight into the Russian language may be turned off by reading this and may even pass off this information as fact–believe me, I’ve seen it happen. This is how modern myths begin. Perhaps a disclaimer somewhere to indicate that this information is false?

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