Russian language is hard.
If you agree if the above statement, it is a common sentiment, and you are not alone for feeling this way. I would be lying if I said that it is easy because no one says it is (even a native could have some issues with the language itself)!
Russian language has earned its reputation as a difficult language to learn. When I was a beginner who was learning the Russian language, I was intimidated by the cyrillics and the way words are pronounced and expressed very differently in that language.
Let's look on the brighter side of things, Russian language is still not as difficult as you think it is. If you are an English speaking person, Russian is still easier than Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, or Arabic. Some of you might beg to differ but this is only my point of view, and I will share more about that in my future entries.
But for now, let's head on straight to the topic!
10 reasons why Russian is not as hard as you think
Reason Один (1):
Russian pronunciation is easy.
Every letter has only one way of pronouncing it. You only need to mind the tone of either hard or soft. Once you get the basic sounds of all the letters, you are good to go. And there are very few exceptions to worry about.
Reason Два (2):
There is no article in the Russian language!
Reason Три (3):
Cyrillics are alphabets just like English. But some of those alphabets are similar to English alphabets and some of them do sound alike. Check out my other blog post where I introduced the Russian alphabets and how one could easily learn it within a day with the right strategy.
Reason Четыре (4):
Word order is not something you need to worry about. Everything can be understood in Russian as long as you use the right grammatical cases. How you arrange your words in the sentence can still be understood in a conversation. So, don't worry so much about it! Enjoy your life!
Word order is far less strict in Russian as compared to English, Dutch, or German.
Reason Пять (5):
There are only 3 verb tenses — Past, Present, and Future tenses. No more. And there is no such verb conjugations like "to be" expressed in the present tense. Instead, infinitives (initial word forms) are used to express an action, and they usually have a soft sign "-ь" written at the back of those words. For example: люби́ть (loo-bit), means "to love".
Reason Шесть (6):
In Russian, there is no complex way of being polite or courteous. It is either formal or informal. Russians say things as it is and they are pretty straightforward when speaking their minds. So, you don't have to worry much about understatements, just like how asian languages like Japanese or Korean are structured. You just need to know a few nice words to add to your sentences such as:
"Пожалуйста" (po-zhal-sta), means "please".
"Спасибо" (spa-see-bah), means "thank you".
"Извините" (eez-vin-nee-tyeh), means "excuse me" or "sorry".
Oh, and just in case you need it, "Где туалет?" (g-de tua-lyet), means "where's the toilet?"
Reason Семь (7):
Questions are easy to form in the Russian language. You only need to stress the word at the end of the sentence to sound like you are asking a question. Russian is a language that places emphasis on stresses. Therefore, two same sentences can have different meanings when one says it in a different manner. In this case, a sentence like:
"Она здесь живет." (ana zdies zhi-vet) = "She lives here."
"Она здесь живет?" (ana zdies zhi-vet) = "She lives here?"
The second sentence would be a question when a stress is used on the last word to sound like a question.
Reason Восемь (8):
Negations are extremely easy to form. You just need to attach the word "не" (nyeh) in front of a word. For example: "Русский язык не трудно." (rus-ski ee-sik nyeh trud-na), means "Russian language is not difficult".
However, double negatives are common in Russian. And they are usually expressed using"не" (nyeh) and another negative expression like the word "никогда" (nee-kak-da), means "never". For example: "Он никогда не отвечает." (on nee-kak-da nyeh ot-ve-cha-yet), means "He never reply".
Reason Девять (9):
Some Russian words are similar to the ones in English. It is just how you pronounce them a little bit differently when reading the Russian Cyrillics. For example: "театр" (tee-ah-tor), means "theater"; "видео" (vi-dio), means "video"; "телефон" (tele-fon), means "telephone"; "концерт" (kont-sert), means "concert", and "фильм" (feel-m), means "film".
Reason Десять (10):
Russians are generally nice and friendly people who will help you learn the language even when you are just a beginner! Yes, they may appear serious and unfriendly (because they don't smile a lot) at first, but if you get to know them better, they make great vodka buddies or companions. Just go out there, reach out to them, and be bold enough to make mistakes!
That's how you learn Russian!
So, it's not as difficult as you think it is. It is just how you choose to perceive it.