Today, about 10 million foreigners around the world study Russian and latin to english translation. During the years of the existence of the Soviet Union, the number of those who spoke Russian was even greater: at that time, schoolchildren in each of the Union republics were required to study Russian.
What difficulties stand in the way of foreigners? What do they think about the Russian language and how is our native language perceived in the world?
First of all, foreigners, of course, are afraid of our pronunciation. Not only do we have a Cyrillic alphabet and it is not easy to remember it, but also its letters are read in a very peculiar way. Many sounds are virtually indistinguishable to foreigners. For example, sh, sh and h. The speech apparatus of speakers of other languages is not adapted for the pronunciation of such close-sounding letters. The words borsch, box, cone, thicket evoke sacred horror among foreigners.
Things are no better with the letter y or with a soft sign. “Y is pronounced as if you were kicked hard in the stomach,” foreigners share their experience in one of the forums.
In addition to the obvious difficulties with pronunciation, there are also significant differences between spoken language and written language. How to explain to a foreigner why the word “cow” is pronounced “ka-ro-wa”? It is not easy for speakers of other languages and with attempts to remember the rules for placing stresses.
But pronunciation is only half the trouble for a foreigner who has taken up the study of the Russian language. The other half is Russian grammar. Declensions, conjugations, masculine, feminine and neuter, perfective and imperfective verbs, prepositions – all this is given to foreigners with great difficulty. And it would be nice if you could just learn the rules. But the Russian language is arranged in such a way that for every rule there are a hundred exceptions. How, for example, can a foreigner understand why the word “mouth” in the instrumental becomes not “in the company”, but “in the mouth”?
But even grammar and pronunciation are not the end of the difficulties of the Russian language. Vocabulary is another headache for foreigners. Almost every word in Russian can be used both literally and figuratively. Native speakers feel this difference intuitively, but it can be difficult for non-native speakers to understand the regularity in which case the word has a neutral connotation, in which it is offensive or frivolous.
As for the perception of the Russian language, foreigners perceive the Russian language differently. The Italians speak of it as a melodious and flirtatious language, while the English or the French (whose language is very soft in itself) consider Russian to be rather rude in sound. “Even if people confess their love to each other, it still seems that they are fighting,” many foreigners share their impressions.
Be that as it may, Russian is an interesting language that attracts millions of foreigners around the world with its richness and exoticism.