On Russian as a world language…

5 Mar

The contents of this publication stem from a few points in a Quora answer I just read and interacted with. It was written in response to a question I have recently discussed in my weblog: What language(s) I want to learn and why.

The original author of the answer goes on and on about studying Russian because they are interested in Russia and countries from the former Eastern Bloc and they may want te use it for future job applications in the region as the Russian Federation has big potential to remain relevant in world trade and politics. All reasons are perfectly legitimate, however, with a minor but important caveat.

As I wrote in my original response to this, people should note that Russian is not nearly as popular in Central and Eastern Europe as it used to be, maybe only apart from Belarus and the Ukraine to some extent. So it may be really challenging to communicate with younger people from Poland, the Czech Republic, or even Serbia and Bulgaria, without any other languages like English, French, German, and maybe some Spanish. However, older people may still be able to at least understand you and give you some directions in broken Russian.

Of course, this may change in future and, what is more, this particular language is extensively used in Central Asia, where it is even co-official in a number of countries. Furthermore, it’s true that the Russian Federation has the potential (in terms of resources and land mass) to retain its place among the leading economies worldwide. This makes studying the largest Slavic language nowadays a wise choice if you want to enjoy cultural works or communicate with a lot of people in it. And who knows, maybe some of those who start studying it will decide to learn other (Slavic) languages in future as well… :)