Здравствуйте – Zdravstvuite – Hello!
Let’s be real: Russian isn’t the most popular language to learn. It’s not seen as romantic like French, suave like Italian or useful like Spanish. And that’s a real shame, because Russian is extremely eloquent, versatile and even, believe it or not, beautiful. In addition, Russia has been in the news frequently in the last several months. Regardless of your political opinion, no one can deny there is change coming. Russia – and Russian – will be playing a larger global role in the near future, if only in the news.
Personally, I love how playful Russian is. Its abundant prefixes and suffixes make it very modular, and it’s easy to make up (hilarious) new words, whose meaning will instantly be understood. For example, грудь grud’ meaning “chest,” can easily be turned into a well-endowed chest with few extra letters: грудище grudische.
There’s also the obvious: literature. Russian literature is world renowned and full of gems, some of which don’t make it through translation. It’s always better to read in the original. While someone of the masters might be a little tough for beginners, there are plenty of short stories and other accessible writing (Gogol’s short stories are particularly hilarious).
If nothing else, you’ll get to read wonderful fairy tales by the great national genius/hottie, Aleksander Pushkin in their sparkling original: Ruslan and Ludmila, The Tale of the Priest and of His Workman Balda, The Tale of Tsar Saltan, The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish, The Tale of the Golden Cockerel, The Tale of the Dead Princess.
Also, my favorite poem, called “Tsar Nikita and His 40 Daughters.” It’s a hilarious story about a king who has 40 daughters, who don’t have vaginas, and his quest to get them some. So there’s that.
HERE ARE SOME RESOURCES TO BEGIN
I usually start any search or venture on Reddit. It has a great subreddit from learning Russian with a lot of fantastic resources:
Russian Wikipedia – don’t underestimate this amazing resource!
Here’s some easy literature to start out with:
You can also immerse yourself in current music and events, to help get a sense of the culture alongside the language. Of course, a huge part of learning any language is being able to practice it with others. Check out meet-up groups in your area or even online groups.
Whatever way you prefer, don’t be afraid to learn Russian. It’s not easy, but it’s not much more difficult than other languages. At the very least, give it a try. And let us know what you learn!