Let’s start by stating that learning Russian is difficult! Many say it takes about 4-5 years to become fluent. However, it is essential when travelling to Central Asia and Trans-Siberian to have some working knowledge of the language. Also, I enjoy learning new languages. So I am ready for the challenge. I found a language school in Moscow and signed up for four weeks. (http://ruslanguage.ru/) It was a great program where the school was on Arbat Street which was the home to many famous Russian poets. In the four weeks, I learned a lot but it was much more difficult than I previously thought. Russian language is complex especially when it comes to the different cases with nouns. Even with its complexities, I am determined to continue learning Russian and become the rare and illusive American polyglot.
When travelling, many people to do not have the time or desire to puck up a new language. Even so, travelling to countries that use the Cyrillic script, it is imperative to learn the alphabet. Knowing the Cyrillic will allow to read a menu or know which bus to go on. Before my lessons in Moscow, I learned the Cyrillic which was a great help when travelling in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Also remember to learn cursive as well. This threw me through a loop. Most letters are similar but some are not. Here are some links that will help you know the Cyrillic Script:
Below are some pictures and words using the Cyrillic script. Use the links and see if you can understand the words! (And yes, fast food menus do not convert menu items to the local language)
Here are a list of cities. See if you can figure them out!
- Скопје (J in slavic languages makes a ‘y’ sound)