Language Log #2: My Russian Fling

Who knows how long the passion will last, or when the honeymoon phase is over, but right now I’m completely in love with Russian.

I’m treating Russian as a new project. I’m a few weeks in and so far it’s an interesting experiment. It’s the first language I am learning completely from scratch. I have literally zero previous experience in it. Before I started, I hadn’t even consumed much (if any) Russian media, not even in translation (well, with the exception of Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We).

So why on earth would I go through the trouble of learning it? Short answer: travel. Russian is by far the most useful language for my upcoming travel plans, as it’s either the official language, the second official language, or an unofficial language of many countries that are very high on my bucket list. There are apparently over 260 million native and L2 speakers of Russian, so that’s another added bonus! And frankly, the more I immerse myself in Russian, the more excited I get about almost everything – cinema, tv series, music, literature, memes (just kidding, but apparently Russian memes are pretty hardcore and now I’m curious).

My initial plan was to study Russian completely on my own, without the help of classes. I’ve reconsidered, and have now signed up for classes starting in September (the same type of classes I’ve taken for Mandarin and Korean). At this early stage feedback is going to be very welcome! And it’s also very much a social thing for me.

My short-term goal is survival-Russian. I want to get to CEFR A2.1 in about a year, which means a year of classes and a lot of self-study on the side. After that, we’ll see.

For now I’m using:

And I’m exploring Russian cinema and tv series… which is an adventure on its own! To be continued…

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