Edit: I shouldn’t say ‘no one’ but rather a small number.
Learning Russian, I’ve met quite a few native speaking people but it seems a very small fraction are willing to admit they speak the language or are willing to talk about their heritage.
I find this rather strange. I can talk to many people on campus and they’d be proud to talk about their Spanish speaking background or Japanese (figuring you find the person at the right time) but when it comes to Russian speakers, it’s like they’d prefer to keep it a secret.
Is this a cultural thing? It seems to me Russian is one of those languages where you’re not going to really get positive praise for. I would say 1/5 people I talk to are somewhat interested that I learn the language. The other 4/5 are “…why?” “why Russian?” or “cool.” then end of story. It seems unless you speak on a native level, they won’t reciprocate.
My guess, is how the culture is portrayed in the media. The Cold War probably resulted in many of the countries shrouded in mystery, so the culture of Russian speaking countries was not really known. Also, it’s unfortunate that they’re not portrayed much in a positive manner. The only aspects covered are that Russia is involved with all the events in Ukraine.
Not to mention, there are negative stereotypes around where I live that Russians/Ukrainians steal your cars and are not the friendliest people. This isn’t the case in my experience. A lot of the speakers I’ve met are quite friendly and funny.
This only adds another challenge to learning Russian (other than the adjective declensions and noun aspects) is the lack of reciprocating speakers.
I hope this doesn’t offend anyone. I’m just being frank in my observations on this.
I guess that many Americans still think that all Russians are commies, vodka drinking drunks, and the most harshest and coldest people in the world. I haven't met a Russian native face-to-face yet, so I have no idea how they are. But evgueny40 seems like a very friendly person, so I guess had some Russian people contact behind the computer screen.
With the conflict between Ukraine and Russian, Americans are becoming more hateful towards anything Russian. Blaming Russians for that plane that went down, even though there is prove that it was the Ukrainians that shot it down.
For me, I’m going to defend Russia on that subject against the Ukrainians.
Russians are not what I would call super approachable. Of all the people whose language I have learned, they are generally the least happy when you speak to them in a random encounter. This is not always the case but often,unlike Chinese, Japanese, Brazilians, even French people. On the other hand, once you get to know them, they are very friendly, encouraging of your efforts to learn their language, and in the end no so different from other people. In other words, you are going to like some, and not like others, as is always the case.
I talked to my outside tutor the other week and we were talking about the ‘bluntness’ culture. It’s even like what you said in your YouTube vlog on about starting with Russian.
He said, growing up in Soviet Lithuania, the bluntness stemmed from business being controlled by the state. When you have that form equality, you can’t fail and you can’t succeed more than others to a certain degree, so there’s no incentive to provide a friendly customer service.
That being said, this fellow is very extroverted and very much a people person. Maybe it’s because he’s from Lithuania as opposed to Russia or Ukraine? Though this is the same for people from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kyrgystan.
Russians are always portrayed as the bad guys in films. It’s pretty annoying to me. I bet if my grandpa were alive, he’d say “yep just like during the Cold War when I was in the army” with all the anti-Russian media.
@Steve: “Russians are not what I would call super approachable. Of all the people whose language I have learned, they are generally the least happy when you speak to them in a random encounter”.
From my personal experience, I thought French people were the champions on that matter but I have never tried Russian so I don’t know. Out of the six languages I know (to a greater or lesser extent) I give that “prize” to French people.
WE have in Russia different people like in every other countries.
We had a ‘big Russian world’ in the Soviet Union that was collapsed. However, a lot of Russian up to now feel it like a big lost. It isn’t about the communist regime, but it’s about a large area where Russian was the main language.
And after this collapse Russian naivly thought that West Europe and the USA would meet them like ‘brothers’ because they abanded the communist ideology. When they understood that nobody were ready to meet them as ‘brothers’ they were offended like some children and with that you can understand the phenomen of Putin.
The today’s sanctions don’t also contribute to make Russians more open to the western people because the Russian think that it is a durty geopolitic game of the USA against Russia, and Ukraine was only an excuse to start it in the full size.
When some Russian emigrate they would lite to integrate as soon as possible into the new country and a new lifestyle that’s why thery don’t want rto speak Russian though I believe that it’s a bit stupid.
But in any case we have a great culture and first of all the great literature in Russian. And that’s why the learning of Russian is worth to start or to continue.
Here is a comedy video which portrays typical Russian tourists abroad (video is in Russian, but you will get the picture):
And it is not too exaggerated (you can get 2 week, 4* Hotel, All Inclusive tour to Egypt or Turkey for like 400 EUR, so every redneck can afford it). It is one of the reasons why I try to avoid speaking Russian when traveling.
And many Russians who have emigrated to USA actually aren’t Russians, but “Russian speaking people from the former Eastern Block” (a lot of them Jews) and they don’t like to be called “Russians” (and ironically they didn’t like to be called “Jews” while they were still in the Eastern Block :).
P.S. I’m not trying to offend anyone, these are just my observations.
“But in any case we have a great culture and first of all the great literature in Russian. And that’s why the learning of Russian is worth to start or to continue.”
Yep, you do.
It’s all geopolitics issue it seems like. USA being the world police it is has to take charge on this matter which probably stirs up the war propaganda like usual and the anti-Russian/anti-USA movement as well.
It’s too bad Russian isn’t respected like Japanese and have people more open to speak like Spanish.
Very funny video, although I only looked at the first 5 minutes or so. We had some Russians beside us at a ski resort in Canada who were similar. But this is not a Russian monopoly. I have seen Canadians behave this way. I have seen Swedes and Finns on an overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki, who were so drunk that their faces were shades of green and white. I have seen Danes in Lisbon who spent every day from morning till night at the bar and were staggering around the hotel. I have seen Germans plastered out of their minds, but the champions in this kind of behaviour, from what I have seen, especially in Spain and Riga, are the Brits.
I have met Jewish Russians in Canada and they definitely do identify as Russians.
Stereotypes, preconceived ideas and generalizations are normal. We form opinions based on our experience, or more often, what we hear. We need to, it is almost a defense mechanism. We need to know that a stove top is hot, or a bear dangerous.
But even with our preconceived notions, hopefully we treat the next person we meet as an individual.
Nope, it was before that Americans disliked Russians for probably being communists. Now communists are disliked for probably being Russians
Whatsoever, Communist is certainly not a term of abuse for me.
The USA made some pretty solid pro-Russian movies back at the days: - YouTube
As the result, to my knowledge, the attitude within the American people towards the Soviet society was pretty warm in the first post-WW2 years and the Cold War’s media campaign was not done in a day.
Any chance there is another link? (this video was removed)
I blush for my fellow Brits and cannot deny your comment about us. But truly, not all of us behave like this! Not that you have suggested it! But I still need to say it!
I am on Russia’s side, too. I simply don’t like it when things turn violent as they had been in Ukraine.
Видео было “Наша Раша, Тагииил!!!”
Я думаю для русскоговорящих сразу понятно о чём речь Даже видео не надо.
Последних сезонов не видел, придётся наверстать
I am proud cause this is my native tounge
A-ah, right you are! =))) True that! =))) No explanations required! =)))
Hi all, what can I say about russians? I’m russian and I would say at the first time russians meet somebody they can be very caucious but if you met russian closer he certaintly will talk all about himself even very person information and will be waiting the same thing from you. And of course we proud of speaking russian language. I wish all people in my country know english so we can understand each other better. If you want speak russian with somebody for practicing - here I am.
Bye! From Russia with love! and sorry for my english.