Russian: Привет!

Distribution: Countries included but not limited to: Russia, Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, and Turkmenistan.

Introduction: Russian belongs to the Slavonic branch of the Indo-European language family. An estimated 80 million people in the former republics of the Soviet Union also have Russian as their first language with another 40 million people in these newly independent countries using Russian as a second language or lingua franca.

Cultural and Rhetorical Influences

  • High respect for authority figures.

  • Those in authority are expected to act dictatorial.

  • Change is often seen as a group endeavor, not the individual.

  • Tendency to be pessimistic:

    • Habit of smiling all the time can make the person angry.

    • Belief that things normally go wrong creates perseverance.

  • Paper assignments are given limitedly; more focus is placed on class discussions.

  • Students are mostly taught what the answer is, not why or how it is.

  • Organization is not viewed as highly important.


  • Russian is part of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family.

  • Word meaning is expressed through adding prefixes and suffixes.

  • Due to phonological differences, sentences may have misused words:

    • Has 5 vowel sounds without a distinction between long and short vowels.

    • Difficulty can occur with words: set / sat or  sit / seat.

    • The “th” sound does not exist; therefore, spelling problems may arise.

  • Few auxiliary verbs occur; no articles exist.

  • Russian is a very phonetic language: predictability in spelling by sounding out.


Goehner, Duane, and Yale Richmond. "Russian / American Cultural Contrasts." Russian / American Cultural Contrasts. N.p., 2001. Web. 08 Aug. 2014.

Mihalicek, Vedrana, and Christin Wilson. Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2011. Print.

Monk, Bruce, and Alexander Burak. "Russian Speakers." Learner English: A Teacher's Guide to Interference and Other Problems. Ed. Swan, Michael and Bernard Smith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 145-161. Print.

Shoebottom, Paul. A Guide to Learning English. 1996. Website. 27 Apr. 2014.

Zusin, Sasha. "Israeli and Russian Learning Styles." E-mail interview. 05 Aug. 2014.