Confusing things for foreigners who chose to learn Russian

    Why Foreigners Choose to Learn Russian

    Every new language that you learn gives you the opportunity to delve into different culture and mentality. Besides, if you have a decent knowledge of at least a couple of foreign languages, it shows you as a highly educated person. Not to mention the obvious mental health advantages – studying new languages prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s disease!

    What foreign language to choose is a strictly objective thing, but there are numerous reasons for picking up a particular language. A lot of people prefer to learn this or that language of another country after they got acquainted with its folklore and way of life. For instance, the overwhelming number of those who decided to learn the Russian language was deeply impressed with literary works of such famous Russian writers as Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky.

    Main Difficulties for Foreigners Who Chose to Learn Russian

    Despite Russian is ranked number 5 in the list of most spoken languages, it is still a rather difficult language to comprehend. It is so mainly because of the following aspects:

    • The complexity of the its grammar;
    • Presence of a great number of the exception to the rules;
    • A pronunciation that is hard to reproduce;
    • Letters that differ greatly from those that the foreign learner is accustomed to.

    To be honest, Russian is such a complicated language, that even some of the Russian people can’t boast with a great knowledge of their mother tongue!

    So, the foreigners who chose to learn Russian must be prepared to face some serious issues on their way to obtaining the language fluency and accuracy.

    Confusing Things for Foreigners Who Chose to Learn Russian

    • The alphabet

    Perhaps, one of the biggest challenges for foreigners is the study of the alphabetic system of Russia – the Cyrillic. Not only the writing of Cyrillic scripts is hard. What confuses foreign learners even more, is that sometimes Russian letters and the words they are used in are pronounced in a completely dissimilar way than they are presented on the paper. Thus, Russians pronounce the word ‘sobaka’ (a dog) as ‘sabaka’, but in the written version of this particular word, you see an ‘o’ in the first syllable.

    Special torments foreigners who chose to learn Russian experience when they encounter the letter ‘ы’. Needless to say, it is pretty difficult to understand, pronounce (as a vowel sound), and to represent in a written form.

    Another struggle is the inability of foreign language learners to distinguish the letter ‘ш’ from the letter ‘щ’. This is especially relevant for the words – that include either ‘ш’ or ‘щ’ – written in italics. You may even find a lot of jokes and memes, dedicated to the Russian cursive, on the Internet.

    • The stress

    In the Russian language, the stress can fall on any part of the word, there is no clear scheme. It is worth noting that the stress may as well depend on the form of a word, and change accordingly. For example: ‘rookA’ (a hand) – ‘rOOki’ (hands).

    • No articles

    This could be one of the most confusing things for foreigners who chose to learn Russian. In a contrast to the considerable quantity of other languages, this one doesn’t have articles. So those whose native language if English or French might experience some hardship.

    • Genders

    Instead of articles, the Russian language is rich in genders, which serve as a characteristic of a noun. There are four of them, and it is critical to remember them correctly in order not to become a laughing stock when communicating with natives in Russia. You can learn about the existence of next language genders;

    • masculine gender – ‘muzhchina’ (a man);
    • feminine gender – ‘devushka’ (a young woman);
    • neuter gender – ‘njebo’ (a sky);
    • common gender – ‘tihonya’ (a quiet, shy person).     


    While attending his/her offline or online Russian lessons, a foreign learner may notice another interesting feature of the this language. By the rules, adjectives conjugate in compliance with nouns, so pay close attention to the gender of a noun. The same way a foreign language learner must consider the tense, the gender, and the mood when he/she conjugates Russian verbs.

    • The cases

    The Russian language holds a terrifying (according to the foreign learners who chose to learn Russian) system of cases, there are 6 of them. Each noun, pronoun, and adjective alters its ending in accordance with a particular case. For instance, the word combination ‘a piece of cake’ can be defined as a genitive case phrase: ‘kusok piroga’ (a piece of cake), where a noun ‘pirog’ means ‘cake’ and it changes its ending when using a case.

    Certainly, there are much more peculiarities and nuances that may confuse the foreign learners who chose to learn Russian. But with a helpful guidance delivered from any of our 1000 experienced tutors at you may not worry about conquering the demandable yet beautiful language of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.