As Russian is one of the UN’s official languages, the institution champions the teaching and learning of Russian all throughout the globe. So, in 2010, UNESCO declared June 6th Russian Language Day in commemoration of the birth of Aleksandr Pushkin, one of the most important Russian writers of all time.
Would you like some inspiration on how to commemorate this special date? Keep on reading and find out curious facts about the language and our top recommendations to celebrate Russian Language Day!
5 curious facts about the Russian language
1 - Russian is a Slavic language and, thus, is similar to Belarussian, Ukrainian, and even Polish. Once you become proficient in Russian, you can use it as a springboard to acquire other languages!
2 - With almost 200 million native speakers, Russian is the most spoken Slavic language, and is a lingua franca throughout Central Asia.
3 - Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, which has 10 vowels, 21 consonants, and two letters that do not represent any equivalent sound. Plus, consonants can be hard or soft.
4 - Names are patronymic and change depending on a person’s gender. The suffixes for men are -ovich or -evich, and -ovna or -evna for women. For example, the son of Ivan would be called “Ivanovich,” while the daughter of Ivan is “Ivanovna.”
5 - Although the languages are very different, English and Russian share 10% of their vocabulary, with cognates like Аме́рика/America or компью́тер/computer.
Learn a Russian recipe
Start of your celebrations by learning a new recipe. Russian cuisine is abundant and diverse. One of its main features is the great variety of ingredients used to prepare just one dish. Why not honour Russian Language Day and look for a tasty recipe to surprise your friends and family with your cooking skills? Kulich, Stroganoff, Piroghi... there are countless (and delicious) alternatives for you to prepare!
Discover more about the Russian culture
The Russian culture has a long and rich history, particularly when it comes to literature, ballet, classical music, and painting. Take advantage of Russian Language Day and get to know more about the customs and traditions associated with it!
Literature: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky are obvious choices, but you can also check out contemporary thrillers, like Day of the Oprichnik by Sorokin, or great historical novels, like The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia. The list is endless!
Movies: Some must-watch Russian modern movies include the historical drama Burnt by the Sun, the crime thrillers Brother, or the adventure movie The Return.
Music: If you like hip-hop, you should subscribe to Black Beat’s YouTube channel, where they feature their top hits. If classical music is more to your taste, today is the perfect excuse to listen to masterpieces by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, or Korsakov!
Study the Russian Language!
Russian can be hard for English speakers to learn, especially as it involves acquiring a whole new alphabet and grammar system, but don’t let these challenges intimidate you! With the help of a good teacher, you’ll become fluent in a smooth, painless way. Wondering why you should learn Russian? Here are some compelling reasons!
Professional success: Russia has become one of the ten strongest economies in the world and has a close economic partnership with the USA. In March 2020, the total trade between the two countries amounted to $6.1 billion. If you work in the fields of heavy machinery production, chemicals, jewellery, health, or oil, learning Russian will give your resume a boost, unlocking new professional opportunities.
Expand your global family: Today, almost 200 million people speak Russian natively, making it one of the most popular languages in the world. So, learn Russian and you’ll be able to communicate with a large portion of the global population. Plus, this skill will help you to make the most out of any future trips to Russia, as only 20% of the population is fluent in English.
Increase your cultural awareness: Studying a language also means studying the culture of the people who speak it, learning about their traditions, beliefs, and how they see the world. Acquire Russian and you will delve into the literary works of geniuses like Tolstoy, enjoy the beautiful music of Larionov, and learn more about their festivals and holidays. For example, every year they celebrate Maslenitsa, a religious and folk festival that celebrates the imminent end of the winter.
All in all, Russian Language Day is all about multilingualism and diversity, promoting much-needed kindness and inclusion. Join in the virtual celebrations this year and dive deep into a new, exotic culture, acquire an in-demand language, and have some fun while cooking a delicious Russian dish!