Russian to judgement


I don’t know if you are aware of it, but articles (such as a, an, and the) don’t exist in the Russian language. I think that they were banned and dispatched to Siberia during the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Seriously, there are no articles in Russian. It makes English a little more challenging for former Russian denizens. They often forget to use those pesky little things or they don’t know where to put them.

Am I a linguistic expert? Do I speak Russian fluently? Heavens No! But I am in daily contact with a Russian native who has a shaky relationship with articles.

Many people don’t realize the importance of those humble little things until they try to converse with a native Russian. It might sound funny in the beginning but it is fast becoming annoying.

A Russian wouldn’t say “Are you going to the park?”, he would say “Are you going to park?” which altogether means something totally different.

Some people think that when you don’t use articles, you might sound more forceful. For instance, “give me borscht” sounds much manlier than “could you please give me some borscht.” But manliness does not count when you try to convey a specific message.

I am not a grammar nitpicker (actually I am), but I always appreciate a clear unequivocal mistake-free document.

Due to a certain familiarity with Romance languages, I believe that most of them use articles. A Russian speaking inaccurate English is probably more difficult to understand than an Italian or a Spaniard because both of their languages use articles.

So, never underestimate the importance of articles. Without them, most of the European languages would be confusing, especially if you grew up in their midst.

I know that habits are very difficult to break. Personally, I still find it much easier to count or alphabetize in French rather than English. So, I do understand very well the difficulty to adapt.

This, by the way, is not to denigrate the Russian language; it can do equally well what any other language can accomplish. Don’t forget that the Russians (without the help of any bourgeois articles) put Sputnik in orbit before anybody else could.

And don’t forget:

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.” Jackson Brown, Jr.

 Da svidaniya mujiki (until later peasants)


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