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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Katya here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher where I’ll answer some of your most common Russian questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How hard is it to learn Russian?
The Foreign Service Institute (or FSI) created a scale to show how long it takes to get to professional-level proficiency in speaking for native English speakers.
Russian is considered a category III language. That means it has significant differences from English, and takes a bit longer to learn than say Spanish or Italian, which have very similar writing systems to English. According to this scale, on average, it takes approximately 44 weeks or 1,100 hours of study. However, this of course will vary from person to person.
The hardest part about Russian is grammar. There are many factors you have to consider when making a sentence, such as gender, number, prefixes, and suffixes. With nouns, you have to be mindful of how they decline, depending on the 6 cases in Russian. With verbs, you have to be mindful of the imperfective and perfective forms, which are verb aspects that indicate whether an action is ongoing or has already been completed.
For example, the word “dog” is feminine, собака (sobaka), and the word “cat” is masculine, кот (kot). If you want to say, “I love my dog” and “I love my cat” it’ll require different endings for these nouns; Я люблю свою собакУ (Ya lyublyu svayu sabakU), but Я люблю своего котА (Ya lyublyu svayevo katA), respectively. Even the pronoun “my,” свой (svoy) will change for these two sentences because of the animals’ genders.
But, there are many things about learning Russian that are easier than you think. Here are a couple of other facts about Russian that you’ll like.
First, there are not many exceptions or special cases, such as irregular verbs or strange spellings.
Also, there’s no strict word order in Russian. Even if you’re not familiar with Russian grammar, you can put the words in almost any order in the sentence and a native Russian speaker should be able to understand you.


So Russian, just like any language, has its difficulties, but if you give it time and dedication, you should be well on your way to getting where you want to be.
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
До встречи! (Do vstrechi!) “See you soon!”