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Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Introduction to Russian.
My name is Alisha and I'm joined by...
Hi everyone.
I'm Katya!
In this series, you'll learn everything you need to know to get started learning Russian.
That's right!
And we're here to help guide you through your journey.
In this lesson, you'll learn the reasons you should start learning a new language, why you should learn Russian in particular, and how to get started.
Let's begin with the most obvious question, "Why learn a new language?"
Why learn a new language?
There are countless reasons, but perhaps the biggest one of all, is that it could actually change your life! Learning a new language unlocks new pathways that are off limits to you now.
There are certain things that you simply cannot do without having the technical or cultural skills that come from learning a new language.
Like working or living in another country!
Knowing another language provides you with greater job opportunities. You have the freedom to move to another country halfway around the world and be able to earn a living, or even better yet, build a career from it – instead of just being stuck in one place.
Language allows you to visit or live in places that you may never even have considered going, simply because that wasn't a possibility for you. Knowing another language simply gives you more options to choose from.
And learning a new language also helps you to be more open-minded and see the world from a new perspective.
Language and culture go hand in hand. The world is a big place, and by broadening your understanding of other cultures, it allows you to be more empathetic and understanding of the many different ways that people live their lives. With language, you're able to see and experience more, which helps you to grow as a person.
Learning a new language also improves your memory.
Several studies have consistently shown that those who study another language have improved memory as opposed to those who didn't learn another language. Learning another language also keeps your brain healthy by significantly delaying the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia. This difference can be as much as 4 to 5 more years of quality life!
And those are just some of the reasons you should learn another language. The list just goes on and on.
Now you know the benefits of studying another language, but why should you learn Russian in particular?
Why learn Russian?
Everybody knows that Russia is the largest country in the world.
But did you also know that Russian is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world too?
Russian isn't only spoken in Russia. It's actually the official language of many other countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan... the list just goes on and on.
And unofficially, it's also widely spoken in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, and many other slavic countries.
In fact, Russian is part of a larger family of Slavic languages that are all very similar to each other, akin to “super languages” like Chinese and Spanish. There are around 300 million Russian speakers worldwide.
And its importance as a language can be seen globally, as it's one of the official languages of the United Nations. All meetings and official documents drafted by the United Nations are spoken and written in Russian.
Learning Russian also opens up many other business opportunities, as Russia leads the world in many industries, such as mechanical engineering, refining, shipbuilding, automotive, aerospace, microelectronics, and much much more.
What about the poetics of the Russian language itself? In the words of the 16th century Emperor of Rome, Charles V, "I speak to god in Spanish, to friends in French, to my enemies in German, and to women in Italian."
And to that the Russian polymath Mikhail Lomonosov famously added that "If he'd known Russian, he could speak to all of the former, because Russian has the grandeur of Spanish, the vivacity of French, the strength of German, the gentleness of Italian, and in addition to that, the wealth and brevity of Latin and Greek."
Indeed, Russian is one of the most interesting languages in the world – it's the King of Slavic languages. It's been said by language learners that that if you learn this language, you can easily learn any other language in the world, no matter how difficult it may seem.
Okay then, we've talked about why you should start learning a language, and why you should start learning Russian in particular, but how should they get started Katya?
How to get started.
Well it's as simple as learning your first word in Russian and building up from there!
The good news, though, is that you already know some Russian!
респект (respekt) “respect”
фэйл (feil) “fail”
гуд (gud) “good”
As you can see, Russian is much closer to English than it seems initially because it has had ties to English and English expressions for some 200 years.
Let's teach you something that you might not know...
Здравствуйте “hello”
This is a common Russian greeting that roughly translates to “Hello” or “How are you?”
Здравствуйте (Zdrastvuyte)
That's a useful phrase. Can you explain a little bit about what these symbols are though?
Sure. Much like how English uses the Latin script in its writing, Russian uses another type of script called the Cyrillic script. And those “symbols” are actually letters of the Russian alphabet. And similar to English, one letter usually corresponds to one sound in Russian.
We'll introduce you to the writing system in episode 4 of this series. For now, let's put up some Roman transcription so you can follow along.
Repeat after Katya.
Russian has a lot of consonant clusters like the ones found in this greeting – but don't let that intimidate you. Pronounce each consonant going from one to the next without adding any extra vowel sounds. Start off slowly, and read them in the correct order.
Здрав. ствуй, те. (Zdra stvuy te)
We can also abbreviate this phrase to make it more casual.
Здрав, ствуй. (Zdra stvuj)
Just remove the last syllable те, to say “Hello” casually to a friend or relative!
Здрав, ствуй! (Zdra stvuj)
Здрав, ствуй! (Zdra stvuj)
Well done. Now you know how to greet someone in Russian!
We've covered a lot of things already, so why don't we wrap up the first lesson and recap on what we've learned.
In this lesson, you learned that studying another language has many benefits such as providing new job and business opportunities.
Russian is spoken by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, and is one of the official language of the United Nations.
And to greet someone in Russian, it's...
Здравствуйте! (Zdrastvuyte)
In the next lesson, we're going to demystify Russian pronunciation by taking a look at the sounds of Russian, so be sure to watch the next video.
See you in the next lesson. Bye!