The Russian population is very interested in the study of foreign languages and is able to learn them very easily, especially compared to Italians. For example, after three months of studying Italian, I was able to understand a lot of the Italian language and translate it. On the contrary, my husband, who is Italian, -which went to the Russian language class – could hardly make himself understood by his Russian friendships.
Among the foreign languages studied by the Russians, English is considered the most useful language according to the vast majority of the population. Then there is German in the ranking, followed by Spanish, Chinese and French.
Regarding the French language, it must be underlined that it had a strong development, after De Gaulle’s France created a privileged axis with the Soviet Union, the only western and European country. In my city, Omsk, in western Russia, – a city of over a million inhabitants – a French language faculty was established at the University, the only foreign language we studied in middle and high schools.
We Russians are a people who can be considered polyglot, as there are more and more inhabitants who learn a foreign language, mostly preferring English, Spanish, Chinese and precisely French.
In large Russian cities, such as Moscow, Leningrad, Ekaterinburg, many people have studied English in the past twenty-five years, so much so that it is a well-known language in Russia.
Almost three quarters of the population, especially among young people, maintain that a foreign language can always serve in life.
In addition to English, which is a compulsory language, German, Spanish, Chinese and French are chosen in descending order at the foreign languages department of the Moscow University’s School of Economics. Students can choose a second language from the following foreign languages: Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese and Italian. However, the majority chose German and Spanish.
The most chosen language, according to a recent survey, is English, while in early 2000 there was a great demand for Chinese, which then decreased in the following years.
For elementary and middle school students, the choice of language is decided by the parents. Other factors also affect the choice, since, for example, German and Spanish are chosen because the master’s degree course costs less there, if it is not even free.
Lately there have been requests for Korean, Hindi and Finnish, then mostly abandoned due to lack of job prospects.
Russians study languages not only for professional purposes . We are committed to studying languages in order to use them in travel and to converse with local inhabitants.
Some people started studying German because they worked as a journalist in Russia and wanted to write for the German press.