Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Why Study Russian?

I began studying Russian at school when I was thirteen years old and ever since I have constantly be asked the question; 'Why do you study Russian?' Depending on who my audience is depends slightly on what my answer is. 

A typical conversation will go a little something like this;
Conversant: So, what do you do?
Me: I've just finished doing an MA at UCL.
C: Oh, in what?
Me: Russian.
C: OH MY GOD! YOU SPEAK RUSSIAN?! Why did you choose that?
Me: Yes I do, my school had it as a language option. I took it, did it to GCSE, enjoy it, then A-Level, enjoyed it, decided to do it for BA Degree, loved it, so decided to do it for MA.
C: So, like, are you Russian?
Me: No, I'm from the West Country.
C: Oh, so not Russian then?
Me: No.
C: But, like, so why did you do it for Degree?
Me: (usualy reply) because I find the language a challenge, I love the literature, especially Tolstoy, and the cinema, and the culture, and well every thing about it is just interesting to me.
C: You must like Vodka then?
Me: Yes.
C: So you're been there?
Me: Yes, I lived in Moscow etc etc
C: Are you a Communist? You must be if you study Russian?
Me: ha! No! I'm a Conservative.
C: oh, *slightly stunned silence* but you speak Russian? Tell me some Russian!

So after about 10 years of this, or other very similar conversations, I have decided to change my answer. From now on if I am asked why it is that I study Russian I shall simply reply; 'Because I have a massive vodka addiction, I love snow, and Russian pop stars like Sergei Lazarev are really attractive.' In short, alcohol, snow and hot men. I will then direct their attention, should this conversation take place near my iPhone, to this video, although those of a sensative disposition may want to look away now;

Disclaimer: If you are a potential future employer then my answer to why I study Russian will be a much more sensible, educated and professional answer. Also if you are a potential future employer please hire me!

1 comment:

Damon Lord said...

You speak (language X)? I get this all the time with my other languages (I don't speak Russian, of course, but do speak other langs, as you know). However, in some circles in the UK, "Why do you speak X?" means "why did you bother to better yourself through learning?" which can be pretty despairing that they have to ask.