A Chance to Learn Basic Russian
Leader Andy Geddes
As well as leading our two Italian language groups, I have long had an interest in other modern languages. One of these is Russian, which I studied at school up to “O” level standard. My skills have become rather rusty over the years since, and I have recently decided that it’s time to do some serious revision to get back into practice. In planning this, the thought occurred to me that this was also an opportunity for any other U3A members with an interest in the language who would like to accompany me on that journey.
Russian presents a rather different challenge to other European languages, as it uses the Cyrillic alphabet rather than our Latin alphabet, but once that has been overcome it is not especially difficult.
In fact, because their alphabet has 33 letters compared to our 26, spelling and pronunciation tend to be more logical and regular than in English. I have always found it both an interesting and enjoyable language to learn, and there is a certain satisfaction in being able to understand a language which most can’t even decipher!
Obviously, the suspension of our normal activities owing to the Coronavirus pandemic means that now is not the best time to launch a new group. I thought it would be useful, however, to identify any interest so that we can make plans for a rapid return to normality when we are able and, if anyone does wish to join me, to give us something to which we can look forward. There is also the possibility of holding “virtual” meetings using a video conferencing application for those who are happy to do that. I have identified a course book, published by the BBC, in the same series as the course we use for the introductory Italian group which looks good and is suitable for absolute beginners.
There has been enough interest to set up a small, but keen, group to begin studying Russian. We are hoping to hold an introductory meeting via Zoom, and will explore whether that is also suitable to review the alphabet and pronunciation. It is possible that the size of the group may allow physical meetings again before too long.
Andy Geddes ()