How to Tell if Someone is Russian – So You Can Practice Russian
June 2, 2013
When you are starting to learn Russian, it’s a lot of fun to meet Russians and try to talk to them in Russian. This is usually a very pleasant way to make new friends.
However, when you are just starting out, it’s really hard to tell the difference between a Russian accent and a French or German accent. Even after you are fluent in Russian, it might still be hard to tell the difference between someone speaking English with a Russian accent or a Polish accent.
Say You Like Their Accent
You need to do something to let people know you are friendly. People whose native language is Russian can be a little bit afraid to tell you where they originally were from because immigrants and travelers sometimes aren’t treated very well. To reassure them that you mean well, here’s what to do.
Say something like, “I like your accent; where are you from?” This lets them know you are friendly, and it lets them know that they should tell you about growing up in Moscow, not about the apartment where they now live in New York City.
This Works in a Lot of Places
I’ve used this method to meet Russians everywhere from Hawaii to New Zealand to London. It’s disarming, and it’s a good way to switch to talking in Russian.
Of Course You are Being Honest
Can you honestly say that you like their accent? Of course, you can. You will soon be speaking Russian with an accent (at least at first), and it’s high time that you develop a love for interesting accents. It’s a great way to meet Russians outside of Russia.
Would You Like to Learn Russian?
If you think you would like to learn Russian, it’s a good idea to test out several different programs to see which one works for you.
I tell my friends that they should try two different programs for 30 minutes each, and then buy the one where they can remember more Russian several days later.
Click here to try my favorite program for learning Russian.