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Russian and English: how they are similar

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There are course, many differences between English and Russian. In addition, at your journey towards mastering Russian beginning, you may find it difficult. However, don’t be intimidated: if you want to, you can find commonalities and draw parallels which will give you reference a point. We will tell you about the most obvious similarities, to make it easier for you to get used to the process.

Language family

As strange as it may seem at first sight, English and Russian belong to one big family, the Indo-European family. Then there is a branching off: Russian belongs to the Slavic group and English to the West Germanic group. Course, this branching has led to serious differences, but Russian has more similarities with English than, for example, with Chinese, due to the common ancestry.


At first sight, the Russian alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet, can seem very complicated, because the letters most are not at all like the familiar English Latin alphabet. However, that is the thing: most, but by no means all. First, there are letters in Russian that both look and sound the same as in English: A, K, M, O, T. Second, there are letters that look the same as in English but sound different: В, Е, Н, Р, С, У, Х. On the one hand, there is no need to learn new spelling, but on the other, there is a risk of mispronunciation – be careful.

Common vocabulary

Yes, if you study Russian, you will constantly come across familiar words because English influences many languages in the world, enriching them with its words. Such words (in English they are called cognate words) are actively used in different areas – both in everyday communication and in highly specialized fields. Moreover, there are about four thousand such cognates, for example:
джинсы — jeans;
чипсы — chips;
бренд — a brand;
дедлайн — a deadline;
маркетинг — marketing;
спорт — sport;
фитнес — fitness;
виральный — viral;
ноутбук — a notebook.

Interestingly, the influence of English and Russian is two-way, so you may find words in English that come from Russian as well. They may not be used as often, but if you know them, it will be easier for you when you encounter them in Russian speech. For example, babushka, самовар / samovar, парка / parka.

Grammar aspects

The Russian and English grammar is markedly different, but some categories are present in both languages, which makes it a little easier to learn new rules. The singular and plural category exists in both languages: игрушка / toy — игрушки / toys.
Both have numerals, both quantitative and ordinal: один / one, первый / the first.
Both English and Russian have comparative and superlative adjectives. Nevertheless, they are formed differently.
Both languages have similar members of a sentence and parts of speech.

The fact that the two languages have certain similarities, especially in vocabulary terms, already reduces the anxiety before learning Russian. Moreover, if you still feel that you can’t do it on your own, you are always welcome at the Russian as a Foreign Language School Leader.

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