Twitter user Jennifer (@Jen_Niffer), who’s also a fellow student of the Russian language, asked me why I started studying Russian. I had asked her the same question and she replied on Twitter. However, when I started to formulate my answer, I decided it was way to long to describe in 140 characters. I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about why I studied Russian at university, even though I write a lot about the Russian language itself.
Growing up, I read a lot of historical fiction, including books about the Romanovs. The Romanovs were my first introduction to Russia and my affection for the doomed imperial family influenced my perspective when I studied Russian history (and still does influence me, as I am still very anti-Soviet Union).
Anyway, one of the books I read was a fictional diary of Anastasia, the youngest Romanov daughter. It was part of a series called “The Royal Diaries” (and I read almost all of them) that focused on fictional accounts of real young women’s lives. The nice thing about these books is they’re quite historically accurate and contain a ton of useful facts in the afterword. The afterword for the Anastasia book had a short write-up about the Russian language, and I was equal parts fascinated and intimidated. I didn’t think I could ever learn a foreign language, especially one with a different alphabet.
Fast-forward to the month of August, three months after my high school graduation. I moved into my dorm room at university and registered for classes. Russian was still on my mind (I taught myself the alphabet and a few words the summer after high school graduation), so I signed up on a whim. I met my professor before classes started. Once I started taking the class, I was addicted. That was in 2008 and I’ve been studying Russian ever since.
What about you, dear readers? Do you study a foreign language, or some other cool, random hobby? How’d you get started?