Russian is becoming more important in the US

Boris   Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:57 am GMT
Status and Speakers

Russian is the most widely spoken member of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family (National Virtual Translation Center [NVTC], 2007; Russian Language, 2007). This family also includes close Eastern Slavic cousins Belarusian and Ukrainian, as well as Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Polish, Serbian, and others. Russian is thought to be the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia (Russian Language, 2007; Slavic Languages, 2007). Once the official language of the Russian Empire and subsequently an official language throughout the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), it continues to be a lingua franca for the region, used routinely in matters of commerce and diplomacy (, 2007; NVTC, 2007). It is also one of the six official languages of the United Nations (United Nations, 2007), indicating and cementing its status as an international language of political and economic importance. The United States has recently restated its belief in the importance of Russian language competency to international matters of commerce, diplomacy, and understanding by naming Russian a “critical need foreign language” in the National Security Language Initiative (U.S. Department of State, n.d.).

Though estimates vary, there is thought to be a worldwide population of approximately 150 million first language speakers of Russian and 270 million Russian speakers in total (Crystal, 1987; Gordon, 2005). Naturally, this population is more concentrated in certain areas than in others: Russian is the sole official language of Russia and an official language of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan as well (, 2004; NVTC, 2007). It is also spoken in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, the United States, and Uzbekistan (Gordon, 2005). The 2000 U.S. census indicates that there are over 700,000 Russian speakers in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003). The Modern Language Association provides an interactive language map that displays Russian-language-speaker population data by geographic area within the United States.
Clara   Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:23 pm GMT
Russian language is beautiful.
Just visiting   Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:08 pm GMT
I would like to say that you are right, but I don't believe there are enough Russian immigrants, unlike Mexican immigrants, to warrant much study of the language in primary schools yet. I do love Russian and there is a sizable population near my home town, but they are sort of an anomoly. We will see what our 'wonderful' government decides -- whether it is important enough or not to study.
realist   Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:17 pm GMT
No languages are important for English speakers to study.
Greg   Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:19 pm GMT
<<No languages are important for English speakers to study.>>

French is important.
CommonAswhole   Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:23 pm GMT
Mexican illegal immigrants are the only threat. Russian forget their language after one generation. Their Russian is often deemed primitive by the ones still living in the Mother Land.
You're Arsehole   Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:20 am GMT
Russian immigrants are the only threat. Hispaics forget their language after one generation. Their Spanish is often deemed primitive by the ones still living in the Mother Land.
Russ   Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:35 am GMT
Today Russian is widely used outside Russia. Over a quarter of the world's scientific literature is published in Russian. Russian is also a necessary accessory of world communications systems (broadcasts, air- and space communication, etc). Due to the status of the Soviet Union as a superpower, Russian had great political importance in the 20th century. Hence, the language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.