Language practice. Start here
When you read a textbook or study with a tutor, he or she gives you explanations on the theory. But the flexibility of your tongue is...
When you practice Russian, you may encounter difficulties that do not lie on the surface, but they are palpable. It's not even about the cases of nouns. We know that Italian and Serbian also require the endings of nouns, verbs and adjectives to agree.
It may be somewhat difficult to understand that the main unit that makes sense in Russian is a noun and an adjective related to it. In Russian, we say "существительное (noun)" as if to say "something essentially important". The Italian verb essere (to be, to exist) and the Russian nouns эссенция, сущность, суть as essence, clearly have similarities. Similar words, like essence, are in English and other European languages too. But if in English we "sing" the sentence to the point, since this is a description of the process, in Russian we stop intonation at the noun and the adjective associated with it, and can switch in a different
direction of thought. Verbs are rather of secondary importance in the logic of the Russian language, they serve to connect nouns, hence the role of prepositions is not at all the same as in English, for example. Prepositions serve for the logical organization of speech, and the peculiarity of the logic of the language dictates the use of prepositions.
But all of this is just a superficial layer of reasons why practising Russian can seem difficult. You can easily notice that even with the formally correct choice of words and their exact pronunciation, nevertheless, communication often abruptly breaks off due to some kind of misunderstanding, the meaning of communication slips away. You may notice that people are generally somewhat disconnected in Russian, they do not sit in the yard or in a café in a warm company, as the Italians do, for example. Therefore, an Italian in Russia, even having formally learned the Russian language, is faced with a misunderstanding of why he does not communicate in his personal life and in business with Russian speakers good enough. This is due to the processes that take place in the Russian language itself.
Language is a spiritual phenomenon, first of all. The will of God about people and the nation as a whole is transmitted in the language, as well canons - a kind of codes of honour, commandments, a description of the values underlying communication. So, if values and codes are understood and accepted clearly by all parties of communication, then the meanings are understandable and actions are consistent.
The formation of the Russian language was closely connected with Orthodoxy. It was the unity of spirit that united the emerging society. The cultural side of Orthodoxy ensured the continuity of the Russian language with Greek, and even Hebrew, and with European languages. In the Russian language, you can find huge layers of vocabulary associated with the roots of these languages. And, it would seem, it should be easy for an Italian to learn the Russian language and be understandable and accepted. But in reality this is not so. There are deeper reasons for this.
If you want to deal with these complexities, you will see that the Russian language today is like a layered pie. Yes, the ideology and television of the twentieth century did a job of consolidating Russian-speaking people, and the Russian language no longer resembles a patchwork quilt made up of various dialects and accents, as can be said about Italian, for example, and even about English, although to a lesser extent. But if the misunderstanding is not related to the difference in pronunciation and local word usage, then what is the reason for some disunity among Russian-speaking people?
The modern Russian language is like an iceberg, the tip of which you can see on the surface, all other layers are hidden in the depths. The meanings and values underlying the general communication are blurred, so the boundaries of concepts, the manner of perception, processing and expression of information began to fall apart into layers. These layers have yet to be dealt with by the native speakers of the Russian language themselves. We can only give some examples and make assumptions.
Firstly, where did the Russian language go, which was formed over a thousand years of Orthodoxy and has continuity with other languages of Europe? It was the same language in which parables about life, stories about the saints of the Russian people, stories about the tradition of Christianity were transmitted. This language had to exist, because otherwise it would be impossible for church communication, and the principles of the formation of society and its laws too. This language has not gone anywhere, it has not died, it is preserved and supported by the people, despite the harsh reforms of the early twentieth century.
I am not saying that all Orthodox priests and parishioners speak the old language. I am not saying that all Orthodox priests and parishioners speak the old language, because there are different people among them, however, parables and confessions, and Orthodox literature, you will be surprised, have a great similarity with the essay genre and other genres of European literature. And this is understandable, given that in the Orthodox Church there is a left choir and a right choir, as it was in Greece and Byzantium, the principles of tolerance are based on this.
If you take for the practice of the Russian language the diaries of John of Kronstadt or the beautifully written book of Luka Voyno-Yasenetsky, they both lived in the 20th century, or the "Words" of Archimandrite Naum Baiborodin, you will see that these texts are very similar to an essay, since an essay is a kind of public confession of the author on the issue that concerns him and according to his mental doing or style of presentation. This is the same principle by which British and American essays are written. Thus, the orthodox Russian language is one, but the most profound and important layer of the Russian language, which has preserved continuity with other European languages and their genres of literature. But as soon as you want to use this language in your communication with Russian-speaking people, you will most often feel that you are not understood. Because, as we said, other layers of the Russian language have formed today.
If you take a collection of the best modern essays in Russian, you will see some texts there written personally by schoolchildren or teachers. What they call an essay began to be used in Russian schools quite recently, in the 21st century. Even with a cursory reading, you can see that modern essays in Russian are not a balanced consideration of existing points of view on a question or problem that interests the author, but this is the only position of the author on a topic that looks important, rather, socially. For example, schoolchildren who study Russian literature describe the genre of fairy tales. Yes, the author of the essay gives an example of his favourite fairy tale and does a little analysis of it, but in the essay there is no mention of what other people might think about fairy tales or a particular fairy tale. It is precisely not paying attention to the views of other people and the lack of an attempt to look at the situation through the eyes of other people that is typical for an essay in modern Russian.
In fact, complex processes are also taking place in Italian literature, where the essay is a documentary and journalistic genre, and not a sincere personal opinion. Also in the modern Serbian language, the essay is considered as a scientific and journalistic genre, although there is a rather complicated attempt to combine scientific and practical knowledge with a personal position, understanding that the essay is also a public confession of the author, a statement of his faith, observations and principles. We clearly see the evolution of concepts related to the use of language. This reflects the complex relationship with values on which language is built. The English language remains true to the orthodoxy of its genres of literature, essays in English are lively, tolerant, sincere, and very interesting to read.
If you trace what other layers are in the Russian language today, you will notice that the language spoken by IT specialists is not at all the same language spoken by other people in Russian. You can say that similar things can be observed in other languages, the IT sphere is a separate space. The language of IT is largely international, based on English, since programs and technologies were proposed by English-speaking people. But still, the Russian language of IT has its own outlines and its own microclimate, some Russian-speaking programmers do not know English and do not like it, they manage "by their own means".
Similarly, representatives of other fields of activity formally use the same Russian language spoken by Russian television, however, many people do not watch television for many years, communicate only in their professional and personal circle of acquaintances, and their language is essentially no longer the same as the most spoken by Russian television.
It seemed simple, easy, obvious - to prescribe a certain code of honour for Russians, the idea to do this was in the air at the very beginning of the 21st century. It would seem that it is simply necessary to write down the learned lessons of history, the fundamental things on which Russians lived, were formed over the centuries, won their victories, survived and developed creatively. Once upon a time, the Jews did this, they received life according to the 10 commandments set out in the Bible. Russians could continue the tradition of the New Testament in our days, making their contribution. It seemed right to write something like "the Russian soul is as vast as the land on which this soul is happy in relationships with others and successful in creation."
It was possible to describe the values of Russians as generosity, courage, honesty, peacefulness - in word and deed. And then communication would be according to these values. But such a code was not written, they considered it better to remain silent, referring to the fact that Russia is a multinational country. Be that as it may, but if there is no common, understandable for everyone and accepted by all core values, then the language is stratified, and disunity has become noticeable, people in fact mean different things, pronouncing the same words the same way.
So, when you practice Russian, it is important to choose texts that convey the layer of meanings with whose representatives you intend to communicate. If this is not done, you will not be understood, even if you speak with impeccable pronunciation and grammar. But what layer of communication you are really interested in, and what layer you need for life - this will require some personal research, because even for native Russian speakers these things are still not quite clear, they are not formalized, although attempts to lay out formal requirements to the design of speech are constantly put forward by corporations and institutions, but they are contradictory, and have little to do with the prehistory of the development of meanings in Russian. Be careful.