Why Russian is Easy: NO ARTICLES

By Ari Helderman
April 13, 2022

Summary: Russian may not be the easiest foreign language in the world, there are many things in Russian, that make it relatively easy to speak. The fact that there are literally 0 articles is one of them. While speaking you have more mental bandwidth free for thinking of words that actually convey a meaning, so your speech becomes more clear.

A quick search online, and you’re bombarded with articles and videos of why Russian is oh so super difficult. 

I disagree.

There are many small and large things that massively improve the odds of you speaking Russian VS any other popular foreign language (such as French, Spanish, Chinese etc).

Today I want to talk about the Russian articles, and why you should be jumping in your chair of joy.

NO ARTICLES!

That’s it. There are 0 articles in Russian. No the/a/le/la/el/de/der/het/een/ein etc.

So you don’t need to remember any of them.

You can just speak words, without needing to remember which little pesky useless word goes in front of it.

This free up a lot of mental bandwidth, that you can then use to choose words that actually matter in your speech.

Let’s take a random sentence in the English language.

Let’s take the previous sentence!

Now let’s remove the articles…

Let’s take random sentence in English language.

You still completely understand what it means, right?

And in English it’s actually easy. 

You say ‘the’ when you mean a specific object.

You say ‘a’ when there are more of them, and it’s more about the thing in general.

But many other foreign languages are a hell…

Dutch articles for example

I’m Dutch. And a big problem many foreigners here experience is the complete randomness of articles. We have 3: de, het, een. 

De/het correspond to the. Een corresponds to a.

It’s the same as in French basically, but with le and la.

Every noun either has de/het before it. But the rules why? No One really knows.

I understand everything based on my intuition. 

Foreigners don’t have that intuition. So for EVERY SINGLE NOUN THEY LEARN, THEY NEED TO LEARN AN ADDITIONAL WORD.

That’s horrible. 

And I can always pick out non-native speakers by their mistakes in articles.

You have less chances to make mistakes in Russian

Since you don’t need to think about the articles, you have less chances of making mistakes while speaking. 

Making mistakes is completely fine by the way. It’s just once you’re at a higher intermediate level, and your accent is okay, that people will start to stop believing you’re not Russian. Or at least that your mother wasn’t Russian.

And then it’s pretty fun to play along and see how long you can last without making mistakes.

And the fact that there are no articles make that much easier.

For Russians learning English it’s the other way around though.

They suddenly need to ensure they add articles. And it’s a lot more difficult to sometimes ADD articles to your speech, than it is to just completely forget them 😉

Watch this video where I tell you in Russian (with English subtitles) 9 reasons why Russian is actually easy to learn.

What should you do next?

Learning Russian does NOT need to be difficult. All you need is a solid plan that helps you improve the following things daily:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • listening skills
  • speaking skills

That's ALL you need. If you can do this for a couple of weeks, you’ll already be making great progress in your Russian skills.

And the best part? If you improve a little bit every day, soon these practices will become daily habits.

And then you will start making progress on autopilot.

This means that learning Russian is now a part of your daily routine. So you won’t even need discipline anymore to get yourself to practice.

If you like the idea of this, but don’t know where to start, go here for more information.

About the Author

My name is Ari Helderman and I help people learn Russian through videos and blog posts where I share my experience.   I have been learning Russian since 2016. I often get mistaken for a native speaker these days, so I've learned a thing or two about what works and what doesn't if you want to speak Russian well.

Ari Helderman

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