The 6th Most Powerful Language in the World: Russian

Even Astronauts Learn Russian

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Today our series spotlight shines on Russian, #6 on the list of the world’s ten most powerful languages.

English is often called the international language of business, but things are a bit different in space.

According to Commander Tim Peake, training for his mission to the International Space Station (ISS) had one difficult speed bump. To qualify, the Briton was required to learn Russian.

There’s little room inside the Space Station for miscommunication. After all, it’s a workplace traveling at nearly five miles per second, 249 miles above the Earth—and a high-altitude example of the challenges and benefits of setting aside language barriers.

All cosmonauts and astronauts must speak only Russian during the six-hour trip to the ISS. Every command and communication is in Russian. To prepare, US astronauts take Russian language lessons. They must achieve a proficiency level of at least Intermediate High to join the mission, based on guidelines from ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages).

Back on the ground, there are nearly 150 million native speakers of Russian. Having the right language skills is a must to conduct business in Russia. An effective way to launch any new business relationship is to power up your first impression.

Here are five key phrases and business protocol tips to know before introductions begin.

  • Saying “Hello, my name is _______.” sounds like “Zdrastvujte, menya zavut ” in Russian.
  • Use a person’s first name with their patronymic in business situations and when addressing someone senior to you in age or rank. Refrain from using the first name alone unless invited to do so by the person you are addressing.
  • Asking someone their name sounds like: “Kak vas zavut?”
  • Titles are important for the purpose of knowing with whom one is dealing. Have your title (not only your department or functional area) displayed clearly on your business card.
  • Saying “Here is my card.” in Russian sounds like “Vot maya vizitka.”

Given Russia’s rich history, why not use the free two-week trial of GlobeSmart® from Aperian Global? This online resource can help you work more effectively in many multilingual and strategic global settings. To sign on, use the promo code INTROIQ.

We hope you return next week when we spotlight the #7 most powerful language in the world.

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