Jon Stewart of The Daily Show made a funny and correct assessment of why Russian speakers sound “evil” in English, although they may not have any bad intentions.
“I wonder if Russia has been our (US) enemy for so many years because everything they say just sounds evil. Maybe it’s all been a misunderstanding of tone and syntax,” comedian Jon Stewart comments on Russian President Medvedev’s statement to President Obama at the recent nuclear summit in South Korea. (The two leaders thought their microphones weren’t on.)
Unfortunately, Russian speakers can sound very harsh in English, especially when they don’t use the definite and indefinite articles correctly and say “I want apple” instead of “I want an apple”. This is why paying attention to details and getting into the music and flow of your target language is important, or else you may sound like a Neanderthal without realizing it.
Before anyone accuses me of being anti-Russian, let it be known that I’m a native Russian speaker and I know all to well how Russian speakers sound like to English ears. I’ve witnessed more misunderstanding and miscommunications between Americans and Russians than I care to remember precisely because of the directness of Russian speakers in the way they communicate in English and their incorrect usage of the English language.
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