Currently, the world is characterized by globalization and its effects are evident in all countries. It affects all sectors which are inclusive but not limited to political, economic and cultural sector. Culture is one of the sectors which are greatly affected by globalization because it is a wide topic which refers to people’s way of life.
However, although there is free flow of cultural ideas between different countries and different continents, American culture has extended to almost all countries in the world since it is considered to be superior to other cultures (Marling pp.7).
As a result, all the other cultures in the world have been greatly impacted by the American culture. Russia is no exception as the American culture has had great impact on it. Since culture is diverse, this paper shall focus on the positive impacts of the American culture on Russian language and some cultural changes that have been caused by Americanization.
Cultural diffusion is a common occurrence in the age of globalization as there are many factors that influence the same. Although all the other countries are affected by Americanization, Russia has been greatly affected especially due to the Western domination in to the East after the fall of the USSR.
Consequently, Russia is characterized by American cultural symbols. Although there are negative changes especially in relation to spending, Americanization has contributed greatly to social improvement. Since language is often used a means of communication, it has been seriously affected by the Americanization.
This is due to the fact that that globalization has facilitated free movement of people from Russia to America (Bogardus pp.189). On the same note, people from America can settle in Russia and as a result, Russian language has been greatly influenced by the American English.
Americanization of the Russian Language
Russian language is one of the Eastern Slavonic languages and it is spoken by about two hundred and seventy seven million people from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. However, it is also spoke in other countries like United States, Canada, Israel, Finland and Poland to name just a few.
The language has got a long history as it dates from the tenth century although it appeared in writing much later in the seventh and the eighteenth century. However, despite the fact that it was only a few authors who would have written in Russian during the era of the Soviet Union, a lot of people were using the language by then (Ager Para 2).
In view of the fact that language is prone to growth, Russian language has been growing rapindly since its establishment. Despite the fact that Russian language has been greatly influenced by English, there is a big difference between the two languages as studies indicate that it takes ten percent longer to communicate in Russian than in English.
As highlighted earlier in this paper, American influence on the Russian language had been in existence for quite some time. As a result, the language has been affected in various ways. For instance, there are some America words that have been incorporated in the Russian language. Moreover, English became a very popular in Russia especially towards the end of the end of the twentieth century.
Consequently, a lot of people especially the young people and children started to communicate purely in English. To make the mater even worse, some could not even communicate in Russian although it is their vernacular while others can only hear but cannot use it for speaking even at home.
Studies indicate that Americanization of the Russian language was not only a matter of concern to the scholars but also to the parents. Due to that, many parents made it a rule for their children to communicate purely in Russian especially in the home set up.
According to the studies of Melnyk (Para 4), influence of English on Russian language increased during the post Soviet era although before then there were still some similarities. For example, the same studies illustrate that some English words like weekend and girl friend are pronounced the same way in the Russian language.
However, during the post Soviet era, influence increased due to Western movies, teaching of English in Russian Universities, Western press as well as due to the increased Western books in Russia. Currently, due to technological advancement and development of a global economy, more English words related to the same fields are being used in the Russian language.
Such words are inclusive but not limited to email, broker, voucher, browser, coupon, user and provider. Most words in Russian slang are characterized by Russian affixes and English roots. For example, Russian words like mastdait meaning to criticize originates from English meaning must die.
Due to Americanization, some of the Russian words are currently being used while referring to some of the English words which have got similar sounds. For instance, studies of Melnyk (Para 6) illustrate that a word like mylo which means soap in Russian is used while refereeing to email just because the two words have got similar sounds.
Additionally, young people in Russia are currently using a lot of English words in their vocabulary such as cool and wow.
Impact of Americanization and Other Cultural Changes on Young People
As much as Americanization in any country affects people across all the age brackets, young are affected more than any other group in the society. This is due to the fact that it is the group that is most active not to mention that it is also the group that interacts more with the foreigners.
Most of the young people travel to America for study purposes and interact with Americans in the local learning institutions. In addition, it is the same group that is greatly influenced by music and the American movies. As a result, there is so much change in their life due to Americanization.
Their language is mostly affected as the study indicates that their speech is characterized by slang which has got its roots in English. No one can negate the importance of a vernacular language but on the other hand, there are numerous benefits that a bilingual or people who know more than one language reap.
In reference to Russian language, Americanization is very important as it is easier to express oneself in English more than in Russian. On the same note, it is important to point out that Americanization has led to development of certain words that are very helpful in expression.
Americanization of Russian language is very significant to immigrants from Russia in the United States. This is due to the fact that it prevents or eliminates culture shock as knowledge of some of the American words helps Russians to get assimilated easily in the American culture. Culture shock becomes a major problem especially to people who are not acquitted with the American way of life.
For instance, in the studies of Luria, Seymour & Trudy (pp. 100), a mother explains that her daughter was constantly ill after they settled in the United States. Once consulted, the pediatrician explained that the main cause of colds and flu was due to culture shock as it caused an inner struggle.
The mother reported that once the daughter learnt the American language and mannerism, her problem of sickness ceased. Such a case illustrates that even though Americanization has negative implications, there are some positive effects as well.
Conclusion and Recomendation
As much as linguistics and other scholars are doing their best to stop Americanization of Russian language, the situation will remain unless a sound intervention is sought. This is due to the fact that the problem occurs so naturally. For instance, Russians who settle in America start to use American words such as landlord, insurance, deposit and rent in their speech to be able to communicate well.
Likewise, Americans who settle in Russia borrow some Russian words and begin to use them in their speech. Therefore, the problem may not be eliminated easily especially in this era characterized by free movement of people from one country to another. In addition, media is a great contributor to the same since in a country like Russia; there are a lot of American movies and music (Kouznetsov pp. 293).
However, having said that, the importance of preservation of a vernacular language cannot be underestimated. In that case, it is important for the right measures to be put in place to control if not eliminate further Americanization. Studies of Marsh & Marsh (pp. 522) illustrate that in the twenty first century, the government has prohibited making any announcement and advertisement in any other language expect Russian.
Some parents are also doing their best to ensure that their parents use Russian since it is their vernacular language. Other important measures ought to be put in place failure to which Americanization will not only continue, but also and take root in Russia.
Ager, Simon. Russian (Русский язык). 2010. Web.
Bogardus, Emory Stephen. Essentials of Americanization. Chicago: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009. Print.
Kouznetsov, Victor. ” Information and Cultural Changes in Present Day Russia and their Influence on the Political System.” Information and Cultural Changes. Print.
Luria, Harriet, Deborah M. Seymour and Trudy Smoke. Language and linguistics in context: readings and applications for teachers. London: Routledge, 2005. Print.
Marling, William. How “American” is globalization? Baltimore: JHU Press, 2006. Print.
Marsh, Rosalind and Rosalind J. Marsh. Literature, history and identity in post-Soviet Russia, 1991-2006. Bern: Peter Lang, 2007. Print.
Melnyk, Yuliya. The influence of English on the Russian language. 2010. Web.