Natalya Philippova

“Knowing many languages – means to have a lot of keys to one lock” (An old saying)

My name is Natalya and I’m delighted to have this opportunity to join Aux 3 Pommes school to teach my native language – Russian. Being born and raised in the beautiful country of Azerbaijan, which used to be one of the 15 Republics of the Soviet Union, before it collapsed, I have been bilingual since my childhood. I was speaking Russian, my native language and Azerbaijani – the language of the country I was born and raised in. There were many nationalities, nations and ethnicities living in my country and I always could hear many languages and dialects which sounded like music to my ears. Maybe that formed my decision to learn more languages and to become a foreign language teacher.

After graduating from high school I entered Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University, and graduated a few years later with a Master’s Degree in Linguistics as a teacher of English and German. I discovered how amazing it is, not only to learn and speak a foreign language, but to pass on your knowledge; to teach other people to speak a new language! It opens someone to a whole new world with a unique culture and history, interesting customs and traditions. Someone said once that you live a new life for every new language you speak. I couldn’t agree more. I was teaching at school, as well as tutoring English, German, and Russian to adults and children. My Russian students were foreigners living and working in my country.

Ten years ago I moved to the USA and got my first young Russian students, my own children. Although I had taught children before, it was a whole new experience to teach my own children my native language. It’s fun, it’s also a lot of work, but it’s all worth it when I hear them speaking to me or talking to my relatives in Russian. It makes my heart smile. I do believe that they’ll carry the love for the Russian language and Russian culture through their life, and that someday they will read great Russian poets and writers such as Pushkin and Tolstoy, Chekov and Dostoyevsky in original… And who knows, maybe eventually they will bring my grandchildren to me for Russian lessons.

My eldest son once asked me which language is harder to learn, English or Russian… … Well, it’s certainly different. One of the things most often associated with Russian is that it’s one of the hardest languages in the world to learn, but is it? What is for sure is that once you come to grips with the conventions and construction, it doesn’t seem that hard. It is often said that English begins very easy and becomes difficult later on. As for Russian, I have good news for you, it’s the opposite. If you are coming to Russian from English, you will find some grammar aspects challenging, but many other things will be refreshingly easy.

I believe that you can not truly learn a language without learning its culture. That’s why at my lessons I’m trying to not only teach Russian language grammar and vocabulary to my students, but also to tell them about the country, and about its history, people, customs and traditions. I’m looking forward to meeting new students and to open for them a door to a whole new world, a world of Russian language!

Natalya Philippova
Russian teacher

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