A language brought us to our neighbors – about an international project supported by the Gorchakov Fund

24 February 2016

One can learn now Moldavian and Tajik at city libraries, Rossiyskaya gazeta writes.


Moscovites can learn now one out of ten languages of their choice at the “School of Neighbors’ Languages”. The school is open from February 1 to May 27, 2016. Classes take place once a week from 7 pm to 9 pm.


It is believed that a diligent graduate of such a school will be able to read, explain himself and, in a less degree, write. All the three months of training are free of charge.


Space for the classes was provided by the Griboyedov Library #1, the Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library, the Turgenev Study Hall and Library, the Dostoyevsky Library #8 and the Rudomino All-Russian Library. The first enrollment will include 120 students, which is a small number for a metropolis. As a result of that seven students were competing for one spot.


Sociologists should pay attention to the situation. It is unusual in its essence. People are ready to study voluntarily Tajik cases of nouns and Moldavian verbs. And not in order to remember a couple of phrases and say “rakhmat” (“thank you”) to a Tajik yard-keeper they know or to make happy their neighbor-Moldavian by saying “Se fiy senetos” (“to your health!”).


One does not need to attend lectures just to say that. Think about it: a resident of the metropolis, tired from traffic jams, out of sudden starts persistently and patiently learning a foreign language. And that language is not the one in demand as English.


Who needs that and why? I addressed coordinator of the project philologist Veronica Sergeyeva with these questions.


Veronica, the “School of Neighbors’ Languages”, as far as I understand, is logical continuation of the “School of Migrants”? There, all those interested were invited to learn one of the four languages – Kazakh, Tajik, Moldavian and Uzbek – for free.


Veronica Sergeyeva: Yes, but it is an independent project sponsored by the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund. Though I also coordinated the “School of Migrants” in the Muzeon Park of Arts (the author of the project was painter from St. Petersburg Olga Zhitlina), we wanted to move forward. Now, an opportunity is provided to learn not four, but ten languages. Azerbaijani, Armenian, Belorussian, Kirghiz, Turkmen and Ukrainian were added to the list of languages.


And in addition to that, those are not just language courses, but an opportunity to learn about the culture of former Soviet republics.

A full text of the article in Russia can be found here