Russian is a very rich language - one that has been influenced by a number of others, all while keeping it’s own identity. Many Russian words have derived from proto-Slavic vocabulary. If you don’t know another Slavic language, chances are these words will be more or less foreign to your ear. But not all Russian words are Slavic in heritage. Languages such as Latin, Greek, German, French, and even English have influenced the lexicon of Russian words. When you speak Russian, chances are you can get away with using modern or borrowed words, but if there is a traditional equivalent, you should always be familiar with these Russian words so as not to sound too Westernizing. As a rule, Russians are very proud of their language and can even sometimes insist that words of foreign origin are in fact original Russian words. If you know better, be sure to have a dictionary or encyclopedia on hand to prove it. But even that won’t be a guarantee your Russians friends will agree. You can learn Russian words with the help of vocabulary quizzes, flashcards, and dictionaries. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to use the language!