American Textbooks of the Russian Language and US Language Policy: on the Issue of Motivating to Learn



The article is devoted to the study of the US language policy in the field of teaching foreign languages, including Russian, and the relationship between language policy and the national security strategy of the country. At the same time, due to the lack of federal regulation in the field of teaching foreign languages, the creation and use of textbooks of the Russian language as a foreign language is not regulated and is given to the educational and regional organizations on the state level. Based on the study of textbooks of Russian as a foreign language compiled by American authors from the beginning of the 20th to the beginning of the 21st century, which is conducted according to several parameters — the content of the preface, methodological and motivational component, textual and lexical material, as well as the target audience — the author of the article concludes that textbooks do not reflect the real picture of cultural and social life in Russia, do not motivate learners, do not keep up with the changes taking place in Russian society, and thus create a false stereotypical image of our country among American students. The author sees the solution to this situation in the creation of digital textbooks of Russian as a foreign language.

General Information

Keywords: language policy, national security, target audience, motivation, stereotypical image of Russia, digital textbook

Journal rubric: Linguodidactics and Innovations.Psychological Basis of Learning Languages and Cultures.

Article type: scientific article


Received: 01.03.2024


For citation: Zenkevich I.V. American Textbooks of the Russian Language and US Language Policy: on the Issue of Motivating to Learn [Elektronnyi resurs]. Âzyk i tekst = Language and Text, 2024. Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 97–107. DOI: 10.17759/langt.2024110109. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Abramova S.V., Azimov E.G. Amerikanskie uchebniki po RKI [American textbooks on Russian as a foreign language]. Russkii yazyk za rubezhom. Spetsial'nyi vypusk. Rusistika Soedinennykh Shtatov Ameriki = Russian abroad. Special issue. USA Russistics, 2017, pp. 58-68 (In Russ.).
  2. Bryus L. Chto khochet amerikanskii student ot uchebnika russkogo yazyka? [What does an American student want from a Russian language textbook?]. Russian Language Journal / Russkii yazyk = Russian Language, 1982. Vol. 36, no. 125, pp. 207-209 (In Russ.).
  3. Zenkevich I.V. Russia in Russian Language Textbooks for Americans: Lexical Aspect [Elektronnyi resurs]. Âzyk i tekst = Language and Text, 2023. Vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 98–107. DOI: 10.17759/langt.2023100310 (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.)
  4. Zenkevich I.V. Sostoyanie rusistiki v SShA v XXI veke: Mesto russkogo yazyka v sisteme amerikanskogo obrazovaniya [Russian studies in the USA in the 21st century: the Russian language in American education]. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo universiteta = Bulletin of Tomsk State Pedagogical University, 2017, no. 7 (184), pp. 117-123 (In Russ.).
  5. Zenkevich I.V. Faktory interesa k izucheniyu russkogo yazyka v SShA [Factors that form interest in studying the Russian language in the USA]. Filologiya: nauchnye issledovaniya = Philology: Scientific Researches, 2019, no. 4, pp. 99-106 (In Russ.).
  6. Kagan O. Teoriya i praktika napisaniya lichnostno-orientirovannogo uchebnika russkogo yazyka kak inostrannogo: diss. … kand. ped. nauk [Theory and practice of writing personally oriented textbook on Russian as a foreign language. Ph. D. (Pedagogy) diss.]. 1997. Moscow: Gos. IRYa im. A.C. Pushkina. 213 p. (In Russ.).
  7. Korobkov A.V. Russkii yazyk v SShA: tendentsii poslednikh let [Russian language in USA: trends of last years]. Russkii yazyk za rubezhom = Russian abroad, 2012, no. 1, pp. 105-109 (In Russ.).
  8. Laletina A.O. Globalizatsiya i yazykovaya politika v sfere obrazovaniya: opyt Rossii i SShA [Globalization and language politics in educational sphere: Russian and American experience]. Politicheskaya lingvistika = Political Linguistics, 2013, no. 1 (43), pp. 158-163 (In Russ.).
  9. Brecht R.D., Caemmerer J., Walton A.R. Russian in the United States: A Case-Study of America’s Language Needs and Capacities. 1995. Washington D.C.: National Foreign Language Center.
  10. De Levie D. Basic Language. English, French, German, Russian. A Selection of 2000 Current Words arranged in parallel columns and A New Pronunciation Key. 1946. New York: S.F.Vanni Publishers and Booksellers. 155 p.
  11. Freed B. Foreign Language Acquisition Research and the Classroom. 1991. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath & Co., p. 5.
  12. Magner T.F. Ruminations on Teaching Russian. Teaching, Learning, Acquiring Russian. 1984. Sophia Lubensky, Donald K. Jarvis Slavica Publishers. 415 p.
  13. Noyes G.R., Patrick G.Z. An Elementary Guide to Russian Pronunciation. 1944. New York, Chicago: Pitman Publishing Corporation. 48 p.
  14. Parker W.R. The National Interest and Foreign Languages: A Discussion Guide. Prepared for the US National Commission for UNESCO, Department of State. 1961. Washington: U.S. Govt. Print. Off. 159 p.
  15. The Place of Foreign Languages in American Education: Report of the Fourteenth Annual Foreign Language Conference Held at the School of Education, New York University, on November 15, 1947. Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures School of Education. 1948. New York: New York University. 47 p.
  16. Richards I.A., Gibson Ch.M., Jasiulko E. Russian through Pictures. Book 1. 1961. New York: Washington Square Press. 189 p.
  17. Robins L. Russian for Travelers. 1963. New York: Collier Books. 128 p.
  18. Wiley T.G. Language Policy in the USA. Language Diversity in the USA. 2010. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Information About the Authors

Irina V. Zenkevich, senior lecturer of the Department of Linguodidactics and Intercultural Communication, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education (MSUPE), Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 52
Previous month: 29
Current month: 23


Total: 21
Previous month: 4
Current month: 17