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Word Count: 855
It is unusual and perhaps impossible for an emigres native language to remain unaffected after living abroad for several years Phonetic and spelling rules that may have been drilled into their minds in childhood quickly disappear while the emigre struggles to master the language of their new home Almost all people claim to read in their second language more proficiently than they speak1 however emigres who attend high school and college in a foreign country often find themselves writing more often in their second language than in their first After time the second language becomes the default language of writing for these emigres and the spelling in their native language deteriorates2 As the second language becomes more frequently relied on than the first several aspects of the second language will affect the first which is why many emigre Russians will speak Russian with American accents or with English intonation In this project I wanted to test emigre Russians in America on their spelling and test the interference of English phonetic rules on Russian spelling Preliminary Work This phenomenon captured my attention three years ago while I was living with a Russian emigre student I would ask her to correct my Russian homework each night but she often corrected my homework rather poorly as her spelling was less than stellar She claimed that since leaving the Soviet Union 6 years earlier she had only spoken Russian and having almost no reason to write in Russian she had forgotten some of the most basic spelling rules Further she claimed that spelling in Russian was different than spelling in English This last comment puzzled me until I lived in Russia last year and approached this topic with Russians A good friend of mine took a diktant at Moscow University and made 45 spelling mistakes the acceptable number was 6 A native of Moscow he had been living in France for the previous
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