Godzilla: Learning to Read with Capitalism


My mam looked totally confused as she repeated what she had through she had heard. ‘Godzilla means ‘thank you’ here??’. No. Of course not, we were on the busy underground and she had misheard Спасибо (Spasiba). But it highlighted a problem we’ve faced as students, and my visitors have faced as well- Russian is the dominant language here, English skills can only be found in the tourist traps, and even then some of the translations are unclear or unhelpful. Especially challenging for my visitors seems to be the different letters that make up the Russian Alphabet.

So, how can I get people to recognise letters in the short time they are here? Together with my mam (an English teacher), and tested on my latest visitors, Luke, Maddi and Steve, I have developed the following strategy- sound it out with words you know/signs you recognise. It does mean that you have to make the student repeat words like ‘coffee’, ‘sushi’ and ‘anitsushi’ fairly often (what the hell is antisushi??), but apparently, it sticks!
Here are some of the most recognizable capitalist chains to get you started on the alphabet- and let me just warn you upfront- there are two different typefaces for Russian(Cryllic) letters, one typed and one ‘handwritten’, just to make it more confusing. But we can get to that at a different time.
Also, fun fact of the day: changing something from Latin letters to Cryllic is called Cryllization, according to the ever trustworthy Wikipedia. (Yes, there is some sarcasm here, no I did not double check this fun fact)

One thought on “Godzilla: Learning to Read with Capitalism

  1. the pictures really help!! although I admit I didn’t recognize mcdonalds at first.. woops. If I look at them every day maybe I shall learn the letters as well 🙂


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