Russian Language Journal


Tsiolkovsky, "Russian for Rockets, " technical language studies, Russian language teaching


This article describes a study that grew out of research and translation work completed within the framework of a series of innovative interdisciplinary courses called “Russian for Rockets.” While there are currently no language study requirements in most science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, there is a high demand among STEM majors in U.S. universities for language courses with a strong technical component. In particular, a poll at the Purdue School of Aeronautics and Astronautics conducted in 2018 showed that over 90% of respondents were interested in taking a course in technical Russian.1 This finding resulted in the development of unique language courses in the Russian Program at Purdue University that explore science and engineering from linguistic and cultural perspectives. These courses target students with different levels of proficiency in Russian (from elementary through intermediate to advanced) and with various majors, interests, and backgrounds. The courses are part of the Purdue School of Languages and Cultures LSP (Languages for Specific Purposes) initiative, in which we address the needs of a versatile community of students in our language classes focusing on their specialized professional areas.