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Yana (Yanovsky) Matlof

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Yana (Yanovsky) Matlof

 

My parents immigrated from the Soviet Union in 1981 and I was six years old at the time. While I spoke Russian at home, English became my primary language and my knowledge of Russian grammar and vocabulary suffered as I grew. When I came to Stanford, I decided to learn how to read and write in Russian, to improve my grammar, and to enjoy Russian literature in my native tongue. I declared Slavic Language and Literature as my second major.
 
The Stanford Slavic Department welcomed me and tailored a program for my special needs (as I knew how to speak and understand the language, but did not know how to read and write). I studied Russian with another Stanford student, Siobhan Fisher. Siobhan spoke Czech (as well as other languages) fluently. She helped me with Russian grammar (Russian grammar was relatively easy for Siobhan since it is similar to Czech grammar) and I helped Siobhan with vocabulary and pronunciation. As a result, my Russian improved tremendously.
 
I am currently practicing entertainment law in Los Angeles and the practice does not provide me with many opportunities to use my Russian. However, since graduating from Stanford in 1997, I have used the language to communicate with family and friends and during my travels back to Russia. I am also speaking Russian to my five month old son.