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Czech and Russian

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CaitO'Ceallaigh
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 Message 1 of 6
2008 02 May at 7:16pm | IP Logged 
Has anyone who's studied both languages ever noticed just how similar they are? I had learned quite a bit of Czech in the early 90s, and then took up Russian once back home in the states, but never looked at them both at the same time 'til now.

The grammar to me seems almost identical, with a few variances. Czech's seems slightly more complicated to me.

Often times, it feels like the same language, but with different accents. I was wondering what anyone else who's studied both of these languages, or other Slavic languages, thought.
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Chung
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 Message 2 of 6
2008 02 May at 9:50pm | IP Logged 
CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:
Has anyone who's studied both languages ever noticed just how similar they are? I had learned quite a bit of Czech in the early 90s, and then took up Russian once back home in the states, but never looked at them both at the same time 'til now.

The grammar to me seems almost identical, with a few variances. Czech's seems slightly more complicated to me.

Often times, it feels like the same language, but with different accents. I was wondering what anyone else who's studied both of these languages, or other Slavic languages, thought.


I think that Czech grammar seems more complicated to you at the moment since you're more familiar with Russian. :-)

A while ago I bought Oxford's "Take Off in Russian" and the Penguin's "Russian Course" thinking that I would start to study Russian. I still haven't got around to studying that language, but I have browsed them and those of the Princeton course now and then and I do agree that there are quite a few similarities (the ones in vocabulary and the use of verbs of motion strike me as most obvious). I think that you get these "mini-Eureka" feelings when you move from one Slavonic language to the next. I definitely don't think that it's unique when studying Czech after having learned Russian. I remember my mild fascination of last year of the similarities that I encountered while learning Slovenian after having learned some Czech, Polish and Slovak. Nowadays I'm getting a similar fascination with the overlap of Ukrainian with Polish and Slovak.

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paparaciii
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 Message 3 of 6
2008 04 May at 9:24am | IP Logged 
CaitO'Ceallaigh wrote:
Often times, it feels like the same language, but with different accents.
I think you can easily find many similarities in written language . I remember, once I read some texts in Polish and was surprised that I could even understand whole sentences. I'm sure it would be the case also in Czech.
But this is the point where the similarity of these languages stops. The fact is that they are mutually unintelligible. So your illusion is false.


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showtime17
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 Message 4 of 6
2008 07 May at 2:55pm | IP Logged 
Well it depends. I speak both fluently and for me it can sometimes be tempting to use Czech or Slovak words in Russian, but that's the way similarities go in any language group. For example I speak French and now am learning Spanish and those languages are also very similar, so if you know one it is much easier to learn the other.
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Deniz
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 Message 5 of 6
2008 08 May at 7:12am | IP Logged 
I second to showtime. It is the same language family and that implies many overlapping parts in the grammar systems and a lot of common vocabulary (this concept of language families may seem a big and pleasant surprise to native English speakers, as English basically got out of the Germanic language family after the Norman invasion and lies between the romance and Germanic families in a sort of "homeless" state :) ). On the other hand even a native Czech speaker will not understand Russian without dedicated studies (that are for sure extremely facilitated by the similarities) just like an Italian will not understand a fluent flow of French for instance.
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Russianbear
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 Message 6 of 6
2008 08 May at 12:50pm | IP Logged 
The two languages are indeed similar, as can be seen from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swadesh_list_of_Slavic_language s

But I wouldn't say they are close to being the same language. Perhaps it may feel that way in the early stages, since a lot of the simple words tend to be very similar, but I have tried reading some Wikipedia articles in Czech and often found myself not understanding things - even though I also know Ukrainian, which probably gives me a better Slavic vocabulary base than Russian alone would. It seems Czech has evolved the most out of the Slavic languages and FX was probably right to call it L'enfant terrible of the Slavic language family. I think of all the Slavic languages that I tried to read, Czech was the one I understood the least.

Edited by Russianbear on 2008 08 May at 3:39pm



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