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Spanish, Russian, and Hebrew in Comp Lit.

  Tags: Hebrew | Russian
 Language Learning Forum : Lessons in Polyglottery Post Reply
adab785
Newbie
United States
Joined 4285 days ago

9 posts - 9 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian, French

 
 Message 1 of 4
08 March 2009 at 11:53pm | IP Logged 
Hello Professor Arguelles,

I am currently majoring in Russian at university, and this summer plan, tenuously, on starting Spanish. Just for a brief history, I took three years of French in high school and can still have a very basic conversation in French. I've been taking Russian for two years now, and have never studied Spanish.

My interest in learning Spanish, Russian, and Hebrew is in using these languages in comparative literature. Unfortunately, my university doesn't have a comparative literature program, so I'm majoring in Russian and plan to go to grad shcool for comparative literature.

My interest in literature is in immigrant literature, or, literaature written by and about immigrants. The three languages I am focusing on are simply because of my fascination with all three cultures.

Do you think that I would have to argue for combining these three languages in a comparative literature program? From the research I have done, many seem to stick to language groups such as romantic, slavic, or asiatic. One professor at my university who is a comparatist thinks that I may have to argue for this combination of languages. Do you think this will be a problem?

Also, do you think that after having two years of Russian that it would be okay to start Spanish? I generally do more than the homework requires for my Russian class. I study Russian, listening, writing, and reading for about an hour every day.
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ProfArguelles
Moderator
United States
foreignlanguageexper
Joined 5797 days ago

609 posts - 2100 votes 

 
 Message 2 of 4
10 March 2009 at 1:00am | IP Logged 
It depends upon the specific program, but unfortunately I concur with your professor that you will probably have to argue for this combination and that this will likely have a negative impact on your overall chances for admission. Yes, if most programs will even allow more than 1+ English, they tend to insist upon closely related groups, so proposing this will sadly probably pose a problem.

For what it is worth after that, it certainly sounds as if the state of your Russian studies will comfortably accommodate the addition of Spanish as well.

AA
1 person has voted this message useful



adab785
Newbie
United States
Joined 4285 days ago

9 posts - 9 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian, French

 
 Message 3 of 4
10 March 2009 at 4:25am | IP Logged 
Professor Arguelles,

Thank you very much for you reply, sad as it is.

I do have a couple more questions in reply to your response.

What other languages besides slavic languages do you think would combine well with Russian? I've considered French and Italian. French- mainly because of Russia's relations with France during the reign of Catherine the Great and her correspondence with Voltaire and Denis Diderot. Italian- because of the number of Russian artists from 17th-20th century sent to Italy to study. Of course, these were mainly painters and architects, and I don't have much interest in either of those. However, I have considered Italian and Serbo-Croation along with Russian as a possibility, considering the close political relations of the Balkans with Russia. Also, I think Italian is an absolutely beautiful language.

My second question concerns Comparative Literature. I'm just curious, because I don't know, why would learning two languages of opposite language families be a problem in comparative literature? Isn't comparative literature, at least it seems to me, supposed to foster cross cultural studies? Find similarities and differences? It seems as though it should be widely accepted for languages such as Russian and Spanish to be brought to the table in comparative studies.

Thank you again Professor Arguelles for your response, it is much appreciated.
1 person has voted this message useful



rekenavri
Pentaglot
Newbie
Belarus
Joined 4454 days ago

14 posts - 16 votes
Speaks: English, Belarusian, Russian*, Polish, Spanish
Studies: French, German

 
 Message 4 of 4
22 April 2009 at 8:23am | IP Logged 
Russian had borrowed a lot of German (in 18th century) and French (in 19th century) words. I'm not sure about Italian: a lot of people studied it, but it wasn't so widely spreaded.
When I see a text on Serbo-Croation, I can understand about half of the words. This languages are VERY close related.
Now thee're a lot of words borrowed from English, expecially in computer sciences (инсталляция, компиляция, etc).


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