Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Mutual Intelligibility in Slavic Language

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
63 messages over 8 pages: 1 24 5 6 7 8 Next >>
Delodephius
Bilingual Tetraglot
Senior Member
Yugoslavia
Joined 3770 days ago

342 posts - 501 votes 
Speaks: Slovak*, Serbo-Croatian*, EnglishC1, Czech
Studies: Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 17 of 63
20 March 2010 at 11:50pm | IP Logged 
It is interesting how the main barrier for successful understanding between different Slavic speakers are false friends and not so much grammar or pronunciation or different vocabulary (by this I mean un-common Slavic words).
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5523 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 18 of 63
21 March 2010 at 1:18am | IP Logged 
To keep this post from being even longer, I've not gone into false friends of which there are MANY within the Slavonic languages. Because of the length of this post, I suggest that people read this carefully and slowly. It may be sensible not to read all the rules of thumb or observations in one sitting, and instead take them in over a few sittings.

***

This recent discussion got me thinking about some rules of thumb that I've used or devised while studying various Slavonic languages over the last little while. My "best" Slavonic languages are Czech, Polish and Slovak while my ability in the other languages varies from rusty (BCMS, Ukrainian) to very rusty (Slovenian) to almost nothing (e.g. Bulgarian, Russian). These rules of thumb are not meant to be the gospel but I have put them together based on my learning experiences and after consulting some books and articles on comparative Slavonic linguistics or dictionaries and online translators. Additions, corrections or comments for the rules of thumb or examples are welcome. I have more rules of thumb in my notes but the ones that I present below are a good start, I think. If anyone would like, I can edit this post to add more. :-P

I hope that these observations are useful for others who are learning more than one Slavonic language or to fluent speakers of a Slavonic language who are trying to make sense of material that's in a Slavonic language that's different from the one in which they are fluent or native.

NOTE 1:
I've followed the spelling conventions for each language involved. This means that there are words in Cyrillic and Latin scripts in the examples. If it's preferable, I can transcribe the Cyrillic letters to Latin ones later on to make the comparisons more obvious.

NOTE 2:
WSL = Western Slavonic (i.e. Czech, Lower Sorbian, Polish, Slovak, Upper Sorbian)
SSL = Southern Slavonic (i.e. BCMS/Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Slovenian)
ESL = Eastern Slavonic (i.e. Belorussian, Russian, Ukrainian)

NOTE 3:
My examples lack information from Kashubian, Lachian and Silesian (all Western Slavonic), Rusyn (Eastern Slavonic), and Torlak (Southern Slavonic) because it's hard for me to find sources in these "languages"/"dialects"/"idiolects". Unless otherwise indicated, the examples and rules apply to forms in the standard language rather than dialectalisms.

-------------------------

1st RULE OF THUMB: if you see a word in WSL or ESL that begins with LO or RO, its cognate in SSL likely has LA or RA instead.

"plant"

(WSL)
ROślina (Polish) ROstlina (Sorbian); ROstlina (Czech); RAstlina (Slovak - exception)

(ESL)
РОслина (Ukrainian) РОст "growth" (Belorussian); РОст "growth" (Russian)

(SSL)
RAstlin (Slovenian); RAst "growth" (BCMS); РАст "growth" (Macedonian); РАстение “growth” (Bulgarian)

"I understand"

(WSL)
ROzumiem (Polish); ROzumiju / ROzměju (ROzmějom) (Sorbian); ROzumím (Czech); ROzumiem (Slovak)

(ESL)
РОзумію (Ukrainian); РАзумею (Belorussian - exception); РАзум "reason" (Russian - exception)

(SSL)
RAzumem (Slovenian); RAzum(ij)em (BCMS); РАзбирам (Macedonian); РАзбирам (Bulgarian)

* There are exceptions because of Slovak's tolerance for LA and LO or RA and RO, while ESL borrowed many words from Old Church Slavonic which is SSL. Instead of the expected "LO" or "RO" in ESL, you may see "LA" or "RA" because of the influence of loanwords from SSL. In Belorussian there is also a phenomenon where the unstressed "O" can become "A" and this difference is expressed in writing.

-------------------------

2ND RULE OF THUMB: If you see a word in WSL or SSL that has the combination of consonant + L (or consonant + R), its cognate in ESL will have consonant + vowel + L + vowel (or consonant + vowel + R + vowel). **This observation applies when the ancestral word had the combination of consonant + vowel + L (or consonant + vowel + R.

“head”

(WSL)
GŁowa (Polish, Lower Sorbian); HŁowa (Upper Sobrian); HLava (Czech, Slovak)

(ESL)
ГОЛова (Russian, Ukrainian); ГАЛава (Belorussian)

(SSL)
GLava (BCMS, Slovenian); ГЛава (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

“king”

(WSL)
KRól (Polish); KRal (Sorbian); KRál (Czech); KRáľ (Slovak)

(ESL)
КОРоль (Russian, Ukrainian); КАРоль (Belorussian);

(SSL)
KRalj (BCMS, Slovenian); КРал (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

-------------------------

3RD RULE OF THUMB: Czech, Slovak and SSL allow for L and/or R to act as syllabic vowels. The others do not.

“summit, top”

(WSL)
wierzch (Polish); vjeršk (Upper Sorbian); wjerch (Lower Sorbian); vRch (Czech, Slovak)

(ESL)
верх (Belorussian, Russian, Ukrainian);

(SSL)
vRh (BCMS, Slovenian); вРв (Macedonian); вРъх (Bulgarian)

“wolf”

(WSL)
wilk (Polish); wjelk (Sorbian); vLk (Czech, Slovak)

(ESL)
вовк (Ukrainian); воўк (Belorussian); волк (Russian)

(SSL)
volk (Slovenian); vuk (BCMS); волк (Macedonian); вълк (Bulgarian)

-------------------------

4TH RULE OF THUMB: Czech has the highest chance to have J- at the beginning of a word whose cognates begin with I in other Slavonic languages (including Proto-Slavonic). Sorbian has a lower chance of doing this. The remaining languages rarely show this tendency (if at all).

“needle”

(WSL)
igła (Polish); Jehła (Upper Sorbian); Jegła "(pine-)needle" (Lower Sorbian – rare); Jehla (Czech); ihla (Slovak)

(ESL)
ігла (Ukrainian - rare); іголка (Belorussian); игла (Russian)

(SSL)
igle (Slovenian); igla (BCMS); игла (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

“we go”

(WSL)
idziemy (Polish); dźemy (Upper Sorbian – the initial ‘i’ has been lost); źomy (Lower Sorbian – the initial ‘i’ has been lost); Jdeme (Czech); ideme (Slovak)

(ESL)
Йдемо (Ukrainian); ідзем (Belorussian); идëм (Russian)

(SSL)
zaidemo "we descend" (Slovenian); idemo (BCMS); идемe "we come" (Macedonian); идемe (Bulgarian)

-------------------------

5TH RULE OF THUMB: Colloquial Czech, Sorbian, Belorussian and Ukrainian are most likely to have a V- (W-) at the beginning of a word whose cognates begin with O in other Slavonic languages (including Proto-Slavonic). The other Slavonic languages in a few instances have words which have an extra initial V (W) in comparison to the ancestral form.

“eye”

(WSL)
oko (Czech, Polish, Slovak); Wóčko (Upper Sorbian); Woko (Lower Sorbian); Voko (Colloquial Czech)

(ESL)
око (Russian, Ukrainian); Вока (Belorussian);

(SSL)
oko (BCMS, Slovenian); око (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

“she”

(WSL)
ona (Czech, Polish, Slovak); Wona (Upper Sorbian); Wóna (Lower Sorbian)

(ESL)
Вона (Ukrainian); яна (Belorussian); она (Russian)

(SSL)
ona (BCMS, Slovenian); оној "that" (Macedonian); онзи "that" (Bulgarian)

“both”

(WSL)
oba (Czech, Polish, Slovak); Wobaj (Upper Sorbian); Wobej (Lower Sorbian); Voba (Colloquial Czech)

(ESL)
обидва (Ukrainian); абодва (Belorussian); оба (Russian)

(SSL)
oba (BCMS, Slovenian); оба- (Macedonian); оба (Bulgarian - archaic?)

“coal, carbon”

(WSL)
Węgiel (Polish); Wuhlo (Upper Sorbian); Wugel (Lower Sorbian); úhel (Czech); uhol (Slovak)

(ESL)
Вугіллям (Ukrainian); Вуглём (Belorussian); углем (Russian)

(SSL)
ogel (Slovenian); ugao (BCMS); јаглен (Macedonian); Въглища (Bulgarian)

-------------------------

6TH RULE OF THUMB: Belorussian, Czech, Slovak, Upper Sorbian, and Ukrainian words containing H often have cognates in the other Slavonic languages which use ‘g’ instead. This rule of thumb is not highly applicable to some words (loanwords in particular).

“voice”

(WSL)
głos (Polish, Lower Sorbian); Hłós (Upper Sorbian); Hlas (Czech, Slovak)

(ESL)
Голос (Ukranian - Ukrainian Г is pronounced as “h”); Галас (Belorussian - Belorussian Г is pronounced as “h”); голос (Russian)

(SSL)
glas (BCMS, Slovenian); глас (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

“I speak”

(WSL)
gwarzę “I chat” (Polish); Howriju "I roar" (Upper Sorbian); Hovořím “I converse” (Czech); Hovorím (Slovak)

(ESL)
Говорю (Ukrainian - Ukrainian Г is pronounced as “h”); Гавару "I say" (Belorussian - Belorussian Г is pronounced as “h”); говорю (Russian);

(SSL)
govorim (BCMS, Slovenian); говорам (Macedonian); говоря (Bulgarian)

-------------------------

7TH RULE OF THUMB: If you see a word with Ř in Czech or RZ in Polish, the cognate in other Slavonic languages usually has R or RJ (Sorbian cognates appear less consistent and can express the Proto-Slavonic *rj as r, rj, ř or ś).

“three”

(WSL)
tRZy (Polish); tŘi (Upper Sorbian); tŚo, tŚi (Lower Sorbian); tŘi (Czech); tri (Slovak)

(ESL)
три (Russian, Ukrainian); тры (Belorussian)

(SSL)
tri (BCMS, Slovenian); три (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

“friend”

(WSL)
pRZyjaciel (Polish); pŘećel (Upper Sorbian); pŚijaśel (Lower Sorbian); pŘítel (Czech); priateľ (Slovak)

(ESL)
приятель (Russian, Ukrainian); прыяцель (Belorussian)

(SSL)
prijatelj (BCMS, Slovenian); пријател (Macedonian); приятел (Bulgarian)

“sea”

(WSL)
moRZe (Polish); morjo (Upper Sorbian); mórjo (Lower Sorbian); moŘe (Czech); more (Slovak)

(ESL)
море (Russian, Ukrainian); мора (Belorussian)

(SSL)
morje (Slovenian); more (BCMS); море (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

-------------------------

8TH RULE OF THUMB: If you see a word in WSL (except Upper Sorbian in some instances) that has the medial cluster -DL- or -DŁ-, then the cognate in ESL or SSL usually has changed the cluster to either a vowel or L. This rule of thumb applies when the word from the ancestral language also had *-DL- (a word such as “sedlo” (saddle) from BCMS would not be a "violation" since its ancestral form had *-DЬL- instead, and in all modern Slavonic languages this ancestral cluster is expressed as -dl-)

“long”

(WSL)
DŁugi (Polish) dołhi (Upper Sorbian); DŁujki (Lower Sorbian); DLouhý (Czech); DLhý (Slovak)

(ESL)
довгий (Ukrainian); доўгі (Belorussian); долгий (Russian)

(SSL)
dolg (Slovenian); dug (BCMS); долго (Macedonian); дълъг (Bulgarian)

“plough”

(WSL)
raDŁo (Polish, Upper Sorbian); raDLica "plowshare" (Lower Sorbian); ráDLo (Czech, Slovak)

(ESL)
рало (Belorussian, Russian, Ukrainian)

(SSL)
ralo (BCMS, Slovenian); рало (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

-------------------------

9TH RULE OF THUMB: Nasal vowels have been retained in Polish.

“neighbour”

(WSL)
sĄsiad (Polish); susod (Upper Sorbian); sused (Lower Sorbian); soused (Czech); súsed (Slovak)

(ESL)
сусід (Ukrainian); сусед (Belorussian); сосед (Russian)

(SSL)
soseda (Slovenian); susjed (BCMS); сосед (Macedonian); съсед (Bulgarian)

“ten”

(WSL)
dziesiĘć (Polish); dźesać (Upper Sorbian); źaseś (Lower Sorbian); deset (Czech); desať (Slovak)

(ESL)
десять (Russian, Ukrainian); дзесяць (Belorussian)

(SSL)
deset (BCMS, Slovenian); десет (Bulgarian, Macedonian)

-------------------------

10TH RULE OF THUMB: Stress/accent is fixed in WSL and Macedonian. The remaining languages have mobile stress/accent.

-------------------------

11TH RULE OF THUMB: Pitch-accent (vaguely similar to tones) is used in BCMS and one of the standard forms of Slovenian. The remaining languages do not use it.

-------------------------

12TH RULE OF THUMB: BCMS, Czech, Slovak and Slovenian use long and short vowels. The remaining languages use only short vowels.

-------------------------

13TH RULE OF THUMB: BCMS, Czech, Macedonian, Polish, and Slovak do not have vowel reduction. The remaining languages do in varying degrees with the strongest manifestations of it being in Belorussian and Russian.

-------------------------

14TH RULE OF THUMB: Bulgarian and Macedonian have the fewest cases (practically 1 case, but pronouns can be declined for up to 3 cases), while Russian arguably has the most (it traditionally has 6 cases but some commentators count 8 cases). The remaining languages have either 6 or 7 cases.

-------------------------

15TH RULE OF THUMB: Bulgarian and Macedonian have the most tenses (the exact figure is difficult to ascertain because of how one can account for or interpret aspect and the different moods in the total. I counted 9 tenses for each language by the “traditional convention”, and that does not include tenses in the renarrative mood), while Czech and Russian have the fewest (3 tenses).

BCMS has 7 tenses officially, but 2 of them are rarely-used. Literary forms of Sorbian have 6 tenses but 2 of them are rarely-used outside those literary forms. The remaining languages have 4 tenses (pluperfect, past, present, future) but in those instances, the pluperfect is either rarely used or practically unknown to modern speakers.

-------------------------

16TH RULE OF THUMB: Slovenian and Sorbian have maintained full declensional patterns for the singular, dual and plural. The remaining languages only have ones for singular and plural.

-------------------------

17TH RULE OF THUMB: SSL has the least complicated treatment for verbs of motion. Slovak treatment is more complicated while that of ESL and the remaining WSL is the most complicated. The complication arises from using different verbs denoting whether motion is a determinate or indeterminate action as well as whether the motion is accomplished with or without mechanical help.

1) “I go (without a vehicle)” (first set of words); 2) “I go (by vehicle)” (second set of words)

(WSL)
1) idę (Polish); du (Upper Sorbian); du, źom (Lower Sorbian); jdu (Czech); idem (Slovak)

2) jadę (Polish); jěcham (Sorbian); jedu (Czech); idem (Slovak)

(ESL)
1) йду (Ukrainian); іду (Belorussian); иду (Russian)

2) їду (Ukrainian); еду (Belorussian, Russian)

(SSL)
1) grem (Slovenian); idem (BCMS); идам (Macedonian); ида (Bulgarian)

2) grem (Slovenian); idem (BCMS); идам (Macedonian); ида (Bulgarian)

Edited by Chung on 23 March 2010 at 10:57pm

19 persons have voted this message useful



stelingo
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4199 days ago

722 posts - 1076 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Czech, Polish, Greek, Mandarin

 
 Message 19 of 63
21 March 2010 at 5:27pm | IP Logged 
Quote '15TH RULE OF THUMB: Bulgarian and Macedonian have the most tenses (the exact figure is difficult to ascertain because of how one can account or interpret aspect and the different moods in the total. I counted 9 tenses for each language by the “traditional convention”, and that does not include tenses in the renarrative mood), while Czech and Russian have the fewest (3 tenses).'

Does Slovak also not have just 3 tenses? If not, which tenses does it have that are lacking in Czech?
2 persons have voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5523 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 20 of 63
21 March 2010 at 7:44pm | IP Logged 
Slovak officially has pluperfect, past, present, and future. However pluperfect is rarely used, and for practical purposes many actions that you could express with pluperfect can be expressed with past tense with suitable adverbs or use of context.
2 persons have voted this message useful



stelingo
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4199 days ago

722 posts - 1076 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Czech, Polish, Greek, Mandarin

 
 Message 21 of 63
21 March 2010 at 9:54pm | IP Logged 
Could you give me an example of the pluperfect in Slovak?
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5523 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 22 of 63
21 March 2010 at 10:09pm | IP Logged 
Tata prečítal časopis, ktorý (bol) kúpil včera. "Dad read the magazine that he had bought yesterday."

In Slovak it's clear enough that he first bought the magazine before reading it. Therefore it's very common to use a regular past tense (i.e. skip using "bol" with "kúpil") and thus avoid the pluperfect.
1 person has voted this message useful



stelingo
Hexaglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4199 days ago

722 posts - 1076 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian
Studies: Russian, Czech, Polish, Greek, Mandarin

 
 Message 23 of 63
21 March 2010 at 11:46pm | IP Logged 
Chung wrote:
Tata prečítal časopis, ktorý (bol) kúpil včera. "Dad read the magazine that he had bought yesterday."

In Slovak it's clear enough that he first bought the magazine before reading it. Therefore it's very common to use a regular past tense (i.e. skip using "bol" with "kúpil") and thus avoid the pluperfect.


I just checked my Cz grammar, and there also exists a pluperfect tense in Cz, although it states this is now semi-obsolete. Given how close two languages are, I thought it would be strange if one had an extra tense. Your sentence in Cz would read:

Táta přečetl časopis, který (byl) koupil včera.
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5523 days ago

4228 posts - 8256 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 24 of 63
22 March 2010 at 12:16am | IP Logged 
I haven't been able to find any reference to pluperfect in my Czech books yet your example makes sense to me. What's odd is that the chapters for Czech and Slovak in the widely-used reference book "Slavonic Languages" from Routledge are written by the same author, David Short. However Short explicitly states that Czech has three tenses but states that Slovak has four (with the note of pluperfect being rarely used). It's probably because of its (semi-)obsolescence in Czech that the pluperfect escapes mention in the newer Czech books that I use as well as in Short's description. On the other hand even my copy of "Colloquial Slovak" from 1997 gives an example of the pluperfect but insinuates that it's rarely used (as opposed to being obsolete) since it adds that the simple past tense is sufficient.

Another thing that you may find strange is that despite the genetic linguistic proximity, Slovak has 6 cases to Czech's 7. The former has effectively merged the vocative with the nominative (forms like "Bože!" or "človeče!" are treated as relics or exceptions rather than parts of a separate case/grammatical category) while Czech uses the vocative actively with full declensional tables for vocative included.

Edited by Chung on 22 March 2010 at 4:17am



1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 63 messages over 8 pages: << Prev 1 24 5 6 7 8  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.4219 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2020 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.