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Mutual Intelligibility in Slavic Language

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Delodephius
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Yugoslavia
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 Message 25 of 63
22 March 2010 at 12:17am | IP Logged 
In my dialect we use pluperfect quite often. Maybe because of this I didn't notice that Slovaks in Slovakia don't use it so much. Interestingly, I don't think we use so much pluperfect because of Serbian influence because even Serbs use it very rarely.

Edited by Delodephius on 22 March 2010 at 12:18am

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jody
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 Message 26 of 63
22 March 2010 at 2:23pm | IP Logged 
1qaz2wsx wrote:
I have serious doubts about the mutual intelligibility between slavic languages.Maybe in a very basic level you can pick up some words or even some small phrases.But true mutual intelligibility,it seems,is way far from that.Even for native speakers.
I was once in Bulgaria and I,more or less, was able to get by with my russian.But I noticed the elderly could understand me a lot better because they had apparrently studied russian at school during the communist era.Most of the people of young age simply could not understand me.During my stay there I came across a 25 year-old girl in a shop who could not understand a simple question in russian:Kогда открывается ресторан рядом?And my russian pronounciation is fairly well.


I noticed this as well. The older folks (age 40+) could understand Russian much more than the younger folks.
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William Camden
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 Message 27 of 63
22 March 2010 at 3:19pm | IP Logged 
A Hungarian film of 1992 (I forget the name) had as its two main characters female teachers of Russian in a school who had to go on a crash programme to become teachers of English instead, as Russian was no longer in fashion. A fairly grim film.
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Chung
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 Message 28 of 63
22 March 2010 at 4:08pm | IP Logged 
1qaz2wsx wrote:
I have serious doubts about the mutual intelligibility between slavic languages.Maybe in a very basic level you can pick up some words or even some small phrases.But true mutual intelligibility,it seems,is way far from that.Even for native speakers.
I was once in Bulgaria and I,more or less, was able to get by with my russian.But I noticed the elderly could understand me a lot better because they had apparrently studied russian at school during the communist era.Most of the people of young age simply could not understand me.During my stay there I came across a 25 year-old girl in a shop who could not understand a simple question in russian:Kогда открывается ресторан рядом?And my russian pronounciation is fairly well.


For mutual intelligibility it depends on which Slavonic languages you are considering. The mutual intelligibility of Czech and Slovak is very high (between 80% and 90%) and it's common to see or hear discussions/interviews with a mixed group of Czechs and Slovaks, where each person speaks/answers only in his/her native language (i.e. Czech for the Czechs, Slovak for the Slovaks). Russian and Ukrainian have higher mutual intelligibility than Russian and Bulgarian (albeit Russian and Ukrainian aren't as highly mutually intelligible as Czech and Slovak).

The comparison using Bulgarian and Russian does not give the full picture of intra-Slavonic intelligibility since to use a familial analogy, Bulgarian and Russian are like cousins whereas Czech and Slovak are like siblings. If you were in Bulgaria, you would have on average been better understood if you had used Macedonian or even BCMS/Serbo-Croatian instead of Russian (excepting cases of meeting Bulgarians who had learned Russian).
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Sennin
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 Message 29 of 63
22 March 2010 at 4:21pm | IP Logged 
1qaz2wsx wrote:
I was once in Bulgaria and I,more or less, was able to get by with my russian.But I noticed the elderly could understand me a lot better because they had apparrently studied russian at school during the communist era.Most of the people of young age simply could not understand me.During my stay there I came across a 25 year-old girl in a shop who could not understand a simple question in russian:Kогда открывается ресторан рядом?And my russian pronounciation is fairly well.


Written Russian is somewhat easier. For example I can read uncomplicated texts (e.g. newspapers) but can't handle the same sort of thing in a conversation. As a rule of thumb you should use English with young people, inflicting Russian on them is a bad idea. At best you'll get a mixture of Russian and Bulgarian as a response, and you won't understand it.

Chung wrote:
For mutual intelligibility it depends on which Slavonic languages you are considering. The mutual intelligibility of Czech and Slovak is very high (between 80% and 90%) and it's common to see or hear discussions/interviews with a mixed group of Czechs and Slovaks, where each person speaks/answers only in his/her native language (i.e. Czech for the Czechs, Slovak for the Slovaks). Russian and Ukrainian have higher mutual intelligibility than Russian and Bulgarian (albeit Russian and Ukrainian aren't as highly mutually intelligible as Czech and Slovak).

The comparison using Bulgarian and Russian does not give the full picture of intra-Slavonic intelligibility since to use a familial analogy, Bulgarian and Russian are like cousins whereas Czech and Slovak are like siblings. If you were in Bulgaria, you would have on average been better understood if you had used Macedonian or even BCMS/Serbo-Croatian instead of Russian (excepting cases of meeting Bulgarians who had learned Russian).


Yea, I agree. I've said it before but there's no harm in repeating - Bulgarian is very close to Macedonian, and somewhat to Serbo-Croatian - i.e. intelligible with languages in the southern Slavonic branch. Bulgarian and Macedonian are pretty much like Czech and Slovak, about 90% comprehension on both sides. Russian is a different story altogether and Polish, Czech, etc. are even further away.



Edited by Sennin on 22 March 2010 at 4:37pm

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stelingo
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 Message 30 of 63
22 March 2010 at 6:58pm | IP Logged 
Chung wrote:
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.


The book I referred to was 'Czech, an Essential Grammar' by James Naughton, who is also the author of Colloquial Slovak, I believe. Can you give me the page reference where the pluperfect is illustrated.

I agree that it ia intersting that the vocative has all but died out in Slovak. There seems to be a continuum, whereby in Cz it is still very much alive, in Polish it is used to some extent but seems to be on the way out and finally Slovak.
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stelingo
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 Message 31 of 63
22 March 2010 at 7:00pm | IP Logged 
Delodephius wrote:
In my dialect we use pluperfect quite often. Maybe because of this I didn't notice that Slovaks in Slovakia don't use it so much. Interestingly, I don't think we use so much pluperfect because of Serbian influence because even Serbs use it very rarely.


Are there many Slovak speakers in Serbia?
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Chung
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 Message 32 of 63
23 March 2010 at 1:32am | IP Logged 
stelingo wrote:
Chung wrote:
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.


The book I referred to was 'Czech, an Essential Grammar' by James Naughton, who is also the author of Colloquial Slovak, I believe. Can you give me the page reference where the pluperfect is illustrated.

I agree that it ia intersting that the vocative has all but died out in Slovak. There seems to be a continuum, whereby in Cz it is still very much alive, in Polish it is used to some extent but seems to be on the way out and finally Slovak.


Look at p. 206 of "Colloquial Slovak" (1997) for an example of pluperfect in Slovak.

Just for fun, I've also gone through my copy of "Colloquial Czech" (1999) which is also written by James Naughton and could find no mention about pluperfect nor a token example of it in Czech.


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