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Russian and Ukrainian

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5638 days ago

195 posts - 185 votes 
2 sounds
Speaks: English*, Japanese
Studies: Ukrainian

 Message 1 of 5
10 June 2010 at 7:53am | IP Logged 
Hello everyone. I have had an interest in learning a Slavic language because my ancestors were Ukrainian and Polish. However, I have heard that Slavic languages are quite difficult because of the grammar. I am interested in Ukrainian but don't want to burn myself out with a language that I'm hardly ever going to use. My question is, just how easy would it be to communicate with a Russian person if you only know Ukrainian?
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Joined 5500 days ago

1598 posts - 2174 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian
Studies: Mandarin, Malay
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 Message 2 of 5
10 June 2010 at 7:56am | IP Logged 
There are long threads on the mutual intelligibility of Slavic languages here, Ukrainian vs Russian here, and Russian and other Slavic languages here.

Edited by newyorkeric on 10 June 2010 at 8:01am

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Senior Member
United States
Joined 5461 days ago

122 posts - 173 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Slovak

 Message 3 of 5
10 June 2010 at 2:13pm | IP Logged 
If you are wanting to learn these languages for personal reasons, why does the supposed usefulness or even difficulty, matter? I will say though, that since you are new to Slavic languages, I would start with Polish. It has some features that make it just that little bit easier than the East Slavic languages. For example fixed stress, latin alphabet, and a little more accessible culture.

If however I misinterpreted your post and you simply want to learn a Slavic language, then it's probably advisable to go ahead and learn Russian first. That is, if your desire to learn is based on communicative usefulness. If difficulty is scaring you away, then try Slovak. It's (comparatively) the easiest introduction to the Slavic world.

Yes, there are some features of Slavic grammar that are complex and alien to an English speaker, but as they say, where there's a will there's a way. You already speak fluent Japanese. You have no reason to fear a fellow Indo-European language ;)

Best of luck to you. I hope that your journey into the Slavic realm will be as rewarding as mine.

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Senior Member
United States
Joined 4706 days ago

1014 posts - 1533 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: German, Russian, Dutch, French

 Message 4 of 5
10 June 2010 at 3:52pm | IP Logged 
Remember that there are speakers of any (active) language all over the world. If they can learn it so can you. Every language has its difficulties, it's up to you to overcome them. Anything is possible of course!

Don't go into a language looking at the difficulty, learn what works and what doesn't and appreciate why the language works like that. If it works for natives it will work for you!! :D
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United States
Joined 4920 days ago

53 posts - 68 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Ukrainian

 Message 5 of 5
10 June 2010 at 7:49pm | IP Logged 
They might understand anywhere from, say, 30-80%, depending on the complexity of the topic and vocabulary. But the more important point is that most Russians are not going to enjoy being spoken to Ukrainian.

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