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Learn ’Slovio’ first as help to Russian?

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post Reply
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Romanist
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4200 days ago

261 posts - 365 votes 
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 1 of 36
22 July 2010 at 12:16pm | IP Logged 
This post is inspired partly by some recent discussions in the Multilingual Lounge about ‘Interlingua’ and ‘Slovio’, and partly by a recent comment from (I believe) Cainntear, who posited that teaching people initially a simplified and completely regular version of French or Spanish could help them to make more progress in the long term with the ‘real thing’.

Interlingua and Slovio are, of course, simplified constructed languages. But they are based on the Romance and Slavic language families respectively, thus forming a kind of general pan Romance and general pan Slavic.

On visiting the Interlingua website yesterday I was astonished to find out that I could understand at least as much Interlingua as Italian - a language where I'm trying to reactivate a very rusty B2 level. (Slovio was, of course, much harder, as I have only dabbled very lightly in the past with Russian and Croatian-Serbian.)

I now have a kind of hypothesis: if I were to learn Slovio to B2 or C1 level (which should be relatively easy to achieve, given the radically simplified grammar) then I would presumably have a similar level of passive understanding in Czech, Polish, Croatian-Serbian, and Russian, right? Furthermore, this should be an excellent base to make fast progress in any one of these ‘real’ Slavic languages?

I know it sounds kind of counter intuitive, but I really do wonder whether this could work!? It’s well known that people learning Slavic languages often tend to get bogged down with complex yet fairy extraneous features of grammar (masses of inflections for gender, case, etc.) But with Slovio one seems to be getting right to the core structures and vocabulary – the bare bones as it were.

What do you guys think?

Could learning Interlingua first help people to get into ‘real’ Romance languages more rapidly?

Could learning Slovio first be a genuine shortcut to learning Russian, Polish, etc?

Or would it be, on balance, a waste of time?


--------------------
UPDATE:

www.interlingua.com

www.slovio.com



Edited by Romanist on 22 July 2010 at 3:27pm

1 person has voted this message useful



zerothinking
Senior Member
Australia
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528 posts - 772 votes 
Speaks: English*

 
 Message 2 of 36
22 July 2010 at 1:45pm | IP Logged 
Well, not really. It depends on how similar to Russian it really is and how much
one hour of Slovio study is worth in terms of Russian study.

If you spend 100 hours in Slovio and then start Russian you could have already done 100
hours of Russian. After 100 hours of Russian plus 100 hours of Slovio you could have
simply done 200 hours of Russian already. I'm not sure if 100 hours of Slovio is worth
the same as 100 hours of Russian study. You said yourself Slovio's grammar is
simplified so you'll still need to get up to speed with Russian grammar.

Don't be intimidated by Russian. Don't think you can't just dive right in and
successfully learn it.

That's why I think it's better to simply go for the real thing straight away.

You actually want to speak Russian, right? Then I think learning Slovio is a waste of
time because that's not what you want to learn. You want to learn Russian. Once you
know Russian you'll have a strong base for further Slavic languages anyway.

On the other hand, Slovio's vocabulary is apparently such that you can passively
understand other Slavic languages and Slavic language speakers can understand you. So
maybe it'll give you a good base to learn new words in several Slavic languages. If
your goal is to learn many Slavic languages it might be useful. But this is true of
Russian itself. The vocabulary is similar to other Slavic languages such that learning
Russian is a booster or a shortcut to other Slavic languages in itself.

Plus you can't watch Slovio movies, meet Slovio people, listen to Slovio music, and
dive into Slovio literature as you can with Russian. That's where people derive a lot
of the joy with foreign languages.

My conclusion is that it's probably more of a waste of time and that it'd be more
motivational to just dive into Russian.

Edited by zerothinking on 22 July 2010 at 1:47pm

10 persons have voted this message useful



Derian
Triglot
Senior Member
PolandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4226 days ago

227 posts - 464 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English, German
Studies: Spanish, Russian, Czech, French, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 3 of 36
22 July 2010 at 2:13pm | IP Logged 
http://www.slovio.com/
Hmm, I love it!
I can understand 65-95% of the vocabulary using ma native Polish (depending on the sentence).
This will not be as good with spoken Slovio, obviously.

My general conclusions are:
- The grammar is indeed extremely simplified. So knowing it might not be a great boost when learning a particular Slavic language. /But(*)
- The vocabulary is indeed very universal for all Slavic languages. Especially the affixes - most of which are shared by or are very similar in all Slavic languages - and are often crucial for the grammar (*).
This will be extremely beneficial for learning any Slavic language.
- For the purpose of communication I can see Slovio working very well in Poland, Czech Rep. and Slovakia in basic conversation.


Basically, I think for non-Slavic native speakers, knowing basic Slovio would be beneficial for toursim. But I can't really see a point in going for fluency (or any higher level of proficiency than basic for that matter). It'd be a waste of time.

However, it would be great for Slavic native speakers to learn. I don't think it'd take me more than a month to be fluent.

Quote:
Could learning Slovio first be a genuine shortcut to learning Russian, Polish, etc?
No.

PS. What's amazing is that Slovio doesn't have a Wiki article in English! o_O
http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovio

Edited by Derian on 22 July 2010 at 2:26pm

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Romanist
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4200 days ago

261 posts - 365 votes 
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 4 of 36
23 July 2010 at 11:04am | IP Logged 

Guys, thanks for the comments. There seems to be a kind of consensus (looking at the votes too) that Slovio would be a waste of time for people who have the definite goal of learning Russian or Czech, etc. However I'm still not absolutely 100% convinced.

Derian wrote:
[...] I can understand 65-95% of the vocabulary using ma native Polish (depending on the sentence) [...] The vocabulary is indeed very universal for all Slavic languages. Especially the affixes - most of which are shared by or are very similar in all Slavic languages - and are often crucial for the grammar. This will be extremely beneficial for learning any Slavic language. For the purpose of communication I can see Slovio working very well in Poland, Czech Rep. and Slovakia in basic conversation. [...] It would be great for Slavic native speakers to learn. I don't think it'd take me more than a month to be fluent [...]


If it would take Derian (as a native speaker of Polish) just one month to master Slovio, then surely native speakers of non-Slavic languages could also learn it relatively quickly? Let's say up to level B2 in about 6 months?

So why would anyone do that?

Well, knowing one member of language-family makes all of the others partly transparent and thus much easier to learn! For example, it is well known that native speakers of Afrikaans (a Germanic language with almost no inflections of any kind) can usually become fluent in German or Swedish very much more quickly than - let's say - a Frenchman.

So the theory is this: having first invested about 6 months on learning Slovio, a learner could then spend the next 6 months learning (for example) Polish; and at the end of one year, he/she may well be at a higher level in Polish than a guy who had just spent the whole year struggling to get a handle on Polish grammar...

(Of course it's just a theory. But I'm still not absolutely convinced that it wouldn't work...)

Edited by Romanist on 23 July 2010 at 1:08pm

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Derian
Triglot
Senior Member
PolandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4226 days ago

227 posts - 464 votes 
Speaks: Polish*, English, German
Studies: Spanish, Russian, Czech, French, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 5 of 36
23 July 2010 at 12:21pm | IP Logged 
Quote:
If it would take Derian (as a native speaker of Polish) just one month to master Slovio, then surely native speakers of non-Slavic languages could also learn it relatively quickly? Let's say up to level B2 in about 6 months?

No. There's no logic in that, mate :)

I could have as well said:
- I don't think it'd take me more than 4 months to be fluent in Russian.
[Which wouldn't have been unrealistic (if I planned to study intensively).]

But does it automatically mean Russian would be easy to learn for non-Slavic speakers as well? Obviously not.

The reason why Slovio would be easy FOR ME, is because it shares a huge amount of vocabulary that is familiar TO ME and grammar that I understand and can produce right away.
The grammar is simple and easy FOR a Polish speaker, but it does NOT mean it is any easier than, say, the English grammar. Just on the contrary, it might still be considerably more complex than the English grammar or even those of most other European languages for that matter.

Quote:
So the theory is this: having first invested about 6 months on learning Slovio, a learner could then spend the next 6 months learning (for example) Polish; and at the end one year, he/she may well be at a higher level in Polish than a guy who had just spent the whole year struggling to get a handle on Polish grammar...
Hahah, no no NO!

You should read again what Zerothinking said. He put it perfectly.

A non-Slavic person who has been struggling with Polish grammar for 6 months will simply be 6 months ahead of the person who's been learning Slovio for 6 months and who's had none of that struggle, thus no clue about Polish grammar.

Just imagine someone started to learn an artificial language which would be a form of Mandarine Chinese, BUT without tones (as ridiculous as it sounds). :)
Could that person, after 6 months of study, have any sort of advantage over a person who's been studying real Chinese during that time?
:)
Nope, that person would be as profficient in Chinese as someone who has learned Spanish in that time.
(That's obviously an exaggerated and unequivalent analogy, but it shows the point.)

---------------
Like I said, if you wanted to spend your vacation on a huge trip through Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia and Croatia - then instead of trying to memorize words, phrases and expressions in 5 or more different languages, you could just learn those in one - Slovio. You could then enjoy a decent level of intelligibilty in each of these countries in simple contexts. But still, speaking Slovio in those countries wouldn't bring you much further than speaking Polish in the Ukraine or speaking Russian in Slovakia.

Edited by Derian on 23 July 2010 at 12:28pm

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Romanist
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4200 days ago

261 posts - 365 votes 
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 6 of 36
23 July 2010 at 1:45pm | IP Logged 
Derian wrote:
Quote:
If it would take Derian (as a native speaker of Polish) just one month to master Slovio, then surely native speakers of non-Slavic languages could also learn it relatively quickly? Let's say up to level B2 in about 6 months?


No. There's no logic in that, mate :)

I could have as well said:
- I don't think it'd take me more than 4 months to be fluent in Russian.
[Which wouldn't have been unrealistic (if I planned to study intensively).]

But does it automatically mean Russian would be easy to learn for non-Slavic speakers as well? Obviously not.


Okay, I see your point. But what I really meant to say was that Slovio is a relatively easy Slavic language which can therefore be learned relatively quickly.

Derian wrote:
The reason why Slovio would be easy FOR ME, is because it shares a huge amount of vocabulary that is familiar TO ME and grammar that I understand and can produce right away.


Okay. But then we can surely assume that the reverse scenario is also true, can't we?

In other words: if a person knows Slovio then Polish 'would be easy FOR HIM, because it shares a huge amount of vocabulary that is familiar TO HIM and grammar that HE understands and can produce right away'.

If not, why not?

Derian wrote:
A non-Slavic person who has been struggling with Polish grammar for 6 months will simply be 6 months ahead of the person who's been learning Slovio for 6 months and who's had none of that struggle, thus no clue about Polish grammar..


This seems to miss the point. If Polish texts are already partly transparent to a learner due to familiarity with another Slavic language, then surely that learner is going to 'get into' the grammar much more quickly and easily - exactly like an Afrikaaner learning German?

---

I'm grateful to Derian and Zerothinking for their interesting comments on this. But do any other guys have a view?


Edited by Romanist on 23 July 2010 at 2:17pm

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vilas
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Italy
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Speaks: Spanish, Italian*, English, French, Portuguese

 
 Message 7 of 36
23 July 2010 at 2:12pm | IP Logged 
Interlingua is useful to learn and to inprouve fluency in romance languages .I learnt it in about a week and now I can understand catalan and roumanian much more than before. I have tried to learn slovio but there is not a real course in internet nor books or cd . The slovak professor that invented it has a kind of copyright and this language is somehow associated with some panslavist movement.
Anyone knows where can I find some books to learn slovio?
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William Camden
Hexaglot
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United Kingdom
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Speaks: English*, German, Spanish, Russian, Turkish, French

 
 Message 8 of 36
23 July 2010 at 3:36pm | IP Logged 
I must admit a bias against artificial languages like Esperanto. But I feel if you want to learn Slavic languages you should learn them directly, rather through a halfway house like Slovio.


1 person has voted this message useful



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