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Russian and Serbian grammar question

  Tags: Serbian | Grammar | Russian
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Khublei
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Speaks: English*, Irish*, Spanish
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 Message 1 of 4
2010 27 October at 11:58pm | IP Logged 
Hello everyone,

Just wondering, for those of you who may have knowledge of Serbian (or Bosnian or Croatian!!) and Russian - how similar are their grammar rules? I'm taking Serbian lessons at the moment because my work offers them for free, but I would really love to speak Russian. I'm learning the different case ending in Serbian for genitive, locative etc.

My question is, will this information be transferable as much of the basic vocabulary is? Are the rules for each gender in each case the same in both languages?

Fvala/Spasiba/Thanks!

Edited by Khublei on 2010 27 October at 11:58pm

1 person has voted this message useful



ellasevia
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 Message 2 of 4
2010 28 October at 1:37am | IP Logged 
I don't know Serbian, but I have some knowledge of the case system of Russian and with the help of a reference source, I think I might be able to provide a useful answer.

------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------
For masculine nouns, let's take the word “дом” (house, home) since it's the same in both languages.
RUSSIAN (sing, pl) // SERBIAN (sing, pl)
Nominative: дом, дома* // дом, домови
Genitive: дома/дому**, домов // дома, домова
Accusative: дом, дома // дома, домове
Dative: дому, домам // дому, домовима
Instrumental: домом, домами // домом, домовима
Locative***: доме, домах // дому, домовима
Vocative: [none in Russian] // доме, домови

For feminine nouns, let’s use the word “слава” (glory) since it’s the same in both languages.
RUSSIAN (sing, pl) // SERBIAN (sing, pl)
Nominative: слава, славы // слава, славе
Genitive: славы, слав // славе, слава
Accusative: славу, славы // славу, славе
Dative: славе, славам // слави, славама
Instrumental: славой/славою**, славами // славом, славама
Locative***: славе, славах // слави, славама
Vocative: [none in Russian] // славо, славе

For neuter, we’ll use “поле/поље” (field) because they are nearly the same in both languages.
RUSSIAN (sing, pl) // SERBIAN (sing, pl)
Nominative: поле, поля // поље, поља
Genitive: поля, полей // поља, поља
Accusative: поле, поля // поље, поља
Dative: полю, полям // пољу, пољима
Instrumental: полем, полями // пољем, пољима
Locative***: поле, полях // пољу, пољима
Vocative: [none in Russian] // поље, поља

* Irregular form
** Either form is acceptable
*** Called prepositional case in Russian
------------------------------------------------------------ ------------------------------------------------

So as you can see, many forms bear at least some sort of resemblance, but they’re not exactly the same. This will probably also be the case with adjectival declensions, but I noticed that Serbian adjectives seem rather more complicated than Russian ones.

I hope this helps!
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Chung
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 Message 3 of 4
2010 30 October at 12:32am | IP Logged 
Khublei wrote:
Hello everyone,

Just wondering, for those of you who may have knowledge of Serbian (or Bosnian or Croatian!!) and Russian - how similar are their grammar rules? I'm taking Serbian lessons at the moment because my work offers them for free, but I would really love to speak Russian. I'm learning the different case ending in Serbian for genitive, locative etc.

My question is, will this information be transferable as much of the basic vocabulary is? Are the rules for each gender in each case the same in both languages?

Fvala/Spasiba/Thanks!


Many of the grammatical principles seen in Russian do appear in one form or another in BCMS/Serbo-Croatian. Ellasevia has already provided a detailed comparison of declension in BCMS/SC and Russian, and you should be able to see which cases have similar endings and which ones don't.

Knowledge of aspect, determination of grammatical gender and declension in Russian should make the transition to understanding the same concepts in BCMS/SC relatively painless. However motion in Russian is treated quite elaborately compared to what's in BCMS/SC. An obvious difference is that Russian makes a regular distinction between travelling with or without a vehicle. BCMS/SC does not do the same.

E.g.

I'm going [on foot] || (ja) idem (BCMS/SC) || Я иду (Russian)
I'm going [by vehicle] || (ja) idem (BCMS/SC) || Я eду (Russian)

When it comes to determining gender of nouns, the common Slavonic rule applies where a noun in nominative ending in a consonant is often masculine, one ending in -a is often feminine, and one ending in -e or -o is often neuter. There are of course exceptions to these rules, but if you're familiar with this slight "unevenness" in Russian, seeing it in BCMS/SC shouldn't faze you.

When it comes to vocabulary, there is a common core and a knowledge of one Slavonic language's vocabulary may help you get the gist of something expressed in other Slavonic language. However the usual warning about false friends applies.

Here's a chart based on lexicostatistical research illustrating the percentage by which various Slavonic languages share basic vocabulary (presumably based on Swadesh's lists of vocabulary).

indo-european-migrations.scienceontheweb.net/slavic_continuu m.gif

A couple of Czech linguists describe how another Czech linguist did some glottochronological studies in the 1960s and 1970s and found that Serbo-Croatian and Russian shared about 71% of the vocabulary found in Swadesh's list of 100 basic words. The results of this study and that of others involving Slavonic glottochronology can be found here:

www.leidykla.vu.lt/fileadmin/Baltistika/42-2/04_Blazeko.pdf

(see p. 10 for a chart showing the results of that linguist's research from the 1970s)

Both of these studies should be treated with some caution since glottochronology and lexicostatistics are somewhat controversial among linguists when used to determine the degree of similarity between languages or the time when ancestral languages began fragmenting into daughter languages. I brought up these studies only to give a bit of sense of what some linguists think about lexical intelligibility within Slavonic languages.

Lastly, these comments by Thomas F. Magner in my copy of his "Introduction to the Croatian and Serbian Language" should be helpful even if they are meant for someone learning BCMS/Serbo-Croatian with a background in Russian:

Magner, Thomas F. “Introduction to the Croatian and Serbian Language”. University Park: Penn State Press, 1995, pp. xi-xii wrote:
If you have previously studied Russian, your knowledge of that language will be helpful in approaching Cr&S. For one thing, it will be easier for you to master Serbian Cyrillic, once you have learned the small differences between Serbian Cyrillic and Russian Cyrillic. But be careful: Similarities are not identities. Both Russian and Cr&S have the word "sestra", 'sister,' and "mikroskop", 'microscope,' but in Russian the stress accent is on the final syllable, that is, "sestrá" and "mikroskóp", while in Cr&S, which as a general rule NEVER has an accent on a final syllable, the accentuation would be "sèstra" and "mikròskop". And what language scholars call "false friends," that is, words that look alike but have quite different meanings, can cause confusion and sometimes embarrassment. For example, in Russian "urók" and "ponós" mean 'lesson' and 'diarrhea,' respectively; in Cr&S, however, "ùrok" means 'a spell' or 'a charm,' while "pònos" means 'pride.'

Unlike Russian and English, Cr&S has no reduced vowels; every vowel in Cr&S "gòvorite," 'you speak,' is pronounced as spelled, while in Russian "vi govoríte" only the accented vowel is pronounced as spelled. You will notice that it is not necessary to use the pronoun in Cr&S, since pronouns are used only for emphasis: "vi govorite," 'YOU speak.' So while a knowledge of Russian can be helpful, don't lean on it too heavily; Cr&S and Russian are distinct languages.


(N.B. Magner uses "Cr&S" as shorthand for "Croatian and Serbian")
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Khublei
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Yugoslavia
homestayperu.net
Joined 3990 days ago

90 posts - 141 votes 
Speaks: English*, Irish*, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Khasi, French, Albanian

 
 Message 4 of 4
2010 10 November at 7:02pm | IP Logged 
Wow! Thank you to you both for the very detailed explanation.

Edited by Khublei on 2010 10 November at 7:02pm



1 person has voted this message useful



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