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Czech through Russian

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administrator
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 Message 1 of 13
2005 04 April at 4:12pm | IP Logged 
Does anybody have experiences of learning Czech, Serbo-Croatian or other slavic languages from a command of Russian?
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czech
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 Message 2 of 13
2005 04 April at 4:54pm | IP Logged 
Francois,

If you are looking to learn Czech from your Russian, you can acquire it in probably 3-5 months of hard study. It is easier as far as phonetics go, but the cases are hard for foreigners to master, it has six. If you want to learn a slavic language using your Russian, I would say Polish is a safer bet.

It is a little closer to Russian, although reading similarities are a little tougher since they do not use the same alphabet, but verbal communication should come with ease.

I do not speak Russian, but there are many many similarities in these types of languages that I can understand. After all of your studying of Russian, you owe it to yourself to acquire another slavic language.

What do you intend to learn next?
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ProfArguelles
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foreignlanguageexper
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 Message 3 of 13
2005 05 April at 1:27am | IP Logged 
Administrator, have you forgotten that we had a discussion about this around two months ago? I believe it was in the general discussion group towards the middle of February. I think Bradley started it, and it was called something like Acquiring a Second Slavic language. It should have been moved here, but hasn't been yet, so please do so and perhaps merge the two posts. I wrote some general comments then - look it over, and if there is anything more specific, ask away.
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administrator
Hexaglot
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 Message 4 of 13
2005 05 April at 3:32am | IP Logged 
Ardaschir, you are right, there was another discussion on a closely related topic under 'Acquiring a Second Slavic Language'. If you agree I'd like to keep this discussion separate since it focuses on the specific problem of going from Russian to another Slavic language.

For non-slavic people the first Slavic language they learn is usually Russian. From there, I think the only other 'important' Slavic language in economic or population terms is Polish, although unless you plan to do business in Poland or live close to Poland, its utility is probably limited.

My point is that the choice of learning a second Slavic language after Russian is one of love or similarity rather than hard utilitarianism.

Personnally, the two other Slavic languages that caught my attention are Czech and Serbo-Croatian.

Polish would be fine but I understand it is just as hard as Russian and a lot of work, whereas Serbo-Croatian appears to me much more similar to Russian. As for Czech, this is probably the enfant terrible of the family but the country is fascinating, the people nice and the language imported many German words, which would perhaps slightly reduce its difficulty with regards to Russian. I understand that such a case could easily be made for Polish, but I am just more prepared to work for Czech than I am for Polish.

There is actually a book by Slavica publishers called "Czech trough Russian". Behind the appealing title is a rather dry and technical book targeting an academic audience rather than the practical learner. I enjoyed the book very much but unfortunately it was no replacement for hard work I had hoped it would be!

Edited by administrator on 2005 05 April at 3:44am

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ProfArguelles
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 Message 5 of 13
2005 06 April at 4:15am | IP Logged 
As you like, Administrator, but I don't quite understand-- both posts are about going from Russian to another Slavic language. Well, I studied the other four that I did (Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian, and Bulgarian) because these are the only ones that have a) long standing literary traditions and b) a fair amount of readily available study materials of decent quality. You should certainly go for the ones that appeal to you most, but if you are looking for one that is easier than the others, it is most certainly Bulgarian.
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administrator
Hexaglot
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 Message 6 of 13
2005 06 April at 11:21pm | IP Logged 
Ardaschir, thank you for your answer.

The easiest Slavic languages to learn from Russian would then be Bulgarian and Ukrainian?

The next easiest probably Serbo-Croatian?

And the most different to Russian and inherently most complex would be Czech, Slovak and Polish?


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Seth
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 Message 7 of 13
2005 06 April at 11:46pm | IP Logged 
Or perhaps Slovenian. I think it still retains the dual number problem.

I have Bosnian and Macedonian friends who feel, that for whatever reason, Slovenian is completely unintelligible--even for them.
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ProfArguelles
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 Message 8 of 13
2005 07 April at 2:13am | IP Logged 
There is no question but that the South Slavic languages (Bulgarian, Serbocroatian, Bosnian, Macedonian, and Slovenian) are closer to the East Slavic languages (Russian, Ukranian, and Byelorussian) than are the West Slavic languages (Polish, Czech, and Slovak).

The grammar of Bulgarian is objectively simpler than that of any of the others, and to me it is the only one that had the feel of being a Russian dialect, whereas the others seemed like distinct languages.

I don't think we ought to regard things like the presence of an active dual form in languages like Slovenian as a "problem." If you learn languages by memorizing charts, this is an added encumberance, but if you learn by shadowing the living language, it is not so terrible, and once you get a handle on the language, it serves as an interesting and distinctive feature. At least in the way I study languages, their grammar is hardly ever what makes them difficult - rather it is pronunciation and, above all, vocabulary.


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