Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Polish/Croatian From Russian

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
11 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
Darobat
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5828 days ago

754 posts - 770 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Latin

 
 Message 1 of 11
24 August 2006 at 3:28pm | IP Logged 
I was wondering how transparent Polish or Croatian would be for someone who has a firm grounding in Russian. Is the grammar similar? Vocabulary?

Thanks

Edited by Darobat on 24 August 2006 at 7:15pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5796 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 2 of 11
27 August 2006 at 7:51pm | IP Logged 
Darobat wrote:
I was wondering how transparent Polish or Croatian would be for someone who has a firm grounding in Russian. Is the grammar similar? Vocabulary?

Thanks


Hi Darobat

Since no one has answered yet, I'll put down what I know and have heard from the other direction (i.e. viewing Russian with a certain background in Polish and Croatian.)

According to my Czech, Polish, Slovak and Croatian friends, Russian is somewhat understandable to them without any formal training. In all cases, my friends admit that to be able for them to use Russian properly, they would need lessons. This is no different from English speakers who need lessons to use Frisian properly. When it comes to learning Russian, my friends say that it's rather easy to learn since many of the concepts in Slavonic languages are common.

I can decipher some Russian newspaper headlines and signs quite accurately. However, I can only pick out words here and there in a Russian conversation. My level of Polish definitely isn't high enough to help me understand as much Russian unlike my friends who are native Polish speakers.

*****

Here're 20 points from the introduction of Alexander Schenker's "Beginning Polish, Vol. 1" (pgs. xv-xviii) (Yale University Press, 1973). He notes that these are generalizations rather than rules. The list is a little long but I think that they indirectly answer your question for transparency of Polish to a Russian speaker. Set your browser's encoding to Central European (Windows) if you want to see the Polish letters properly.

1) Polish has fixed stress on the second-last syllable (EDIT: This applies in almost all cases. The forms in the conditional and a few loanwords do not follow this pattern) but Russian stress can be on any syllable.

2) In cognates, Polish nasal vowels match with Russian ya, a or u.

3) Polish corresponds with Russian o

4) In cognates, Polish o, and a sometimes match with Russian e.

5) In cognates, the soft Polish letters , d, and match with the soft Russian letters for t', d', s' and z'

6) In cognates, Polish rz corresponds to Russian r'

7) Polish inserted e (which is realted to the Proto-Slavonic 'jers') corresponds to Russian e or o

8) The Polish changes of k > c, g > dz and ch > sz have their parallel with Russian changes of k > k', g > g' and x > x'

9) Polish case endings are influenced by the final consonant of the stem. Those in Russian aren't.

10) Polish vocative is still around, Russian has virtually abandoned the vocative.

11) Polish distinguishes between masculine animate nominative plural and masculine inanimate nominative plural. Russian doesn't

12) Polish adjectives are "long", whereas Russian uses both "long" and "short" adjectives.

13) The final '-t' of the 3rd person present ending of Proto-Slavonic has dropped off in Polish but still exists in Russian does.

14) Polish verbs with the present endings of "-am", and "-asz" for "I" and "thou" correspond with the Russian verbs with the present endings of "-ayu" and "-ayesh".

15) Polish adds personal suffixes to the past participles, but Russian doesn't.

16) The Polish reflexive pronoun is separate from the verb and (its position can vary) but in Russian, the reflexive pronoun is attached to the verb.

17) Polish doesn't use present passive or past active participles. Russian does.

18) Polish has the present tense of 'to be' but Russian doesn't.

19) In Polish, one uses the pronouns "I", "thou", "we" and "you" for emphasis and doesn't use them in "neutral sentences". In Russian, one must use these pronouns to compensate for the lack of information about the subject in past participles and the lack of a present tense conjugation of "to be".

20) In Polish, one uses 'pan' (one man), 'pani' (one woman), 'pastwo' (group with at least one man), 'panowie' (group of men) and 'panie' (group of women) in formal or polite company. The first two forms are conjugated in the 3rd person singular, while the last three forms are conjugated in the 3rd person plural. Russian (like other Slavonic languages) uses 'vy'.

*****

The next passage is taken from the introduction of Thomas Magner's textbook "Introduction to the Serbian and Croatian Language." (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991) (N.B. Magner uses "Cr&S" as an abbreviation for "Croatian and Serbian")

"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 words sestra, "sister" and mikroskop, "microscope", but in Russian the stress accent is on the final syllable that is, sestr and mikroskp, 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 urk and pons 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 govorte only the accented vowel is pronounced as spelled. You will notice that it is not neccessary 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." (xi-xii)

*****

My knowledge of Polish was somewhat helpful when I was learning Croatian. Interestingly, my knowledge of Slovak was even more helpful even though Slovak and Polish are part of the same genetic group (i.e. Western Slavonic languages). After a little digging, I found out that a few hundred years ago, Croats moved to then-northern Hungary and left their influence on the central Slovak dialects which in turn formed the base for Modern Standard Slovak. Anyway, I digress...

I hope that this helps.

Regards
Chung

Edited by Chung on 22 December 2006 at 2:21pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



Darobat
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5828 days ago

754 posts - 770 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Latin

 
 Message 3 of 11
27 August 2006 at 8:28pm | IP Logged 
Wow, thanks for the lenthy response! The differences in stress seem like they'd mess me up a lot, as I already mess up the stress occasionally in Russian. I can already forsee myself mixing up the stress between languages.

Are the nasal vowels really emphasised in Polish (like in French), or are they often reduced to non-nasal vowels?

Thanks again for that overview!
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5796 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 4 of 11
27 August 2006 at 11:23pm | IP Logged 
Yes. I feel your pain. Learning stress can be a frustrating experience. From what little I know of Russian, the stress of a word sometime marks the only difference between the cases of words. Croatian has a similar problem with the genitive singular and genitive plural of masculine nouns.

ex. prijatelj = friend; iz prijatelja = of a friend; iz prijatelja = of friends.

One of my friends told me that the difference between the genitive singular and the genitive plural lies in the pattern of the stress and accent. Unfortunately, I can't remember what it is. My Croatian friends know the pattern unconciously and admitted that they never gave any thought to it until I brought up the problem that we foreigners have in learning how to speak Croatian.

ex. govorite = you (plur.) speak; govorite! = you (plur.) speak!

Again the difference between the present and imperative form lies in the stress placement. Unfortunately, I can't remember what it is.

Polish shouldn't be too bad for you even though you would suffer from Russian interference. The stress is fixed on the second-last syllable 95% of the time and I definitely find Polish to be much simpler to speak than Croatian. Although I learned that the stress for conditional forms and some loanwords in formal Polish doesn't follow the normal pattern, I've heard my Polish friends pronounce the conditional forms and some of these loanwords with regular stress on the second-last syllable anyway.

The Polish nasal vowels aren't that similar to those in French and Portuguese. The ones in Polish are not pronounced as forcefully (and don't grate my ears as those in the Romance languages). I find the nasality of French and Portuguese to be a little off-putting.

(Set your browser to encoding for Central European (Windows))

I find that is a little easier to hear than .In some situations, medial sounds a little different from final .

maj = "they have"; versus zb = "tooth"

The first example has " " that sounds more like nasalized "o". The second example has "" that sounds more like "om" so that "zb" sounds more like "zomp" (i.e. with slight 'm' sound)

Nowadays, final tends to be pronounced as e. In formal or careful speech, you will hear final more frequently as a proper nasal vowel. If you're curious, you can listen to my Polish sample on the "Sounds" page and slow it down on Windows Media Player to make it a little easier to pick out the nasal vowels. From what I can tell, I don't always pronounce clearly the final as a nasal vowel. In the sample, I wrongly pronounced the word "troch"as "trochu" (evidence of interference from Czech and Slovak)

There's an article on Wikipedia on Polish phonology with more information.

I recently bought a book on Slavonic linguistics. The book is a little technical and focuses on Russian, Polish, Czech, Serbo-Croatian and Bulgarian. However, it's still interesting and definitely well worth the price of $28. There is a larger book by Bernard Comrie on the Slavonic languages which deals with the entire family but costs around $65. In undergrad, I used the books on Germanic, Turkic and Uralic languages from the same series and I'm sure that the one by Comrie is also excellent. In any case, I think that you may be interested in getting a little deeper into this subject as I am.

Regards
Chung

Edited by Chung on 27 August 2006 at 11:46pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Darobat
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5828 days ago

754 posts - 770 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Latin

 
 Message 5 of 11
28 August 2006 at 2:27pm | IP Logged 
Wow, thanks again! Although Polish does have regular stress, I still fear I'd be inclined to put the stress where it's found in its Russian cognate. I'm also sure I'd have lapses where I apply the Polish stress rules to Russian words.

You were right about some Russian words only differing in stress location. One example that comes to mind is:
doróga - "road"
dorogá - "expensive, dear" in the feminine short form

Are Polish and Croatian rife with irregularities? If they are, do you know whether the irregularities are comparable to those in Russian?

(BTW, François has updated the page encoding to unicode, meaning you should be able to post Polish letters without changing the encoding, as the default is now UTF-8)

Edited by Darobat on 28 August 2006 at 2:32pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5796 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 6 of 11
28 August 2006 at 5:01pm | IP Logged 
No problem.

What is irritating for me is that the Slavonic languages with variable stress do not mark the stress in spelling. It seems that only some dictionaries and textbooks for foreigners indicate the stress or pitch-accent. Thus when I see an unfamiliar sign in Russian or Croatian, I'm not always sure whether I'm reading it aloud correctly, since I don't know the stress pattern. I sympathize with people who learn English or German since these languages also have variable stress that is not marked in writing. I guess that I've become spoiled by Czech, Polish, Slovak and Hungarian which all have fixed stress. :-)

Polish and Croatian don't seem to be very irregular to me and most verbs and nouns can be divided into different groups which each have their own patterns for conjugation and declension respectively.

I have the impression that Russian is more irregular than other Slavonic languages but I could've picked this up from hearsay. My problem is that I don't know enough about Russian to compare its irregularities with those in the other Slavonic languages.

I'm a little surprised that none of the native speakers of Slavonic languages (especially the Russians) have answered your question. They would definitely be able to answer your original question on Slavonic transparency for a Russian speaker.

I'm not sure why my browser gets screwed up by Unicode. I just cut special letters from the Character Map and paste them here. It seems that they only show up properly when I switch off the Unicode encoding of my browser.
1 person has voted this message useful



Wildfire
Diglot
Newbie
Russian Federation
Joined 5283 days ago

14 posts - 20 votes
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: French

 
 Message 7 of 11
18 September 2006 at 4:08pm | IP Logged 
Darobat wrote:
I was wondering how transparent Polish or Croatian would be for someone who has a firm grounding in Russian. Is the grammar similar? Vocabulary?

Thanks

All slavic languages are intelligible to a medium degree. A lot of words have the same roots, however, due to significant differences in orthography, it's often hard to understand a Polish word (even in case of romanization the Russian text would be spelled in a different way compared to Polish).

As for vocabulary similatities: I looked into Swadesh lists to determine amount of words I can understand without any proficiencies in Slavic languages other than Russian (although I have included English for comparison). Results are the following:

# Language Intellig.ratio
1. Russian 100%
2. English [Germanic] 91%
3. Slovio 90%
4. Ukrainian 85%
5. Belarussian 77%
6. Bulgarian 76%
7. Serbian 74%
8. Polish 67%
9. Czech 66%

FYI Polish and Bulgarian grammar are the most complicated to me; Ukrainian/Belarussian, and, to some extent, Serbian/Croatian are much easier to understand.

When it comes to spoken form, I can understand only Ukrainian and Belarussian. Polish and Serbian (never listened to Croatian speech) sound pleasant to ears but are unclear to me (excepting basic words and expressions).

BTW speakers of other Slavic languages (Polish, Slovak, Croatian etc) seem to understand Russian better than the other way round.

Edited by Wildfire on 18 September 2006 at 4:16pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Taiga
Diglot
Groupie
Australia
Joined 4950 days ago

81 posts - 85 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: English, Spanish
Studies: Russian, Serbo-Croatian

 
 Message 8 of 11
22 August 2007 at 11:29pm | IP Logged 
I've tried to learn both Russian and Croatian. If you know RUssian, you will definitely pick up Croatian easily as the basic grammar of both languages are quiet similar, but not the same. It will be kind of like a Mandarin speaker trying to learn Cantonese or Hakkanese.


1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 11 messages over 2 pages: 2  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3594 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2021 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.