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Which Language?

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19 messages over 3 pages: 1 2 3  Next >>
wolframjack74
Newbie
United States
Joined 1412 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 1 of 19
22 July 2015 at 4:33pm | IP Logged 
I am sure this question has been asked, discussed, and debated several times. But I'm going to add my own twist regarding my individual circumstances. I guess this is more of a brainstorming question, because in the end I will make my own choice.

Which language should I study? Here are the contenders:

1) Russian. I really love Russian. It's my absolute favorite language. I love the language, the people, the culture. And it sounds awesome! But it's HARD! And as a typical American, it's rather worthless. I've studied Russian a fair amount. I've completed all 3 levels of Pimsleur, and have done a fair amount of self-study. But it was many years ago and I've forgotten a lot.

2) Bulgarian. It's only moderately interesting to me. The only reason I'd study Bulgarian is because I married a Bulgarian woman. For 15 years she was there to translate for me, but now that we're divorced I would like to be able to communicate with her family. They only speak Bulgarian, and I'd like to speak it with them. And I know that Bulgarian is MUCH easier than Russian.

3) Spanish. I am not very interested in Spanish. But it's a SUPER useful language in the U.S. And I studied it in high school and college, I've completed Pimsleur, worked a lot in Duolingo. I am probably "Intermediate" in Spanish. It's a pretty easy language, and I have a huge head start. But it sometimes bores me.

Your thoughts?
1 person has voted this message useful



numerodix
Trilingual Hexaglot
Senior Member
Netherlands
Joined 4774 days ago

856 posts - 1226 votes 
Speaks: EnglishC2*, Norwegian*, Polish*, Italian, Dutch, French
Studies: Portuguese, Mandarin

 
 Message 2 of 19
22 July 2015 at 4:53pm | IP Logged 
Sounds like Russian is what really interests you. So go for it. It's much easier to study a
language you really want to learn (even if it's hard) than one you don't care all that much
about.
4 persons have voted this message useful



sushi13
Diglot
Groupie
Canada
Joined 2679 days ago

49 posts - 64 votes 
Speaks: French*, English
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 3 of 19
22 July 2015 at 6:56pm | IP Logged 
I'd go for Russian if I were you. You said you love the culture, so the language isn't
useless to you!

Edited by sushi13 on 22 July 2015 at 6:57pm

2 persons have voted this message useful



wolframjack74
Newbie
United States
Joined 1412 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 4 of 19
22 July 2015 at 7:17pm | IP Logged 
As numerodix said, I have often heard that it is easier to study a language that you
want to learn. And yes, I love the culture but I don't plan to go to Russia. (I'd
love to, but I can't afford it!)

So, I really won't use the language unless I do it online. But it's so cool!

I hear what you folks are saying (and I'm leaning toward following your advise), but I
feel like I'm cheating myself by omitting Spanish and Bulgarian.

Spanish because I already know so much and it's so darn easy!
Bulgarian because I will not be able to talk to the in-laws.

But still, no matter how much I "should" learn a language, it won't happen unless I do
it. :)

Any other thoughts from anybody?

Thanks again!
1 person has voted this message useful



ScottScheule
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
scheule.blogspot.com
Joined 3219 days ago

646 posts - 1177 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Latin, Hungarian, Biblical Hebrew, Old English, Russian, Swedish, German, Italian, French

 
 Message 5 of 19
22 July 2015 at 7:29pm | IP Logged 
Not judging, but the fact that you want to learn a language to speak with your ex-wife's family is, if nothing else, pretty unusual.

I would stick to the language you really wanted to learn, unless there were a really good reason to learn another language. E.g., a job requirement. That doesn't seem the case here. Since you speak English natively, you probably don't need to learn other languages for business reasons.

So you'll be mainly motivating yourself to learn--and the best motivation would be your intrinsic interest in the language. Go Russian.
3 persons have voted this message useful



wolframjack74
Newbie
United States
Joined 1412 days ago

6 posts - 6 votes
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 6 of 19
22 July 2015 at 9:44pm | IP Logged 
@ScottScheule: Yeah, you're right, it's unusual. But they've always been good to me, and
they'll always be in my kids' lives.

Having said that, will it be enough motivation to stick with the language? It's
otherwise not that interesting to me.

Seems like Russian it is!

So...where to start? Re-do Pimsleur? I know folks here hate Rosetta Stone. I've read
about FSI, Teach Yourself, Penguin.....what's the consensus?

Thanks again.
1 person has voted this message useful



ScottScheule
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
scheule.blogspot.com
Joined 3219 days ago

646 posts - 1177 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Latin, Hungarian, Biblical Hebrew, Old English, Russian, Swedish, German, Italian, French

 
 Message 7 of 19
22 July 2015 at 10:48pm | IP Logged 
There is no consensus, so far as I can tell, though maybe we should take some polls to see if there is one.

I'll give you a suggestion; take it or leave it. First learn phonology and the alphabet. Then learn basic vocabulary. Clothes, jobs, animals, food, all that stuff you get in intro courses. Get to know the morphology fairly well--verb conjugations and noun/adjective declensions. You should be able to decline regular nouns and conjugate regular verbs.

Then get a grammar and learn that.

Then start the long process of acquiring more vocabulary. Learn more common vocabulary first. Get more specialized as time goes on, depending on where your interests lie (if you're into literature, you're going to have to learn bookish terms. If you're into speaking to people, then you'll need more slang). Learn individual words first, like "piano", then learn larger chunks of vocabulary, like "to play the piano."

If you're a chatty person, you can start conversation any time. My advice would be to start talking after you hit the point you can properly form a sentence--even though your lack of vocabulary will hinder what you can express. Others like to talk from day one--and there's nothing harmful in that that I can see.

Schaum's Russian Grammar is pretty good and will probably do the trick. For vocabulary, join the Oxford Dictionary site and get a subscription to the Russian-English dictionary, which will have audio samples you can download for flashcards, if you're so inclined. Regardless, it's a good resource.

You can start listening practice on LingQ, keeping to the beginner level, which will also help you grasp basic vocab.

If slogging through this gets tough, try buying some kid's books in Russian to spice things up.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4588 days ago

9757 posts - 15778 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 8 of 19
23 July 2015 at 3:26pm | IP Logged 
I wouldn't say that Bulgarian is much easier than Russian. It has its own difficulties.


1 person has voted this message useful



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