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Which Language?

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wolframjack74
Newbie
United States
Joined 1591 days ago

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

 
 Message 9 of 19
23 July 2015 at 4:16pm | IP Logged 
@Serpent, I'll just say that Bulgarian *seems* easier. I don't have very much experience
in it.

@Scottschuele, I've got the alphabet and phonology down for Russian (and Bulgarian,
obviously). And a bit of vocab, and the basics of grammar. But it's been many years and
I'll probably have to start over. I love music, and I've memorized large parts of many
Russian songs. I guess that's a start!
1 person has voted this message useful



wolframjack74
Newbie
United States
Joined 1591 days ago

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

 
 Message 10 of 19
23 July 2015 at 4:21pm | IP Logged 
...and to throw a monkey wrench into the equation, I failed to mention another
language that I've recently fallen in love with. French!

I always "hated" French...or at least what I thought it was. But I started learning a
bit, just for the heck of it...and I love it! It seems to be easier than Russian but
harder than Spanish. And I really love the way it sounds. Not a big fan of the
people or culture (sorry!), but I love the language and the music. I finished Level 2
of Pimsleur and did a fair amount on Duolingo.

So, I guess I've thrown out Bulgarian and Spanish. Spanish just because it bores me.
(But I'm still rather anxious about dropping the one I know most). And Bulgarian
because the motivation is just not there. It would be nice, but not necessary.

That leaves me with Russian and French. I'm pretty much a beginner with some basics
for both. Hmmm....let me think!
1 person has voted this message useful



ScottScheule
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
scheule.blogspot.com
Joined 3398 days ago

645 posts - 1176 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Latin, Hungarian, Biblical Hebrew, Old English, Russian, Swedish, German, Italian, French

 
 Message 11 of 19
23 July 2015 at 6:36pm | IP Logged 
I agree with that view of French's difficulty for a native English speaker. I'd even say, though some will surely disagree, that French will be MUCH easier than Russian. And some googling shows that the FSI backs that up:

http://www.effectivelanguagelearning.com/language-guide/lang uage-difficulty

But of course we can only show you the facts--the choice is yours.
1 person has voted this message useful



EnglishEagle
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2745 days ago

140 posts - 157 votes 
Studies: English*, German

 
 Message 12 of 19
23 July 2015 at 7:24pm | IP Logged 
I'm in the beginning stages of learning German, and I love the language, people and culture. I can imagine it
would be very difficult to remain motivated if it was a language that you didn't enjoy. I couldn't imagine
investing potentially 100's of hours learning a language, that I was really interested in.

In terms of difficulty for a native English speaker, French is deemed 'easier' than Russian. I don't particularly
know much about Russian apart from the grammar is deemed complex for a native English speaker, such as
the 6 cases, the alphabet, word order etc.. Then again, I do know that there are certain aspects of the French
language that people find quite challenging. However, a lot of French words (cognates?) are similar to English
such as amusant = amusing, la musique = music, l'hôtel = the hotel, l'hôpital = the hospital which would be a
massive help when acquiring new vocabulary.

Edited by EnglishEagle on 23 July 2015 at 7:25pm

1 person has voted this message useful



ScottScheule
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
scheule.blogspot.com
Joined 3398 days ago

645 posts - 1176 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: Latin, Hungarian, Biblical Hebrew, Old English, Russian, Swedish, German, Italian, French

 
 Message 13 of 19
23 July 2015 at 8:59pm | IP Logged 
Yeah, I agree the vocabulary is a big reason why French is easier than Russian, especially if, like the OP, you have some background in a romance language. Russian vocabulary is, to me, bizarre, and I know quite a bit of vocabulary from quite a bit of languages. Hungarian is an entirely different family than Russian, but learning Russian vocabulary is only slightly easier than learning the entirely alien vocabulary of Hungarian (Hungarian's actually a lot easier in some respects: no gender, no unpredictable stress). Even the core vocabulary is sparse in cognates. Hand is ruka? Father is ot'ets? Eight is voc'em? Nine is dev'at? (Note, these might well actually be cognates somehow--but it's not at all clear to the untrained eye).

Add to that the challenging verb system and inflected nouns, both quite different from English, and you have a very challenging language for the English speaker. French, on the other hand, has had very close contact with English for centuries, so cognates are myriad. Its verb system is more challenging than English (in some ways), but very similar to Spanish.

The phonology is easier too. No palatization to speak of. No stress, save the light terminal stress that is entirely predictable (whereas Russian stress is a nightmare). A few mixed vowels to learn. Also none of the convoluted numeral-case pairings of Russian.

The Cyrilic alphabet is different, but it's surprisingly easy once you work at it a bit. It's really like learning a very simple cipher code.

I don't want to overstress any of this though. If you want to learn Russian, it's certainly possible. It will just take more time, but it's a wonderful language, with a vast literature and artistic footprint, and well worth the challenge.

Edited by ScottScheule on 23 July 2015 at 9:16pm

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wolframjack74
Newbie
United States
Joined 1591 days ago

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

 
 Message 14 of 19
24 July 2015 at 7:04pm | IP Logged 
The other thing I consider is stated on this website and many others. Russian people, in general, don't speak any language other than Russian, and are thrilled and very patient when a person tries to learn their language. Even a basic understanding of Russian will get you a long way with a native speaker.

French-speakers, on the other hand, are very critical and you must speak nearly perfect French before you'll be accepted. And I've also heard that colloquial French is quite different from proper, written French. And there are so many idioms and saying that are difficult to learn, even after you learn the language. So, I do consider all these things as I try to make my decision.

I keep going back to Spanish, though, as it seems such a shame to ignore the "useful" language that I already know so much of! Bah, I'm probably the most wishy-washy person alive! I'll read a few more comments, and I'll make up my mind once and for all very soon. I have a busy weekend planned, so I want to start my new language journey on Monday.

Any last comments or suggestions?

Edited by wolframjack74 on 24 July 2015 at 7:05pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Josquin
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 3014 days ago

2266 posts - 3992 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, French, Latin, Italian, Russian, Swedish
Studies: Japanese, Irish, Portuguese, Persian

 
 Message 15 of 19
24 July 2015 at 9:31pm | IP Logged 
You should always do what you love and not what's considered "useful", especially if
you're free to choose. That's all I have to say.
2 persons have voted this message useful



EnglishEagle
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2745 days ago

140 posts - 157 votes 
Studies: English*, German

 
 Message 16 of 19
25 July 2015 at 12:51am | IP Logged 
wolframjack74 wrote:
The other thing I consider is stated on this website and many others. Russian
people, in general, don't speak any language other than Russian, and are thrilled and very patient when a
person tries to learn their language. Even a basic understanding of Russian will get you a long way with a
native speaker.

French-speakers, on the other hand, are very critical and you must speak nearly perfect French before you'll
be accepted. And I've also heard that colloquial French is quite different from proper, written French. And
there are so many idioms and saying that are difficult to learn, even after you learn the language. So, I do
consider all these things as I try to make my decision.

I keep going back to Spanish, though, as it seems such a shame to ignore the "useful" language that I already
know so much of! Bah, I'm probably the most wishy-washy person alive! I'll read a few more comments, and
I'll make up my mind once and for all very soon. I have a busy weekend planned, so I want to start my new
language journey on Monday.

Any last comments or suggestions?


I would just like to point out that I have been to France a couple of times and it has been a nightmare to
communicate. In the areas that my family visited there were very few people who could speak English, even
those in 20's/30's, we had to resort to Google translate to communicate in some cases.

At the moment I am studying German and have wanted to learn German for the last couple of years. It may
not be as useful as Spanish, but I'm interested in the language so I want to learn it. If you are not interested in
Spanish I doubt you'll want to invest 100's of hours learning that language.


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