Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Is Ukrainian easier than Russian?

 Language Learning Forum : Specific Languages Post Reply
11 messages over 2 pages: 1 2  Next >>
lopezdefcrue
Groupie
United States
Joined 6138 days ago

67 posts - 67 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Portuguese, French, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 1 of 11
24 January 2008 at 10:45am | IP Logged 
I read that Ukrainian is easier than Russian, but does that include the pronunciation or grammar? It seems like Ukrainian is easier in every respect, except that vocabulary in Russian has more English cognates, and there are many good programs available for Russian.
1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 6277 days ago

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

 
 Message 2 of 11
24 January 2008 at 11:05am | IP Logged 
I would argue that mastering Ukrainian pronunciation is a little easier than Russian pronunciation. As you've likely encountered, stress in both Ukrainian and Russian can fall on any syllable and can vary from case to case or conjugation to conjugation. However, Russian has the added wrinkle where vowels in unstressed syllables can be reduced (e.g. unstressed 'o' is pronounced more like 'a', stressed 'o' is pronounced more like 'o' as you'd expect given how a word is written). In both languages, stress isn't marked with accents in most texts so it will often be difficult for a student to know how to pronounce a word correctly upon first encountering it. The matter of Russian vowel reduction is an extra complication.

When it comes to grammar and vocabulary, I find them to be relatively easy in Ukrainian. Then again I have a certain background in other Slavonic languages - Polish in particular. Because of the long history of contact between Ukrainians and Poles, Ukrainian and Polish share quite a lot of words (more than I expected). From my dabbling in Russian, Russian indeed seems more difficult than Ukrainian for me since Russian's overlap with Slavonic languages that I do know isn't quite as pronounced.
1 person has voted this message useful



DaraghM
Diglot
Senior Member
Ireland
Joined 5272 days ago

1947 posts - 2923 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French, Russian, Hungarian

 
 Message 3 of 11
25 January 2008 at 5:27am | IP Logged 
After briefly, and I mean very briefly, dabbling in a number of Slavic languages, Russian, Croat, and Polish, I noticed the cases are similar.

Does Ukrainian have all the same cases as Russian ?



Edited by DaraghM on 25 January 2008 at 5:48am

1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 6277 days ago

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

 
 Message 4 of 11
25 January 2008 at 8:12am | IP Logged 
Ukrainian has the vocative. Russian no longer uses it except in a few fixed expressions.
1 person has voted this message useful



Seth
Diglot
Changed to RedKing’sDream
Senior Member
United States
Joined 6345 days ago

240 posts - 252 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian
Studies: Persian

 
 Message 5 of 11
26 January 2008 at 12:12am | IP Logged 
The reduction of [o] to [a] is very simple and shouldn't deter you in the least. Some (rather rare) dialects of Russian do not reduce.

There is indeed something, though, easier about pronouncing Ukrainian.

Chung, by the way, what course are you using to learn Ukrainian?
1 person has voted this message useful



zhiguli
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 5562 days ago

176 posts - 221 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Russian, Mandarin

 
 Message 6 of 11
26 January 2008 at 1:35am | IP Logged 
Ukrainian pronunciation could be easier because the spelling is more "phonetic" and it's more sparing with palatalized sounds than Russian (which are said to be especially difficult for native English-speakers).
This closer reflection of pronunciation does cause other problems. In Ukrainian і/у in prepositions/prefixes regularly alternate with й/в (something that does not happen in Russian) and there are a bunch of rules to learn for this, and they are not always followed consistently.
Another example: the preposition з "from", which has the variants із/зі/ізо(ізі) in Ukrainian while the Russian equivalent is с (and со before a small number of consonant clusters).
Ukrainian also has a vowel shift і>о/е, while Russian has nothing of the sort.

As for vocabulary, it's hard to say. Ukrainian has been playing second fiddle to Russian for such a long time that it does seem to be a poorer, "village" language with a smaller vocabulary. On the other hand its word stock is also more characteristically Slavic, while Russian has more international words and loans from French/German/English/etc. Ukrainian also has a lot of dialects and the standard language is not so firmly entrenched as it is in Russia. Many people write according to the norms of their dialect rather than the standard, even in newspapers (I suspect this is one reason I can't find certain words in dictionaries, something that is not much of an issue with Russian).

Likewise for grammar. Some things are more regular in Ukrainian, like the plural (in masculine/feminine nouns the ending is almost always и/і, while Russian has a whole bunch of exceptions), but other things are more complicated, like:
- the -у/-а split in the genitive ending (in Russian it's almost always -a)
- the split -у/ові dative ending (in Russian - always -у)
- the vocative (various endings, as pointed out this one is largely absent from Russian)
etc.
In general the -а -ові endings are used for animate masculine nouns, but beyond this the rules are vague at best.
Ukrainian also seems more "composed", where Russian would use separate words following regular declension, Ukrainian has longer, single words that are not the same as the sum of their parts. For example saying "in x season":

En. Rus. Ukr.
"In winter" зимой взимку ("в зимі")
"In spring" весной навесні ("у весні")
"In summer" летом влітку ("у літі")
"In fall" осенью восени ("в осені")

In Rus. it's just the instrumental case of the noun.

Of course I'm biased, coming from it from having studied Russian first, but overall Ukrainian, at least as far as grammar is concerned, seems more difficult and capricious.

Edited by zhiguli on 26 January 2008 at 1:39am

1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 6277 days ago

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

 
 Message 7 of 11
26 January 2008 at 7:07am | IP Logged 
Seth, I've been using "Teach Yourself Ukrainian" and "Ukrainian for Speakers of English". Mind you my progress has been pretty slow as my work on Polish and Slovak take priority.

Zhiguli, I did forget about these intricacies of Ukrainian grammar when writing my post, but I guess that I'm more accustomed to them since I've run across them when I've studied other Slavonic languages (i.e. Czech, Croatian and Polish also use the vocative; Czech, Polish and Slovak have the split of -a/-u for genitive masculine and -u/-ovi for dative masculine). I'm just biased the other way around compared to you. :-P
1 person has voted this message useful



Julie
Heptaglot
Senior Member
PolandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 6024 days ago

1251 posts - 1733 votes 
5 sounds
Speaks: Polish*, EnglishB2, GermanC2, SpanishB2, Dutch, Swedish, French

 
 Message 8 of 11
26 January 2008 at 8:08am | IP Logged 
Chung, I always wanted to ask you this question: how do you keep your languages apart? Do you think it's difficult to study Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian in the same time? I have to admit it's kind of fascinating to me because it's pretty uncommon to study more than two Slavic languages. And I feel a little ashamed as I don't speak anything but Polish ;).


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 0.3750 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2022 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.