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    1. #1
      Member music_man's Avatar
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      Tell me about the Russian language.

      I really wanna start learning it. Tell me if it would be hard to learn compared to english.
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    2. #2
      Member Amethyst Star's Avatar
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      It's very different from English, but you've probably gathered that. I studied it for four years in college and am about to end a 9-month stay in St. Petersburg and while I'm not fluent, I love the language and culture.

      First off, Russian is case-based instead of word order-based. Rather than the position of the words in the sentence dictating who is doing what to whom, words have a specific ending depending on how they're used. For example:
      машина - (mashina: car) - The car drove down the street. (The car is the subject.)
      (в) машине - (in the/a car) - I sat in the car. (The location of the subject is in the car.)
      машины - (either plural or showing possessive) - The car's horn was loud.
      (с) машиной - (with the/a car) - I stayed with the car all night. (Kind of a funky sentence, but still...)

      There are other cases and lots of other uses depending on what is happening to/with whom. It takes a lot of practice, repetition, and trial and error to really get down the cases, but for the most part the rules for using them are fairly straight-forward and not all over the place like in English.

      The cyrillic alphabet has 30 letters, some of them just like in the Latin (English) alphabet, some of them not found in English, and others which don't have their own sound but modify the letter preceding it. Again, learning the alphabet is just practice and repetition, but you'll find that it's not that hard to figure out. Actually, I feel that knowing the alphabet is extremely useful in general, especially if you plan on going to a Russian-speaking country. Then you'll be able to read words like компютер, кофе, Биг Мак, and so on. Those were "computer, coffee, and big Mac" in case you were wondering

      Are you planning on studying the language yourself or taking lessons or classes? If you're going the self-study route, good luck. Make sure you get in contact with some native Russian speakers, though. It will help you immensely. There are some forums or other sites online for people who are studying Russian and they can offer more advice.

      Oh, and if you plan on really studying Russian, get yourself a good English-Russian dictionary. Don't get one of the $3 pocket-sized ones. Go for the big ones that actually provide context with the words that you're trying to translate. As one of my professors was so fond of telling us: Russian is not a translation of English. Not everything will be translated word for word from English in to Russian. You have to think Russian. You can buy a pretty decent dictionary (словарь) for around $15 or so. If you really want to get into it, I'd also HIGHLY recommend purchasing 5001 Russian Verbs. It will tell you how to conjugate the most commonly used verbs into any form you could need (present, past, future, imperative, etc.).

      There's more to the language and it can be daunting at times, but it's fun and it's also nice to read things in their original language as well. It just depends on how far you want to get into it Good luck!

      "If there was one thing the lucid dreaming ninja writer could not stand, it was used car salesmen."

    3. #3
      Member music_man's Avatar
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      Thanks! Big help! Right now im actually just a junior in high school. But hopefully this summer i'll be able to take some beginner russian classes at a local community college. I speak french also so i won't have that little "shock" some people get when they begin learning a foreign language.

      That's great though I'd LOVEEEEE to go to Russia if I could. Thanks for all the help!
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    4. #4
      Dreaming Californication Motley's Avatar
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      I love you for making this thread and now I love Amethyst for being so knowledgeable. I was born in Ukraine and am a very fluent Russian speaker/writer/reader, etc. If you need help, I guess you can ask me but especially if you need practice or to speak to a Russian like Ame said, you can speak to me.

    5. #5
      In my own mind Armistice's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Amethyst Star View Post
      It's very different from English, but you've probably gathered that. I studied it for four years in college and am about to end a 9-month stay in St. Petersburg and while I'm not fluent, I love the language and culture.

      First off, Russian is case-based instead of word order-based. Rather than the position of the words in the sentence dictating who is doing what to whom, words have a specific ending depending on how they're used. For example:
      машина - (mashina: car) - The car drove down the street. (The car is the subject.)
      (в) машине - (in the/a car) - I sat in the car. (The location of the subject is in the car.)
      машины - (either plural or showing possessive) - The car's horn was loud.
      (с) машиной - (with the/a car) - I stayed with the car all night. (Kind of a funky sentence, but still...)
      If I may expand on that, German is the same thing and I have an example that would be more relevent to the case sensitivity than what you've given

      For example, "The girl ate the fish." Pretty easy. The girl ate a fish. Now, "The fish ate the girl." Ok, sounds wonky in English because of our SV form of sentence structure, the subject is now the fish, not the girl

      Now, for the same sentence in German. "Die Mdchen isst den Fisch." Girl is in the nominitive case where the fish is in the accusitive case (fish is a masculine word and takes the article "der" but because it's in the accusitive it changes to "den").
      Now, "Den Fish isst die Mdchen. Because girl is still in the nominitive and fish is in the accusitive, though still sounding odd for English, it is perfectly acceptible in German (however, I don't think anyone would really say it that way, lol)

      The only way to make the fish eat the girl is to make the fish in the nominitive and girl in the accusitive, "Der Fisch isst die Mdchen." NOW it sounds funny ("die" doesn't change between nom. and acc. case)

      So that's the power of cases. Have fun! German has 4 and I've heard Russian has 6. I'm good with knowing the letters, lol

      WAIT!!! I just noticed that what Amnythist did was adding endings to the word, rather than an article like "the" or "a" as in German... my bad. Eh, I'll still leave it as you can still see how the case matters
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    6. #6
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      I always like to say that English is the hardest language to learn, because even native English speaking people can't speak it well. If you are a native English speaker, or a native speaker of Russian, then you can't really compare them to each other. Since one you spent your entire life practicing, and always going to seem easier. If you spoke a third language, the easier one would be which ever is closer to your native language.

      Really when it comes to language, its not an issue of being easy or hard. Its just about putting in the time. The only way to make the time go by faster, is to pick a language you enjoy.

    7. #7
      In my own mind Armistice's Avatar
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      Chinese is also pretty hard because of the inflections and can take months to learn

      M, m, m, ma- meaning either horse, mother, hemp... and something else. Oh, and not in that order, lol

      And what makes English so hard? Is it the nonphonetic spelling? Is it that some words are spelled differently but mean different things?

      You could add German because the umlauts can change the meaning of the word. Cases and word endings are pretty lame too and always trip me up and have to refer to my flashcards

      Faroese seems like it'd be hard as well as it's not phonetic as well as sometimes you pronounce letters differently depending on the letter before/ after it
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    8. #8
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      English has all of that. I think the worse thing about English however, is all the exceptions. There are really no rules to English, and even though we try to give them rules there are always major exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions. A lot of them are really just random too.

      I found this funny quote about English just recently. It helps explain just a part of our problems. Most dealing with words spelled exactly the same but sound totally different with different meanings, but some sound the same but have different meanings too.

      21 Reasons Why The English Language Is Hard To Learn:

      1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
      2) The farm was used to produce produce.
      3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
      4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
      5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
      6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
      7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was
      time to present the present.
      8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
      9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
      10) I did not object to the object.
      11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
      12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
      13) They were too close to the door to close it.
      14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
      15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
      16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
      17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
      18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
      19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
      20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
      21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

    9. #9
      In my own mind Armistice's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      21 Reasons Why The English Language Is Hard To Learn:

      1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
      2) The farm was used to produce produce.
      3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
      4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
      5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
      6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
      7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was
      time to present the present.
      8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
      9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
      10) I did not object to the object.
      11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
      12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
      13) They were too close to the door to close it.
      14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
      15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
      16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
      17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
      18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
      19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
      20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
      21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
      WOW-nd, WOO-nd
      Pruh-DUCE, PRO-duce
      re-FUSE, REHF-use
      PAH-lish, POLE-ish
      leed, LEH-d
      deh-ZERT, deh-ZERT, DEH-zert
      PREH-zent, preh/pree-ZENT, PREH-zent
      Bace, B-ass
      Duhv, dohv
      ob-JEC-t, OB-ject
      (invalid)
      (row)
      kl-OHS, kl-OHZ
      duhz, DOH-z
      SOW-er, SEW-er
      s-ow, s-oh
      wihnd, w(eye)nd
      (number)
      tehr, teer
      sub-JECT, SUB-ject
      in-tih-MATE, IN-teh-mit (Never heard of the first one)

      I can see what you mean though. Some have different pronunciations, while some have different stressed parts

      But even though we do have those words, I think a few days study would render them memorized and understood, just like any language. It all sounds the same until you study it (some may sound harder than others though)

      Like if I play something in German, you might hear a lot of babble and can't discern any words, but I have studied it, so I can hear the words (thought I prob may not understand them)
      Last edited by Armistice; 07-21-2010 at 07:46 AM.
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