Page 2 of 7 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 130

Thread: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Native language
    Shangri-La, English
    Posts
    24

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    That's true about the dual. The dual didn't go down quietly. While most nouns and adjectives today show few traces of the dual (e.g. some nouns for body parts, the old dual ending -ama is now used in plural instrumental of Czech, and plural of dative/locative and instrumental in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian) , virtually all of the declensions with numerals got screwed up by the dual's passing.

    1 is singular, 2, 3 and 4 govern plural in Czech, Polish and Slovak but (genitive) singular in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian and Russian.

    5 is genitive plural in almost all Slavic languages as far as I know.

    In Slovenian, 2 is dual while 3 and up is plural.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Native language
    Native: русский (Russian), home country: English
    Age
    48
    Posts
    1,864

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaulf View Post
    ...
    Furthermore, I've never learned Bulgarian and Macedonian, but I would bet that they have much more complex syntax rules than the other Slavic languages, because without cases the word order can't possibly be equally free. (Just like English got rid of nearly all morphology, but at the expense of maddeningly complicated syntax.)
    ...
    I thought about this too. I don't know any Bulgarian but I noticed they used prepositions much more heavily, which substitute for missing case endings to show the relations in the sentence but it can't be just prepositions, the word order must be different as well.
    Анатолий أناتولي 阿纳托利 アナトーリー 아나톨리 अनातोली อานาโตลี آناتولی

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Native language
    čeština
    Posts
    18,726

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    I know next to nothing about Bulgarian but I kind of think that a rigid word order is a blessing for learners. Advanced Czech learners I know have major difficulties with aspects and their mind boggles at the easiness with which we simply reshuffle words to convey a new shade of meaning. The problem is that however complex the word order is, it is still quite far from "anything goes". Now if a learner of Bulgarian is presented with just a few possibilities, I am not sure it is a bad thing. Unless the nature of rigidity is different from what I imagine.
    A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. Saul Bellow

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Not in WR world
    Native language
    Whatever
    Posts
    1,667

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaulf View Post
    My hypothesis is that the hardest one would likely be Russian or Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian, because of the stress.
    In addition, B/C/S has probably the most complex phone alterations (sandhi rules), which often lead to mind-boggling phenomena, e.g. metak (bullet) has plural meci, genitive plural metaka and dative plural mecima. When one adds numerous exceptions atop of that (e.g. kutak (corner)->kutkovi, kutaka, kutkovima), the result is...
    Last edited by Duya; 17th May 2007 at 3:05 PM. Reason: Fix a thinko

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Native language
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Posts
    1,654

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Duya View Post
    In addition, B/C/S has probably the most complex phone alterations (sandhi rules), which often lead to mind-boggling phenomena, e.g. metak (bullet) has plural meci, genitive plural metaka and dative plural mecima. When one adds numerous exceptions atop of that (e.g. kutak (corner)->kutkovi, kutaka, kutkovima), the result is...
    Not to mention the neuter nouns ending in -o, which have three different stress patterns that are the sole thing distinguishing three cases (singular genitive, plural nominative, and plural genitive). For example, all these three cases for jezero (lake) are spelled jezera, but the stress is different for each of them (short rising, short falling, and long rising). And this difference is largely imperceptible for an untrained English speaker.

    I sometimes wonder how I ever managed to learn this mess of a language.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Native language
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Posts
    1,654

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Jana337 View Post
    I know next to nothing about Bulgarian but I kind of think that a rigid word order is a blessing for learners. Advanced Czech learners I know have major difficulties with aspects and their mind boggles at the easiness with which we simply reshuffle words to convey a new shade of meaning. The problem is that however complex the word order is, it is still quite far from "anything goes". Now if a learner of Bulgarian is presented with just a few possibilities, I am not sure it is a bad thing. Unless the nature of rigidity is different from what I imagine.
    However, in a free word order language, an English speaker can usually translate an English sentence mostly word-for-word and the result will be a valid (or at least nearly valid) sentence conveying the intended meaning, even if some shades are missed. On the other hand, beginner-level learners of English are usually unable to produce anything but a meaningless mess whenever they try anything more complex than a simple subject-verb-object sentence. I agree that at advanced levels, the supposedly "free" word order in fact turns out to be a complex device for adding subtle shades of meaning, but I think that it still makes things easier at less advanced levels, where the learner is still not worrying about such subtleties. The few possibilities for valid ordering of words are in fact another set of rules that have to be painstakingly learned and drilled, just like declensions and conjugations.

    Also, besides the word order, I would expect that Bulgarian and Macedonian have additional syntactic complexities with prepositions and articles. If the rules for articles are half as complicated and bizarre as in English, I would gladly trade them for even the most complex declensions.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Vietnam
    Native language
    English
    Age
    64
    Posts
    1,100

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Athaulf:

    While I certainly don't dispute what you say about Croatian, it is also true that the pronunciation is generally easier for English speakers than most other Slavic languages, setting aside the issue of tones which personally I don't find so difficult to entune my ear to, and which don't exist in some dialects anyway. Long vowels occur only in stressed syllables, which is similar if not exactly the same as English, you don't have to deal with the vagaries of a plethora of palatized vs. velar consonants, and personally I've always found the fixed accent on the first syllable in languages like Czech to be very difficult to get used to. In general, I think that Croatian is one of the easiest Slavic languages for English speakers to learn.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Not in WR world
    Native language
    Whatever
    Posts
    1,667

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by palomnik View Post
    Long vowels occur only in stressed syllables, which is similar if not exactly the same as English.
    Heh. False Not quite so. Athaulf already gave the example of jezero, which has cases (among others)

    ['jezera] Gen. Sg.
    [je'zera] Nom. Pl.
    [je'ze:ra:] Gen. Pl.

    AFAICT, every genitive plural form I can think of should have post-accented long syllables, at least in last two syllables.

    Now, the said "post-accent" lengths are largely absent from much of Shtokavian-speaking area; they're best preserved in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Dubrovnik area and Western Serbia; in large parts of Croatia, they're absent from vernacular speech. I'm not sure how Croatian linguists treat the "correct" accentuation nowadays; after all, the accent in e.g. Zagreb area significantly differs from the "Vukovski" standard. (And, frankly, they're often not significant for understanding and disambiguation).

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Native language
    Shangri-La, English
    Posts
    24

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by palomnik View Post
    In general, I think that Croatian is one of the easiest Slavic languages for English speakers to learn.
    As I had posted, each native speaker of English has his/her bugbears. You find tones to be easier, but palatalization to be tougher.

    Others may be relieved that Bulgarian and Macedonian have lost almost all of the case distinctions (outside pronouns), and don't mind the the fact that there are lots of tenses (a bit like English) and moods (indicative, renarrative, conditional, subjunctive/imperative).

    I agree with Athaulf in that BCS can be mind-bogglingly tough. I don't mind conjugations and declensions as much since there are rules (more or less) so long as there's regular accentuation/stress. This explains why I picked up "proper" Czech and Polish more quickly than when I had to learn some Croatian and Slovenian. It's when I learn a foreign language with free stress, tones/pitch, and varying length - all of which are NOT marked in spelling that gives the most problems for me. I guess that my being a native speaker of English (whose spelling doesn't usually reflect the free stress and vowel length either) doesn't give much advantage when I tackle languages with similar characteristics.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Ljubljana, SI
    Native language
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Posts
    299

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by vput View Post
    The presence of loanwords may also be helpful and some Slavic languages compared to others have stronger puristic tendencies as noted above.

    e.g. airplane, car, computer, history, music


    Slovenian: zrakoplov; avtomobil/vozilo; računalnik; zgodovina ("historija" is rarely used); glasba
    I'd like to make a few corrections and clarifications. (Why are you inventing things, vput?)

    airplane = letálo (http://bos.zrc-sazu.si/cgi/a03.exe?n...%3Dletalo&hs=1)

    car = avtomobíl (http://bos.zrc-sazu.si/cgi/a03.exe?n...avtomobil&hs=1)

    računalnik, zgodovina and glasba are okey.

    zrakoplòv (http://bos.zrc-sazu.si/cgi/a03.exe?n...zrakoplov&hs=1) = airship
    Nobody ever uses word zrakoplov for an airplane.

    vozílo (http://bos.zrc-sazu.si/cgi/a03.exe?n...%3Dvozilo&hs=1) = vehicle
    Thus avtomobil (or avto in short) is just a type of vozilo.

    historija is so oldfashioned that nobody under 70 uses it at all. I had to check it in the SSKJ to see if it is considered to be a Slovene word.

    You forgot a word muzika for music. It is used, through glasba is prefered.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    vienna
    Native language
    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    Posts
    623

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    I think it also much depends on what other foreign languages you learnt before. If you know some Romance language (at least at a "just about communicative" level) Macedonian or Bulgarian may well be easiest - not only do they share the feature of having next to no case declinations but a lot of tenses and moods, even the behacior of mk/bg pronoun clitics is very much "Romance". Otherwhise, for an English speaker who until now doesn't know any language other than English, the difference will be small.

    Also, Bulgarian has (like Russian/East Slavic and Slovenian as well as B/C/S formerly known as Serbo-Croatian) free accent, so if you find this difficult, you should go for the West Slavic languages or Macedonian.

  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Native language
    Shangri-La, English
    Posts
    24

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Tolovaj_Mataj View Post
    I'd like to make a few corrections and clarifications. (Why are you inventing things, vput?)
    Hey, hey, I didn't invent anything. "Zrakoplov", I must have been thinking of Croatian instead. Oops.

    For Slovenian "vozilo/avtomobil", I ran a search on google and pieced together that "vozilo/avtomobil" could translate as English "car". Again, I apologize if you took offense to my faulty understanding.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Ljubljana, SI
    Native language
    Slovene, Slovenia
    Posts
    299

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    vput,
    everything's fine.
    Just be careful when mixing languages. Croatian is not a good choice, Polish or Russian would do better.
    And I see that when Croats want to separate with Serbian, they have turned towards Slovene instead. No wonder you've make a mistake.

  14. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Vietnam
    Native language
    English
    Age
    64
    Posts
    1,100

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Admittedly, since I already speak Russian I don't find the cases of Croatian very difficult, so Bulgarian or Macedonian don't hold the same interest for me.

    But I still think that Croatian is pretty easy for English speakers to pronounce.

  15. #35
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Native language
    Bulgarian, Bulgaria
    Posts
    137

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by Athaulf View Post
    Furthermore, I've never learned Bulgarian and Macedonian, but I would bet that they have much more complex syntax rules than the other Slavic languages, because without cases the word order can't possibly be equally free. (Just like English got rid of nearly all morphology, but at the expense of maddeningly complicated syntax.)
    You have a point here - unlike any other Slavic language, Bulgarian has undergone an almost full transition from a highly synthetic to an analitic language.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Native language
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Posts
    1,654

    Re: All Slavic languages: The degree of difficulty

    Quote Originally Posted by palomnik View Post
    Admittedly, since I already speak Russian I don't find the cases of Croatian very difficult, so Bulgarian or Macedonian don't hold the same interest for me.

    But I still think that Croatian is pretty easy for English speakers to pronounce.
    However, I'm curious how well you are able to handle the infamous Croatian consonant clusters? A good example is the word Hrvatska; I've asked English speakers to try reproducing that name several times, and they were unable to produce anything close. Generally, I've noticed that any of the numerous Croatian words that use the rolled r as a vowel are immensely difficult for English speakers. (The difficulty goes both ways, of course -- I can't produce anything resembling the way native English speakers pronounce, say, the words true, sixth, or Toronto.)

    As a side note, interestingly, we pronounce loudly and clearly all consonants even in -vstv- clusters that Russians can't stomach, e.g. in the word zdravstvo (= healthcare).

  17. #37
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Native language
    Russian/Israel
    Age
    27
    Posts
    476

    Which slavic language is easiest for you?

    I think it's an interesting question, especially if the person's native language is slavic too. Which do you find easiest to understand? What about speaking? (understanding and speaking are quite different )

    I will grade mine...
    1. Ukrainian
    I am a Russian speaker born in Ukraine. Hearing and reading that language since childhood, I don't have much problems with it.

    2. Bulgarian
    Hey, almost every word here is pretty much like russian. Освен онези че на руския не преличат. The grammar is a bit different, but you get used to it. The verbs are... let's not get into it. :^D

    Съществоването на определителен член ми харесва (макар че не сещам хубаво къде той трябва да се слага), щом дава на езика осещане подобно на английски. Извиняйте, моля, за лошата ми грамматика.. (с едно м ли се пише или с две?)

    3. Polish
    I can read it with relatively few problems, have to look in dictionaries once in a while, but same with Bulgarian. At least here we have the infinitive.

    Bizarrely enough, polish has some words in common with Bulgarian which don't exist in Russian...

    for example:

    przegąrnąć (sp?) - прегьрна - hug

    łudzić się - be confused
    полудява - go crazy

    przez - през - through



    The hardest for me to understand is Serbian... probably due to Vuk Karadzic's orthography. (no offense to Serbian speakers, but the phonetical orthography makes the language hard to understand by hiding the etymological cues)

    Slovene is quite hard too... too many unknown words.

    So basically, from a "Russian as native" viewpoint, Polish and Bulgarian feel the closest to me... I wonder what the picture is like for speakers of other languages?
    Last edited by tkekte; 6th June 2007 at 2:16 PM.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Native language
    Ukraine;Ukrainian and Russian
    Posts
    61

    Re: Which slavic language is easiest for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by tkekte View Post
    I
    The hardest for me to understand is Serbian...
    You probably wasn`t motivated enough to understand.
    To my mind , for a person, who speaks both Russian and Ukrainian, Serbian( Croatian, Bosnian) can not be difficult.
    But I can say, as I don`t speak Czech and Slovak at all, I had great problems with understanding and reading when I came there. I haven`t had such great problems in Bulgaria and Poland although I didn`t speak those languages either.
    Last edited by Emmanon82; 6th June 2007 at 11:29 PM.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Native language
    Croatian/Bosnia, Croatia
    Posts
    1,654

    Re: Which slavic language is easiest for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by tkekte View Post
    The hardest for me to understand is Serbian... probably due to Vuk Karadzic's orthography. (no offense to Serbian speakers, but the phonetical orthography makes the language hard to understand by hiding the etymological cues)
    Actually, I don't think the main problem is that the alphabet is phonetic, but rather the numerous differences between letters. I read the Serbian Cyrillic seamlessly just like the Latin alphabet (where I lived as a kid, we were equally drilled in both at school), and yet, Russian texts were almost incomprehensible to me before I learned what all those strange symbols like ю or я stand for.

    Once you figure out these differences, you should be able to get quite a lot of from reasonably complex texts. Additionally, if you take the minimal effort to learn a handful of extremely frequent, but totally different looking words (уже = већ, только = само, ещё = још, and the like), your understanding will quickly increase dramatically.

    Also, Russians have a bit of a head start when reading South Slavic languages, compared to the other way around. There are many pairs of synonyms in Russian (e.g. глаз/око or лошадь/конь), only one of which is understandable to the South Slavic speakers. The reverse is true nowhere as frequently.

    So basically, from a "Russian as native" viewpoint, Polish and Bulgarian feel the closest to me... I wonder what the picture is like for speakers of other languages?
    You'll find similar lists already posted by several people (including me) in this thread. Enjoy the reading, and comments are always welcome.

  20. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Poland
    Native language
    Polish, German
    Posts
    562

    Re: Which slavic language is easiest for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by tkekte View Post
    przegąrnąć (sp?) - прегьрна - hug
    The proper spelling is przygarnąć.

    Quote Originally Posted by tkekte View Post
    łudzić się - be confused
    This means to delude oneself.

Page 2 of 7 FirstFirst 1234 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •