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https://www.duolingo.com/Serban8comp.

Russian and Ukrainian

Serban8comp.
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How different are the two languages? Can a Russian speaker understand Ukrainian or vice-versa?

2 years ago

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Olja.
Olja.
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Native Russian, I can understand a lot from Ukrainian, Belarussian, Bulgarian, Slovak and Polish. The languages are very similar.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnaDjordjevic5

Serbian and Russian is also very similar, you can understand serbian too, trust me. I read sometimes texts on russian, and I understand a lot. My native language is serbian. i understand macedonian and bulgarian a lot, but i think i can understand ukrainian but i like more russian :)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/woodpeckerr

I guess you are kind of exception, despite the fact that languages are really similar, most of the Russian speaking people (that I met) don't understand Ukrainian. By knowing Russian and Ukrainian I can understand common sense of phrases in many eastern-european languages, but it does not mean that I can really understand them or even keep a conversation.

P.S. for me Ukranian looks more similar to eastern eu languages than to Russian

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/msgur
msgur
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I can understand Ukrainian and I have never learned it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1R9JoDjxocw

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/woodpeckerr

well, Duolingo website for people who "want to know", but should I show situation from "real world"? :)

хоть убейте! Не понимаю я дисно, писля и помитний. Со словом писля у меня вообще ассоциации интимного характера. Даже читать это до конца не стала.

Мне вот ни х р е н а не понятно и не мне одной.

А для меня украинский примерно из этой же оперы, впрочем как и татарский, казахский, узбекский, киргизский и тд. одинаково не понятен. etc.

I guess many Russian speakers think that words "мова" and "свiдомий" just obscene words :)) I remember Russian tourists in Kiev underground whom wanted to leave on "площадь Независимости" station, but there was only "майдан Незалежностi" and they was really surprised when other people translated word "майдан" for them :) etc. People here say that Russians can understand Ukrainian, maybe, but in real live I see opposite cases.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/msgur
msgur
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У меня нет никаких способностей к языкам. Изучаю английский уже много лет, читаю, смотрю CNN, BBC, фильмы и всё ещё есть серьёзные проблемы с пониманием. А украинский понимаю не изучая. Два года назад тоже плохо понимал, но только потому что вообще никогда его не слышал раньше. За эти два года иногда смотрел программы на украинском телевидении и сейчас понимаю почти всё. В словаре за всё время смотрел слов 30-40. Подавляющее большинство слов или идентичные русским (часто в редко используемом значении), или похожие, ну или их значение быстро становится понятным из контекста. Кстати, значение слова майдан понял, когда в 2014ом увидел в Севастополе Дитячий майданчик)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/woodpeckerr

мы же не говорим о частностях, только о вас или обо мне, я уже писал о исключениях и о людях с open mind, которые могут и хотят изучать что-то новое, не только языки. Два года смотреть передачи нашего телевидения даже я не осилю)) не думаю что жители России делают это повсеместно, отсюда и "я ваще не понимаю", "они просто исковеркали русский" и т.д. В Крыму помню повеселил таксист, который просил прочесть дорожный знак, который он проезжает несколько лет, но не знает что там написано... "Дякуємо за чисте узбіччя", такое.

Я согласен что за пару лет можно +- освоить любой сходный язык до приемлемого уровня, но все же это отличается от "все кто говорит по-русски понимают украинский".

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikolai_Novikov
Nikolai_Novikov
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Those were ignorant tourists, probably didnt even know that "maidan" is a sanskrit word.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DarinaXXI
DarinaXXI
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А с чего бы вам понимать татарский, казахский, узбекский, киргизский и прочие тюркские языки? Рус. и укр. являются славянскими, индоевропейскими. И даже не все из них на кириллице.

3 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikolai_Novikov
Nikolai_Novikov
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all depends what you mean by "real understanding" - I would classify understanding of "common sense of phrases" as understanding the language. Ukranian is definetely intelligible to russians, although some vocabulary is different and some is changed (e.g. ukranian/belarus "hour" sound as "year" in russian or bulgarian)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/woodpeckerr

Ukranian is definetely intelligible to russians

I answered above about it.

common sense of phrases

Sometimes I like to listen radio stations and music from different countries, including Eastern European, a lot of fun there, something like "кукавицы кукают" from Serbian advertisement - we can understand right? from context, but how about understanding without context? Or string from Polish song Nocny pociąg do końca świata, made me stuck on some time although it's really similar on Ukranian :) Yeah, Slovenian (if I remember correctly) waitress said that she can understand Russian if we will speak slowly... but for me it looks like I can't really understand a language if I need to "build the sense" based on conjectures about 2-3 words that look similar to me.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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^ This. I've had whole conversations with people whose languages I don't actually speak by lapsing into that informal interslavic. They weren't deep or elegantly phrased conversations, and I'm not by any stretch about to claim that I speak anything except Russian, BUT... there's sufficient common ground to be able to communicate, albeit with considerable patience and difficulty.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Thanks, louis.vang! Your contributions are always so helpful. Please accept some lingots just as a token of appreciation.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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well I'm a Russian speaker and even before I did the Ukrainian course here I could understand Ukrainian with almost no problems at all (tho I used to visit Ukraine quite often because I have family there, but still everyone spoke Russian)

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SilverCharacter
SilverCharacter
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You probably understood the people in Ukraine because they did speak mostly Russian. It depends on what part of the country you are in, in some places people do speak mostly Ukrainian, and if you only knew Russian, it would be difficult to understand each other, but you could make it work.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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true but I could also understand the writings and TV programs that were in Ukrainian

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SilverCharacter
SilverCharacter
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Yes, they are similar. But were there letters you didn't know if you looked closely? Anyway, bottom line @Serban8comp? Learn Russian first, even if you are going to Ukraine. Even better, learn both, so you, Serban8comp, can find out the difference between the two.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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well in the very beginning of course, but I learned them pretty quickly

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Nikolai_Novikov
Nikolai_Novikov
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letters are similar, afaik only one letter is different

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SilverCharacter
SilverCharacter
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Well, actually several letters are different in looks, pronunciation and some Russian letters are missing too, but Russian speakers can usually be halfway understood, though their pronunciation might be a bit off.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bonapard
bonapard
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I am a Russian from East Siberia and it is hard for me to understand what are they saying.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bartuniwer
bartuniwer
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I think russian and ukrainian are more mutually intelligible than polish and ukrainian. I'm polish and I had some problems to understand those languages before I started to learn them, but I've noticed that ukrainian has many polish accretions as months for example.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Neon_Iceberg
Neon_Iceberg
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Yes, Russian speaker can understand Ukrainian and vice-versa. These languages are realy similar.

Look at this thread:

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/15606404

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SilverCharacter
SilverCharacter
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They can't completely understand each other, trust me. Many words are different although most are similar. They have a very similar alphabet and close grammar.

But if you really did meet a real only Ukrainian speaker, and you only spoke Russian, well, it would be hard to understand each other, but not impossible. See Louis.vang's comment above. A very helpful link.

In reality, in Ukraine, lots of people speak a mixture of Ukrainian and Russian, called Surzhuk, and some speak mostly Ukrainian, some mostly Russian, some Ukrainian and Polish. What's hard is figuring out who speaks what to avoid awkwardness.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/V846
V846
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I'm Russian speaker, but I learn Ukrainian. Just it takes less time than other languages.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Some Duo discussions of the subj. that contain relevant comments:

There are plenty more that I've seen, but so far they've been hard to find w/ Duo's search.

IIRC, when the Ukrainian course came out there were quite a few discussions of this on the Russian forum, w/ several people asking precisely the question you asked.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shisoik

There is a good and short video about the relations between the Slavic languages. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfpEPjfB12g

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/qixyl
qixyl
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My native language is Russian. I can understand the Ukrainian partly when I read the text, but it very difficult to recognize the words, when I hear the speech.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/VladyslavM2

Although the two languages are very similar, the most similar language to Ukrainian isn't Russian; it's Polish. Normally, Ukrainian people can understand the Russian people but not the other way round because they don't ukrainian at school

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kilire

I assume it would be like French and English. There are similarities, but they're not completely distinguishable. This is my view, correct me if I'm wrong.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Shady_arc
Mod
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More like English and Scots. Quite similar but generally only intelligible to a degree, especially if you have no prior experience and the utterances are on an unfamiliar topic.

Maist plants growe in the grund, wi stocks abuin, an ruits ablow. Watter an some nutrients come frae the ruits. The evaporation o watter frae pores in the leafs pulls watter throu the plant. This is cawed transpiration. A fruit is a plaunt structur that conteens its seeds

Try your luck on Wikipedia

It works in one direction (same as with English): very few native speakers of Russian outside Ukraine can be expected to know Ukrainian—but a large number of native Ukrainian speakers had some contact with Russian, know Russian or speak it natively. Thus, Russian is very easy to understand to a large number of Ukrainians, but Ukrainian is not as easy for most Russians.

Fortunately, languages are quite close, so deciphering a text or reaching understanding in a conversation is very possible with some effort. More importantly, grammars are similar, so understanding a text with occasional help of a dictionary is easy.

It is not like English and Russian: if you replace Russian words with their Ukrainian counterparts and use them following the rules of Russian grammar, you already approach the Ukrainian text quite closely. I mean, the Ukrainian text looks approximately how you would expect a Russian text to look if you change some vocabulary and use some forms differently.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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Shady said pretty much everything I would've said.

I'll only add that it works as a non-native, too.

I understood some spoken/written Ukrainian purely from language similarities and previous exposure to other Slavic languages, primarily Russian, and when I did the course here, huge swathes of it it was more a case of a slightly different pronunciation/a different verb or noun/one form is more popular over another and hey presto, I understood how it worked because I'd learned it before.

I feel like Ukrainian is maybe very slightly easier than Russian, in that I remember a few things just seemed to work in a similar way to Russian but the Ukrainian way was simpler, but that's just a personal impression.

For actual native speakers, Ukrainian speakers learning Russian have a huge advantage over Russians learning Ukrainian purely because native Ukrainians tend to have been at minimum passively exposed to an awful lot of Russian already, whereas most Russians aren't exposed to a lot of Ukrainian.

Between those two language groups, there's often a perception that Russian is easier, but it seems largely to be based on the fact Ukrainian speakers are much more likely to have already had a lot of exposure to Russian than vice versa, so I don't think it's a very reliable indicator. Certainly, a decent level in either language is going to give a head start in the other.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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looks more similar to me

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/iwc2ufan
iwc2ufan
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Russian and Ukrainian are in the same language family, while French and English only share some vocabulary due to the Norman conquest bringing Norman French to Britain in 1066. This is why we have more Latin based vocabulary than the other Germanic languages. French grammar is totally different from English grammar on most counts. Russian and Ukrainian, on the other hand, share loads of grammar and vocabulary. Due to previously studying Polish, the basics of Russian and Ukrainian came a lot faster than they would have otherwise.

2 years ago