How similar is Polish to Russian?
I am considering starting Russian course. How similar is it to Polish? Of course I am aware both have different alphabets, I mean how many similar words they have in common despite the alphabet.
Level of similarity between polish and russian is similar to one between spanish and italian, If polish speaker will listen carefully he will get main meaning of russian sentences, there are many words that sounds the same in both languages but also few false friend words. And the biggest difference is that when you are learning russian vocabulary you have to remember where the stress falls in each word you learn because changing its position may change meaning of the word.
Depends on how strongly you examine it. I believe it to be very similar. In my opinion it would be easier for a Polish person to learn Russian than the other way around. For example, Russian no longer has nasal sounds, so all non-palatalized nasal sounds in Polish will convert to an "ę, ą" - "y" (u). You can't do this the otherway around.
Another example you will find is that a palatalized "t" in Polish, e.g: "ci cie cia ciu cię cią" does not morph in Russian. Likewise with the rz clusters.
(pl) "ciocia" - (ru - phonetic) "tiotia"/"tjotja"
(pl) "rzeka" - (ru --) "rieka"/"rjeka"
(pl) "lot" - (ru --) "liot" "ljot"
Phonetically speaking though, untrained ears from speakers of both languages will have severe difficulties deciphering speech. This is the hardest part for me. I can pickup usage differences in Polish pretty easily, but not the speech.
Russian stress is highly variable, where as in Polish it's fixed. In Russian, мука, depending on the pronunciation of stress on the y, can mean different things. It can mean either flour ("mąka"), or torture ("męka") In which I also show an example of the denasalization rule.