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Russian, Ukrainian or Polish?

Which Slavic would be the best to start of with? That'd give a good introduction to other Slavic languages and a considerable attempt if I was ever to try another one.

1 year ago

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
DragonPolyglot
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Okay, so the Slavic languages are very similar, but they each have different pros and cons (I made this list based off what I know about each language and a quick Wikipedia adventure):

Russian:

  • (Pro) most widely spoken out of the three

  • (Pro) used in the most countries of the three

  • (Pro) Russian is one of the six official languages of the United Nations

  • (Con) You need to learn the Cyrillic alphebet

  • (Con) according to the FSI, Russian is one of the harder languages to learn for English speakers, boasting 6 cases, three genders and a complex phonology.

Ukrainian:

  • (Pro) Ukrainian is spoken in many countries as the official or minority language.

  • (Pro) The Ukrainian alphebet is a little less daunting than the Russian one (by taking away some letters)

  • (Pro) Ukrainian can help you with Russian later on since they're both East Slavic languages, but it also shares a few similarities with Polish, especially grammatically but also in terms of vocabulary. So it's almost in-between the other two.

  • (Con) you still have to learn the Cyrillic script

  • (Con) It has all the same grammatical complexity as, and a similar phonological system to, Russian, and even has a seventh case.

Polish:

  • (Pro) It uses the Latin script, so you can recognize more of the letters, even if they don't make exactly the same sound.

  • (Pro) It's the official language or a minority language of several countries

  • (Pro) There are more native Polish speakers than native Ukrainian speakers

  • (Con) You'll have to learn several new sounds and letters (nasal vowels and a few consonants English doesn't have)

  • (Con) There is still a lot of the same type of grammar structures as Russian and Ukrainian. It also has seven cases.

This is just a few things for each Slavic language. You can also think about which one you prefer in terms of sound or culture.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zeitschleifer
Zeitschleifer
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So, in fact you can remove the last con about complexity from all three lists if you are comparing the given three languages :-) None of them is too simple and there is no escape from cases :-)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Irusejka
Irusejka
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If you want to escape from cases, then choose Bulgarian :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bones.Justice

I would say that having to learn a new alphabet is a very small con. Learning a new language takes years, but learning a new alphabet like Cyrillic only takes a few days.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/daughterofAlbion
daughterofAlbion
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And personally I find it easier to memorise new letters with their sounds than remember how familiar-looking letters are to be pronounced completely differently.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JensBu
JensBuPlus
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You can start with any that you like. It's more important that you like it and have a personal interest or purpose why you learn it. This one will be the easier language. Read a bit about countries, listen to the languages or watch some videos in that language with subtitle and then try. If you don't like it you can still change whenever you want.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Bones.Justice

Russian will be much more useful and a good base for learning any other Slavic language. If you travel around Eastern Europe, most people understand and speak at least some Russian.

I would only choose Ukrainian or Polish if you had a particular interest in one of those countries. But if you did, you probably wouldn't be asking this question.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TseDanylo
TseDanylo
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If you want to learn all three, I'd go with Ukrainian. It's about half way between the two.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
LICA98
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see here for a comparison between Polish and Russian

Ukrainian is the least useful of the 3 because (almost) everyone who speaks Ukrainian can also speak Russian (also the Ukrainian course on duolingo is really poor compared to the other 2)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RebekahBray1
RebekahBray1
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i started with polish because i have family there. I find it easier that russian and ukrainian because they are use a different alphabet. They all sound mostly the same, so id start with polish and go on with the others once your halfway through polish.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EmiDuchine

I would start with Russian because it is the most popular.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ontalor
Ontalor
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I would just point out that since Russian is a UN language and has the most speakers, a lot of the friends I made when I lived abroad who were from Poland and Ukraine actually had to learn some Russian in school, so there is a bit more ability to communicate there.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/neio75
neio75
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Another reason I would like to add in favor of Russian is that you will find many more resources to learn the language.

1 year ago