https://www.duolingo.com/Vologirl-chan

Is Russian easy for you?

I've started to learn Russian several days ago even though I've learnt Cyrillic alphabet 4-5 years ago. I've also developed my reading in those several days. Somehow, Russian is easy to me like Polish even though my native language is even not an European languge, it's Turkish. Who else thinks like me anyway, I wonder... Can you tell me your stories?

1 year ago

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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Russian has both easy and difficult aspects, IMO - like most languages. Certainly, a solid basis in Polish (or almost any Slavic language) is an excellent stepping stone/crib sheet into Russian (or almost any other Slavic language) in my experience.

Lack of articles, lack of "to be" in the present tense (which also means no instrumental in that instance, unlike Polish), a past tense that is absurdly easy to form, heavily grammar coded vocabulary, and a near-phonetic writing system are all things that are user-friendly in Russian. Also, the way roots and prefixes work means you have a kind of cheat sheet where a new word may still be familiar/it may be possible to guess at its meaning even if it's genuinely new to you, especially if you have context.

It doesn't have the same degree of vocabulary sharing with English that one notices in, say, English compared with French or German, but it does have some significant borrowings that are useful to a reasonably fluent speaker of English. (If memory serves, there's also some Russian vocabulary borrowed from Turkish? Not masses, but a few words.)

OTOH, aspect is pretty tough to get hold of for those of us who don't have a language with an equivalent, and verbs of motion can be pretty nasty. Unless someone has studied a language with cases before, being thrown right in to six cases and three genders, all of which have to agree with one another, is tough, especially if you have no idea what a case is to start with. (Ask me how I know...) The cases that go with numbers can also be a right royal pain in the behind.

I don't know that I'd describe Russian as easy - and I think I'm well out of the stage where my opinion as a beginner has any weight. I just barely remember what it was like when I started learning... it was almost twenty years ago. (And I've still not mastered it...) But I think, like most languages, it has easier and more difficult aspects, and is not as fearsome as its reputation would suggest. I definitely think it's a YMMV situation.

(I think a few days is probably a little early to be calling it easy, though...)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vologirl-chan

Well, we also have 6 cases in Turkish like in Russian and Polish as well, however we don't have things like "gender in noun". Yeah, some words are similar, but not much anyway. Also I'm saying this because I've already checked out the grammar and cases in it. It really is easier than Norwegian for me somehow... Maybe I already had a week with Russian, I don't remember since I'm in summer holiday now and I don't care about the days I spend.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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No, there's not a lot of Turkish input, afaik, but there's some - some of it via other languages.

Checking out the grammar is not the same as being able to use it ;) I'm not saying you might not find Russian easy long term, I'm just saying that a week is too short a time to really know that.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JBHayven
JBHayven
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Technically, there are 7 cases in Polish language - but Vocative is not very productive.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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I think maybe you meant to reply to vologirl-chan :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JBHayven
JBHayven
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Yes, you're right, sorry :D

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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No worries :D

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Operaphile
Operaphile
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Russian is definitely the hardest of the languages I have tried to tackle on a Duolingo so far, especially trying to learn it using the app for mobile devices (which does not really explain grammar). However I am up for the challenge and have found that the phonetic Cyrillic script is getting easier to type. I will try to power through but I expect that it is going to take me 2-3 times longer to complete the tree and get to level 25 than the Romance and Germanic languages I have studied.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JBHayven
JBHayven
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As a native speaker of Polish language I consider Russian a fairly easy language to learn. There are some new things to get familiar with, some false friends, too, but the general idea being the same, it makes no big problem for me. On the other hand, I am afraid you've made a judgement too soon - if you think that Polish language is easy, then either you'll be good at any Slavic languages or you just haven't reached the most difficult parts yet. :D I don't want to discourage you but I think that even if these language might seem easy, they might be hard to master. Or maybe I am wrong, I do not insist on my opinion.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Vologirl-chan

Why everyone says that it is hard then? What do you see about this situation? I want to know...

By the way, I'm a native Turkish as I said, and we also have many suffixes and vowel harmony stuff

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Turkish/Cases

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JBHayven
JBHayven
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It's the variety of forms and exceptions. It's easy to speak just well enough to be understandable but there are many small details one has to keep in mind - vowel and consonant changes in various form of words (piorę/pierzesz/pierze/pierzemy/pierzecie/piorą - conjugated "to do the laundry"), irregularities, I've also only recently found out that there are IIRC 11 conjugations in Polish language, not to mention various ways of treating nouns (my friend who was learning Polish had some problems with some vegetables being treated like living things). People also seem to be put off by weird-looking consonant clusters and being unable to hear or make any difference between palato-alveoral and palatal consonants ("ś" vs. "sz", "ć" vs. "cz" etc.), but that's other thing and I suppose you feel good at that as you've already went this far.

I personally am very fond of agglutinative languages and I love vowel harmony, that's a very neat concept which makes Polish look even more chaotic to me.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/flootzavut
flootzavutPlus
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With the disclaimer that I do not speak Turkish; Turkish is, afaik, far, far more regular than Russian (and than Polish), so while its grammar is confusing and new for learners, it is at least much more consistent. (This being said, I found Turkish utterly impenetrable, and it temporarily gave me the feeling I had completely lost my ability to learn a new language. I know people who consider it very easy; for me, it was difficult bordering on impossible.)

(JBHayven is also in a rather different situation; a native speaker of a Slavic language is likely to find another Slavic language relatively easy to learn, because many of the things that make Slavic languages difficult for the newbie are shared across many Slavic languages. A native Polish speaker's experience of learning Russian will be rather different to a native speaker of English/Turkish/another less related or unrelated language.)

I don't think there's much value in assigning a language as easy or hard, because it depends so much on one's native language and how one's brain is wired. (I get on far better with Russian and Hebrew than I ever did with French.) However, it is a little odd to declare a language easy when you have barely scratched the surface.

I would tend to agree with JBHayven that either you will find you are very well suited to Slavic languages, in which case, fantastic and well done you, or that you are finding them easy because you are still relatively new to the language and have had relatively little exposure to the things that make it hard.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Beau861
Beau861
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Russian is the first language I've attempted to learn, so having nothing to compare it to, all I can say is that it is quite a difficult language, but not as hard as I always thought it would be. I think that people who haven't learned it simply look at it in print and think it's almost on the level of Chinese or Japanese. But the alphabet is the EASIEST thing to learn, IMO. You can easily learn it within a day or two, depending on how much you study. Though I will disagree to an extend about how phonetic it is. I find numerous problems, with listening at least, in discerning between ye, ee, and the letter that looks like bl. By the sounds they are suppose to make, I find that they sound quite interchangeable when spoken quickly. I've just decided to not worry about it and just try to memorize the letters they are suppose to be in the words they are in. And ee kratkaye (soft e) seems to be used exclusively wish diphthongs. And the two "sh"s always sound the same. There may be a few other examples, and these things drove me crazy when I was an absolute beginner, just because every Russian course claims that the language is pretty much 100% phonetic, but it just isn't to my ear. Maybe 90-95%, which is delightfully high, but you still have to just listen by example to get the phonetics down as you go.

The cases are a mind-bender to get your head around (if this is your first foreign language with cases). I still have some work to do to get my head wrapped around them, but if you just don't worry about it too much, and just pay attention to the language and "notice" things, then you should gradually pick up the concepts over time. Of course there are the verbs of motion, which is weird. So overall, it a difficult language, but after over a year at sticking with it I feel much confidence in continuing. And so far I have found it a much more attainable language than what everyone made it sound like over the years.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/piguy3
piguy3
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I have generally found Russian quite difficult, mostly because I have found it difficult to retain vocabulary. I have now had a look at a few other languages even more distant from English than Russian, and I would say that I generally found retaining new vocabulary in Hungarian, Guaraní, and I think even Japanese (excluding kanji considerations) easier than Russian. I conclude that perhaps Russian really isn't all that good a fit for the idiosyncrasies of my particular brain, but some people find it very different. Perhaps you have the good fortune to be one of them.

Most comments on the difficulty of Russian focus on grammar. Of course the grammar is no walk in the park, but there's a lot less involved in attaining a B2 level of grammar than in getting to a B2 level in vocabulary.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sialia2
Sialia2
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I have invested more time and energy into learning Russian, on Duolingo and elsewhere, than I have in any other language, and yet I am still far from comfortable reading or writing texts of any complexity, or engaging in conversation.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/betarage
betarage
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Russian is not easy for me but its not super hard too the problems i have is that while i can read the alphabet now its still slow and confusing and some words are really long and hard to remember

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DreamOfFlying

Right. And after learning Russian, I would assume it would be less of a challenge to learn a more simple language like Spanish.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Sebastian495516

I've been learning Russian for about 3-4 months, and it's really fun but get's way more complicated when you start adding all the rules and other stuff, some times I try to look for other articles that explain this but I havent been lucky I guess

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/-EmirWinchester-
-EmirWinchester-
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El ruso lo puedo leer y medio entender, pero escribirlo y hablarlo se me dificulta un poco, soy nativo del idioma español y se me hace más fácil idiomas como el italiano y el portugués.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Proginoskes
Proginoskes
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It's tricky. It's harder than German but not as hard as Japanese. The different cases and endings are a lot of what makes it hard for me, though I've gotten to the point where I'm starting to understand it.

It's also a lot harder than it would be if I was just focusing on Russian by itself, but right now I'm trying to get to the next level with German, so I'm not working as hard on Russian as I should (or want to). I'm also dyslexic, so that's a huge factor in this too.

1 year ago
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