https://www.duolingo.com/Fabfifties

Which is the hardest and easiest Slavic Language in your opinion.

My experiences :

Croatian : The easiest by far, its spelling is fairly phonetic and easy to get used to ( not to mention it uses the Latin alphabet ). Fairly regular, although some patterns take time to get used to.

Polish : The hardest by far, I thought the spelling would be easier to handle considering that it uses the Latin Alphabet. But differentiating between some of these letters feels impossible ( dz, ż, and ź will give me problems till the end of time ), and don't forget about the large amount of consonant clusters. Thank god Polish has regular stress patterns. Also, Polish seems to have rather irregular everything for a Slavic language.

Russian : Learning how and when to palletize, differentiate between Ш and Щ, and irregular stress patterns are my main trouble when reading and speaking Russian. Other than that, I wouldn't say it's too hard. Feels the most regular ( aside from stress patterns ) of the three Slavic language I've been studying.

Grammar-wise, they all feel equally as difficult. I've only been studying all three for a few months so take what I say with a grain of salt. And please, I'd like to hear your experiences with Slavic languages.

( It turns out I chose the most widely spoken Slavic languages of the three main Slavic groups ( East, West, and South ) without even noticing. )

( Also, I've heard that Bulgarian is the easiest Slavic language, is that true? )

December 16, 2017

19 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky

My understanding is that Polish is generally considered the “hardest” Slavic languages due to the relatively large amount of irregularities — a legacy of extensive contact and influence by non-Slavic languages (like German, Hungarian, French, and so forth). This said, I have never studied any other Slavic languages so I can’t claim first-hand knowledge.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JAndrzej

Hmm... I don't think that Polish was more influenced by German/French than Russian by various Turkic/Finnic languages or Bulgarian/Macedonian by Greek and Turkish. At least, that's my impression.

Some features of Polish that may be seen as "exotic" among Slavic languages are not innovations but "relicts", eg. nasal vowels, so it's a different situation than with French/Portuguese vs. other Romance languages.

As far as I know, some Slavic languages were heavily standarised during their "revival" in the 19th century so they may be more regular, while Polish wasn't modernised in this "organised" way.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Michael.Lubetsky

This would seem to be a more plausible explanation for high number of irregularities in Polish. Dziękuję bardzo!

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fabfifties

Because of all the non-slavic influences. Polish is probably one of the most different-sounding Slavic languages ( although the most different-sounding would definitly be Sorbian ( not to be confused with Serbian ) ).

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Terpsichore88

For me personally....

Easiest: Russian. Once one gets the hand of the Cyrillic, it is not so bad. I might not always get the perfect pronunciation but at least I can read things quite comfortably and understand them in my head. Also, word order is flexible which is nice for me. Russians are also nice (Even times when they are excited and thrilled!) in terms of appreciating when you try to speak Russian to them, even if imperfect. It's refreshing, since other certain groups make the exact opposite reaction.

Russian of course is far from easy peasy, but in terms of comparison of course.

Hardest: Polish and Czech. (Actively learning Polish in deeper detail, while only learned some basic Czech as I was travelling in the Czech Republic this past summer as a trip)

You already discussed why Polish is tricky! And for me about Czech, the hardest for sure was simply being able to pronounce everything correctly, even with practice and some study ahead of time and during. I was even having trouble remembering how to say something as simple "Thank you". I felt so bad each time! My apologies to the Czechs again! Even with little background in the other two languages, for some reason it was just not clicking with me at all.

Just all the characters, phonology and the like was so difficult. My little language book with pronunciations on the side of each word/sentence didn't help either, apparently not even correct! :O at least with the dialect(s) I was around, I suppose.

I knew Czech was hard long prior but Oi. Mad respect folks.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fabfifties

Despite studying Polish the longest, I also still struggle remembering how to say the most simple of things. It took me around two weeks of studying Croatian to get me to a level that took me months to achieve in Polish...

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/IAmBrave16

Me being part Croatian, and attempting (many a times) to understand the other Slavic languages... I think it's much easier in comparison to the other Slavic languages.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fabfifties

Znaš govoriti hrvatski?

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/JAndrzej

I'm not sure if Bulgarian is that easier. OK, Bulgarian (and Macedonian) lost cases, but, on the other hand, they developed articles and one completely new verb mood (imperceptivus).

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Laura687173

I heard of many people that Macedonian (or Bulgarian) is the easiest Slavic language and the hardest Polish because of the many consonants. But grammatically, I think, is Macedonian again the easiest. The opposite maybe Serbian/Croatian, Russian or again Polish? You can correct me if I'm mistaken.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Hxvan
  • 1184

I am studying Russian and for now the most difficult thing is to remember the conjugations.

December 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98

well I can only talk about Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian

what's easier in Polish:
pronunciation - both stressed and unstressed vowels are pronounced the same and stress is almost always in the same place (the only thing harder in Polish is that there is a difference between cz and ć and ż and ź (tho ź technically exists in Russian too, it's just very rare))

Latin alphabet

what is easier in Russian:
grammar is singificantly easier, for example there is only 1 form of plurals and for past tense there are just 4 forms (Polish has 13)

in Ukrainian you actually have the same thing as Russian and pronounciation is easier, so probably Ukrainian is the easiest of the 3

the problem with Ukrainian tho is that very many people in Ukraine either don't speak it or speak a mix of Russian and Ukrainian

I've also tried Czech and I think it's much harder than Polish, tho I don't know the language well enough yet

December 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Peter594672

Does insider's experience count or it's like cheating? :)

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fabfifties

Dats cheeting. Just kidding, tell me.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Peter594672

Okay, Russian's my native, so I've been learning it since I was born being fully immersed into the language environment. According to my mom, it took me about 2 years to start uttering distinguishable words, and 2 years more to deal with complex sentences. Vocabulary was still poor at the time. I learned to read and write on my 6th or 7th year and stopped making stupid mistakes in writing in some late teenage. Then it went better, and now, many years later, I am fluent. Still cannot decently maintain conversation on quantum physics or sophisticated maths though, because I know neither.

My travelling experience has proven that while I've never deliberately learned any other Slavic language for even a minute, I can:

  • grasp verbal Ukrainian or Belorussian if it is slow, and reading is relatively easy, with only few words here and there I cannot guess the meaning of.
  • get the overall meaning of a text (no nuances) in Polish or Montenegrin; verbal speech is beyond me.
  • pick a few words in a text in Czech, too few to understand the overall meaning though.

I cannot speak or write any of the languages above.

To illustrate, the Croatian phrase you used above looks like a distorted Russian phrase bearing the same meaning. Compare:

  • Znaš govoriti hrvatski? - initial
  • Znaeš [kak] govorit' po-horvatski? - Russian, transliterated into Latin
  • Знаешь [как] говорить по-хорватски? - Cyrillic Russian. It's not the standard way to say it in Russian, and punctuation and the conjunction 'как' opening the dependent clause are omitted, but the meaning is 100% clear. The difference is just a few characters, really.
December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fabfifties

Интересно, спасиба вам! Я тоже думаю что кириллицы не очень сложный ( или сложные? ).

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Peter594672

- сложная - it's feminine, like most Russian words ending with -a (not -ы btw) ;)

Well, it's easier than standard galactic alphabet, that's for sure. At least a few characters look familiar XD

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Fabfifties

I typed Cyrillic into bing translate and got «криллицы». I guess that's what I get for putting too much faith in an internet translator. Thanks for the correction!

December 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/TomaszHoda1

I'm a native Polish speaker and have been learning Czech for some time. The hardest thing about Czech is the accent and the conjugation endings which seem to be more nombrous than in Polish (e.g. Polish "proszę", "dziękuję" and "idę" in Czech take different ending each: "prosím", "dekuji", "jdu" - correct me if I'm wrong ;)). On the other hand, Polish has a more complex use of declensions e.g. "Widzę dziewczynę" (Acc.) - "Nie widzę dziewczyny" (Gen.) while in Czech both would be in Accusative; in Polish "Jestem dzieckiem" (Instrumental), in Czech "jsem díte" (Nominative). I've also heard that Slovene is incredibly hard but I haven't tried learning it :)

January 11, 2019
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