Interesting to know where everyone is from and why you decided to take the course.
I am from Hamden, Connecticut USA. While I am not a native speaker, Ukrainian is my first language. However, like many of my Ukrainian friends, when growing up, we preferred to speak English among ourselves (and out of earshot of any of our parents). So, while my speaking abilities are somewhat acceptable, reading and writing is not.
I grew up in Portland, OR where there's a large population of Russian and Ukrainian speakers. In school almost everyone I hung out with spoke either Russian, Ukrainian, or Spanish. So I had some familiarity with the language just from hearing it and seeing it so often, it's kinda like a piece of my childhood in a way. I speak Spanish already, and I'm taking Russian too, since these are the most common (non-English) languages in Oregon, but I've always wanted to learn Ukrainian properly too. I'm taking the Duolingo Ukrainian course because it's free, it's good typing practice, and a good refresher course in basic Ukrainian. I'm traveling to Kyiv and Lviv in the summer, so at this point, I'm using any resource I can get my hands on. Plus, if I can help someone else who's learning Ukrainian on here, all the better.
I'm from Talcahuano Chile, I like to lear languages so I'm learning english (actually I'm practising my knowledgement) and also I'm learning Swedish because I want to go to live in Sweden, also I'm learning Dutch and Norwegian, and I will start to learn Ukranian because it's seemed very interesting to me.
Your story is so interesting :) I am glad that you in the end choose to study Russian and that you fell in love with Slavic languages. Maybe, they are not useful like Roman or Germanic, but they are beautiful. And who knows, maybe you will need them one day :) I have heard and read The little prince - Mali princ in Serbian :) That site is in Slovak and thank you for sharing it with me, I will try to read it. I will probably feel like you did, but I will give a try. I sometimes also do that, read in a language which I don't know completely. That makes my brain to work harder and I like it. But it is also, on the other hand, really confusing to my brain. I guess, for me it is easier to get into all of the Slavic languages, because my native language is one of them. But, as far as I know and I am sure I am not wrong, you are great at languages, so for you learning more about Slavic languages is not that difficult. :) I always say that when you know one South Slavic language, Russian and a bit of Western Slavic languages, you will understand all others. All of them have similarities with Russian. And other similarities changes from language to language. For example, Macedonian has a lot in common with Ukrainian, some words are closer to that language and not to Serbian. And also, you know about names of the months. Czech, Ukrainian, Croatian - they have those "old names". All this makes me so hungry to learn more and more :) I learned Old Slavic language at the university. That was a great experience as well :) P.S. You should come to visit the Balkans. I am sure you would love it :)
I always say that when you know one South Slavic language, Russian and a bit of Western Slavic languages, you will understand all others.
Yes, that's very much in line with my experience! I mean, I don't know if I'd say I understand them all (I wish!), but I'm constantly surprised by how much I do understand even though I'm so out of practice, and even in languages I've never studied at all.
The other thing that I really enjoy about Slavic languages is that, in my experience, outside of the countries where they're spoken, most speakers of those languages do not expect anyone to know even a little of them. We have quite a few Eastern Europeans, especially Poles in the area I live in, and usually they are surprised and delighted if I even recognise their accent/language as Polish (or Russian or whatever), never mind if I say something, even when it's really simple like Cześć or Dziękuję or Do Widzenia! I've had a few interesting chats in Russian or (very broken) Polish, even been able to help people sometimes.
Generally speaking, we Brits are very poor at learning other people's languages, and so I think people who come to live here tend not to expect much from us, and so to find someone who speaks even a little of their language seems to be a really big deal, often a huge relief if they're stuck for some reason, and means a lot, and I really love being part of brightening up their day and even sometimes helping people because of it.
If you check out the links down the side of that page, it has the book in a whole bunch of languages, including several Slavic languages, so if you want to give your brain some exercise, it's pretty fun ;) I know there's Russian, Bulgarian, Polish, I think Croatian, Possibly Czech as well as Slovak, and that's just the Slavic ones that I remember, not including all the other languages. Some of them I've not even been able to figure out! (If I had the patience to go look up the flags it would help ;))
There's one I'm pretty sure is Basque, one which I think is either Lithuanian or Latvian, there's Estonian, Hebrew, Greek... it's basically language geek paradise ;) but naturally, my favourites are all the Slavic languages!
It was really interesting to study Ukrainian, there are some words that are identical or nearly identical to Russian, or follow easily recognisable patterns for how they differ:
- for example кіт/кот, кішка/кошка, тітка/тётка there are a lot of words where the difference is і/о і/е і/ё
- the pronouns are so similar:
он она / він вона
- я можу/я могу
And then suddenly you'll have some that that seems quite different or not even remotely the same, like працювати/работать, бачити/видеть!
I felt like the conjugation of verbs in general was also this strange mixture of different, sort-of familiar bits and pieces, so the 3rd person singular was sort of like the Russian infinitive, and the 2nd person plural was like the Croatian 2nd person plural, and yeah... It was kind of mind bending, but in a reeeeeally fun way ;-D I'm sure you'll have fun going the other way round, too!
I really hope to visit the Balkan region one day! :-D I want to go to Dubrovnik and the Dalmatian coast (and the islands!) and Sofia and Mostar and Belgrade and Sarajevo and Lyublyana (oh, and that lake in Slovenia which has a castle on an island in the middle of it? I can't remember the name, I just remember thinking it was stunningly pretty) and basically the whole area has a whole bunch of places I would dearly love to come visit. Sadly I haven't even left the country in almost a decade :'( ill health and the lack of money that comes with it, but trust me, it's absolutely on my bucket list... and pretty high up my bucket list, at that :-D My ideal, if I had money and time and health, would just be to spend several weeks travelling around the area and exploring different parts of it. One day!
ДЯКУЮ for the links, I will enjoy that immensely! Thank you! And I had no idea there was a statue in Kyiv, I guess it must be a popular book in Ukraine XD
Thanks so much, I looked for it in Ukrainian when I finished the tree and was so disappointed when I couldn't find it (even to buy as a paperback!) and clearly I totally missed when you posted the links before. I am very happy right now :D
8-o no, I somehow missed that! Was it on my wall or in a discussion forum? I will have to check my notifications, I know I've missed a few because of getting too many emails and only getting 5 notifications on the site before they start dropping off the bottom! Oh, I am excited now :-D yes, I am a big kid ;-D
Cool :D Macedonian and Bulgarian are pretty closely related, aren't they? I get the impression that it's a bit like Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian, a dialect continuum, but I've never learned BG or Macedonian so I may have misunderstood that...
A friend of mine is Bulgarian, and she said she understands a lot of (spoken) Serbian, but has more trouble with Croatian, I don't know if it's a vocab thing or ekevian versus ijekavian or what - maybe it's a combination.
I was really surprised to find out how different the personal pronouns were in Bulgarian, all the other Slavic languages I've had a go at or actually studied or just been exposed to there's been a lot of commonality, and then аз, тя, etc, so very unfamiliar! 8-o they become more familiar in declension, also, which I thought was really cool and kind of interesting.
I have a textbook somewhere for Slovenian but I never got very far with it. Maybe I'll have another go and do better.
Learning Ukrainian was interesting, it's close to Russian but not the same. I was quite encouraged that I think I remember enough Russian that I won't get horribly confused - I was a little apprehensive when I started the course! I really didn't want to risk ending up not being able to keep hold of my Russian. I thought I might have to stop 8-o
I am really looking forward to the Russian course so I can brush up, though. I've been doing Russian > English, but it isn't as good. I feel like the Russian course will be an excellent refresher.
Yes, I think it helps to have a good grounding in one so when you learn a new one it's not utterly confusing, but I don't know how many I'd manage to get my brain around before I just start speaking Interslavic instead ;-p
I imagine it would help a bit to be starting with one as a native language because at least you're not likely to forget that any time soon LOL :-D but even so, how many similar-but-different languages can fit in one person's head?? Good ambition to have, though! And I do really like that, with sufficient patience, you can usually have some kind of conversation with another speaker of Slavic languages if you have one or two under your belt. I don't know if it's just because I get on better with Slavic languages or that Russian is the language I got furthest with, but to me it feels like there's more common ground than between, say, most Romance languages, and that's really fun.
Yes, Macedonian and Bulgarian are similar. But they are more different than Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian. My Slovak friend told me she better understands Croatian (spoken) than Serbian. I have no idea why. I know that, for example. Maceodian people when try to speak Serbian always use ijekavian, they can't explain why, but for them it is easier to speak like that. Bulgarian is the only language who saved pronouns from Old Slavic language, they also have Ъ and Ь (I don't know their names in English :)) And Bulgarian language do not have cases. I love Ukrainian language very much. But Russian is my biggest love :) I want to learn it and I can't wait for the course to come out. I am going to finish Ukrainian tree until that. How did you become that interested in Slavic languages? :)
It's so interesting and cool to see the similarities and differences of the language!
I saw a table of BG pronouns that have accusative and dative forms, but I have no idea if they're still actually used or anything. So far as I remember, they reminded me a lot of Ukrainian pronouns, even though the nominative forms seem so different!
Ъ & Ь in Russian/English are твёрдый знак и мягкий знак the hard sign and the soft sign, but I think ъ at least (no idea about ь) is an actual vowel in Bulgarian - I don't know about Macedonian. So I think in Bulgarian it probably isn't called твёрдый знак! I should ask my friend what she calls it.
There's a site that has The Little Prince in several different languages, you might enjoy it - here's the link in case you haven't seen it before: http://www.odaha.com/antoine-de-saint-exupery/maly-princ - the list of languages is down the side of the page. It has quite a few, including several Slavic languages and Russian! (Unfortunately no Ukrainian :() I don't know if you know the book, but if you don't, it's a good reason to read it, because it's such a wonderful book. (I think the page in general is in Czech or maybe Slovak? I haven't looked properly to check, but it looks like one or the other...?)
My friend suggested I try reading the BG version, and it was a really strange experience, I found if I didn't think too hard about it, between general Slavic-language knowledge and knowing the story well, I could understand it pretty well, but as soon as I tried to think too hard, it was like my brain panicked and went "you do not speak this language, stop confusing me"! XD It was so weird.
Russian is brilliant and I love it. I think it's a really beautiful language - I don't understand why people go on about Romance languages, I think Slavic languages are so much prettier <3
How I got interested in Slavic languages is kind of funny. My most honest answer sounds a bit ridiculous: it seemed like a good idea at the time!
I had intended to study French and Spanish at university - I would have been taking Spanish from scratch. Then I read an article about Russian and it piqued my curiosity. Before that, I think the only real thing I ever had contact with was Russian folk tales and fairy stories in some of the books I read as a child.
When it came to actually apply to university, I was a bit overwhelmed. Here you can apply to up to six universities... but there are dozens! When I looked at all the unis that offered French and Spanish, there were just so many.
Then I looked at French and Russian, and that narrowed it down such a lot. Suddenly the whole thing seemed so much less intimidating. And Russian sounded interesting, and I figured I already spoke a Germanic language and had a good grasp of a Romance language, so a Slavic language seemed like a good next step.
I did both French and Russian during my first year - funnily enough I didn't do so well in Russian, I actually had to retake the exams for one of my modules. But the French department was huge and impersonal and I felt like I wasn't going to get any better at French, whereas the Russian department was small. all the professors were fun (and a little crazy), and I thought since I was learning it from scratch, I might have a chance to learn it right and not end up getting stuck further down the line like I had with French.
So I dropped French and the rest is history! ;D
As far as I know, I don't even have any Russian (or even Slavic) ancestry or relatives or anything, I really don't have any of the usual reasons people decide to learn a language perceived as 'different' or 'hard', it just kind of happened that way, and I'm glad it did!
Florida, USA. I speak both English and Portuguese. I am learning Turkish because I'm just interested in the language, country and also a Turkish friend of mine is helping me out. I am also doing the Norwegian course because I want to learn it for fun. I am also learning German but not here on Duolingo. I want to achieve fluency in German and Turkish. Of course, I'll try with Norwegian but that is not my first priority.