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Balto-Slavonic Profile

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Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5701 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 9 of 35
12 April 2011 at 12:28am | IP Logged 
Köszönöm maxval. I've incorporated your comments into the profile.

Mooby, thank you and you're welcome. I did study some Lithuanian a while ago but I've forgotten almost all of it. Still I'll see if I can put something together with Baltic. I'm now not quite sure how I would incorporate Baltic here since regardless of the high likelihood that Baltic and Slavonic languages descended from a common Proto-Balto-Slavonic language, the similarities between languages belonging to the two subgroups (i.e. Baltic and Slavonic) aren't highly obvious or that meaningful to anyone other than linguists or die-hard language-learners. On the other hand I'm not sure if it's that easy to create a profile just for Baltic since it'd only consider two languages and may give the impression that learning a Baltic language yields an inordinately low amount of benefit for learning a Slavonic language afterwards. A bigger problem is that few members on this forum are fluent or have studied both Latvian and Lithuanian (although I've noticed about half a dozen new or active forum-members who are fluent in Latvian and Russian per their profiles), and so getting useful commentary for Baltic only could be quite difficult. I'll have to think about this some more since it seems trickier than I had expected.

What may be a more feasible solution is the creation of separate profiles for Latvian and Lithuanian instead of one covering Baltic. The profiles for each language could easily fit a section on intelligibility with other language. I've toyed with creating one for Lithuanian but I never got deep enough into it to be able to create something useful. Unfortunately Linas who was the only Lithuanian member who posted much on this forum has been deactivated some time ago after not having posted here since 2006.
3 persons have voted this message useful



ruskivyetr
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4026 days ago

769 posts - 962 votes 
Speaks: English*, German
Studies: Spanish, Russian, Polish, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 10 of 35
12 April 2011 at 3:16am | IP Logged 
Studying Polish with previous knowledge in Russian:

I began with Russian, and I really delved into it by learning most of the cases and many prepositions in
about a month. I continued to build on my vocabulary and speaking ability with much enthusiasm, until my
gusto slowly decrescendo'd into a passive learning that I am now trying to work up to the lion it was before.

However, before I burned-out, I reached at least a lower B1 level in Russian. I no longer have that "B1"
proficiency in production, but can understand spoken and most written Russian with B1 proficiency. I
decided to begin with Polish for a variety of reasons. It is spoken by much of my extended family, and I have
many relatives still in Poland. Including family, about every other friend I have is Polish, and I often find
myself in Polish speaking situations. When I began Polish, I already had an idea of how similar it is to
Russian, but I was confused when I saw more similarities than expected.

When learning Polish from a Russian base, you have a lot already covered regarding pronouns and
possessive adjectives. In addition, there are also similarities with case formation, and strikingly similar
features regarding case usage (in my opinion they are practically identical, but I'm going to leave that to
someone more qualified to say so :). A lot of prepositions are similar, as are their meanings/usages,
although one does see variation in that regard.

With regards to pronunciation, I don't really know how much my Russian "helped". I think it was actually
somewhat of a detriment, seeing as how Russian has very reduced vowels, whereas Polish does not. Polish
was actually easier in regards to orthography, and it was fun seeing the Latin alphabet version of a word that
is practically the same between the two...which brings me to my next point:

Vocabulary!
Polish and Russian obviously share a lot of vocabulary, and in my opinion it's quite a lot seeing as how
Russian is Eastern Slavic and Polish is Western. There are some false friends (i.e. words that are identical but
mean completely different things in each language). Just don't speak a sloppy mixture of the two and you
shouldn't have a problem :).

Well that's my two cents. I hope that someone finds this information useful in making a decision between the
two languages, or if they want to learn Polish with a Russian base :). Feel free to PM me if you have any
questions!

Ruskivyetr

Edit: I just wanted to add that it is also possible to have "conversations" with other Slavic language speakers
if you know a little of a few Slavic languages. For example, I can have conversations with my Czech friend (I
have at one point dabbled in Czech) and my Polish friends by infusing Polish/Russian (into the Czech) or
Czech/Russian (into the Polish). It provides for some confusion, and of course you will revert to using much
of your strongest language (mine being Russian), however it's still a lot of fun and we still manage to get our
points across. Granted Polish and Czech are closely related, so it may not work with "further" languages like
Bulgarian, Croatian, or Slovenian.

Edited by ruskivyetr on 12 April 2011 at 3:22am

5 persons have voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5701 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 11 of 35
12 April 2011 at 3:32am | IP Logged 
Dzięki ruskivyetr. Tak trzymaj!
1 person has voted this message useful



maxval
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Bulgaria
maxval.co.nr
Joined 3618 days ago

852 posts - 1577 votes 
Speaks: Hungarian*, Bulgarian, English, Spanish, Russian
Studies: Latin, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 12 of 35
12 April 2011 at 1:41pm | IP Logged 
I think its is necessary to tell something about the less known Slavonic languages too, considered by some people as dialects of major Slavonic languages, but by others as separate Slavonic languages.


RUTHENIAN

Mostly considered as a version of Ukrainian, but there are about 150 thousand native speakers who consider it as a separate language. In Serbia, Hungary and Slovakia it is recognized as a separate minority language different from Ukrainian.


KASHUBIAN

There are half million Kashubians in Poland, almost all consider themselves as a subgroup of Poles. 90 % of the Kashubians consider Kashubian as a dialect of Polish, 10 % consider it as a separate Slavonic language. All Kashubians are blingual: Kashubian and Polish.


SILESIAN

Almost the same situation as with Kashubian. Most Silesians consider themselves as a subgroups of Poles or Czechs, and their language as a dialect of Polish. There are 200 thousands Silesians considering themselves as a separate ethnic group and 60 thousands who consider Silesian as a separate Slavonic language. All Silesians are blingual: Silesian and Polish.


SORBIANS

Sorbians are a Slavonic minority in the Eastern part of Germany. Sorbians are one people, but with two separate languages: High Sorbian and Low Sorbian. High Sorbian is closer to Czech, while Low Sorbian is closer to Polish. All Sorbians are bilingual: Germans and High or Low Sorbian.


Later I will write about Southern Slavs too.

Edited by maxval on 12 April 2011 at 3:37pm

4 persons have voted this message useful



maxval
Pentaglot
Senior Member
Bulgaria
maxval.co.nr
Joined 3618 days ago

852 posts - 1577 votes 
Speaks: Hungarian*, Bulgarian, English, Spanish, Russian
Studies: Latin, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 13 of 35
12 April 2011 at 5:45pm | IP Logged 
In the case of the Southern Slavonic languages there is a discussion whether the BCMS language is 1 or 4 languages. The same discussion exists in the case of Bulgarian-Macedonian.

These discussions are well known. But there are also less know Southern Slavonic languages/dialects.

The Bunjevac and the Šokac dialect/language. Considered by some people as a dialects of Serbian or Croatian, by others as separate languages. Native speakers of Šokac tend to declare themselves as a subgroup of Croats speaking a Croat dialect, some consider the language as different from Croat. In the case of the Bunjevac, many native speakers identify themselves as a separate ethnic group, different from Croats and Serbs. The language is mostly identified as a Croat dialect, but there also speakers who consider it a separate Southern Slavonic language.

The same happens with the Vend dialect of Slovenian. While native speakers consider themselves as a subgroup of Slovenes, there are people who consider the Vend language as a separate language.

The Torlaks. The language are considered as a dialect of Serbian or Bulgarian/Macedonian. Native speakers tend to identify themselves as Serbian or Bulgarian/Macedonian, while Torlak speakers with Islam religious affiliation (and specially the Gorani in Kosovo) tend to consider themselves as a separate Torlak (Gorani) ethnicity with their own Gorani language.

Pomaks. Originally Pomaks are Bulgarian native speakers with Islam religious affiliation. Ethnic identy is unclear, most of them consider themselves as "Muslims" with no other ethnic designation. Part of them are with Bulgarian (in Bulgaria) or Macedonian (in Macedonia) self-identity. Others considers themselves as simply "Muslims", specially in Northern Greece. There is also a part that consider itself Slavic-speaking Turks or even Arabs. The language is considered by most of them as Bulgarian/Macedonian, while in Greece many consider it as a separate Pomak language.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Dragomanno
Triglot
Groupie
Zimbabwe
Joined 3548 days ago

80 posts - 98 votes 
Speaks: Italian*, EnglishC2, GermanB2
Studies: Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Latin, Lithuanian, Albanian, Ancient Greek

 
 Message 14 of 35
12 April 2011 at 6:05pm | IP Logged 
Russian is definitively the first slavonic language you have to take on if you are interested in the post-Soviet space. If you are rather focused on the Balkans (as I am), Serbo-Croatian turns out to be more useful

Chung wrote:
I'm not sure if it's that easy to create a profile just for Baltic since it'd only consider two languages and may give the impression that learning a Baltic language yields an inordinately low amount of benefit for learning a Slavonic language afterwards. A bigger problem is that few members on this forum are fluent or have studied both Latvian and Lithuanian (although I've noticed about half a dozen new or active forum-members who are fluent in Latvian and Russian per their profiles), and so getting useful commentary for Baltic only could be quite difficult. I'll have to think about this some more since it seems trickier than I had expected.

What may be a more feasible solution is the creation of separate profiles for Latvian and Lithuanian instead of one covering Baltic. The profiles for each language could easily fit a section on intelligibility with other language.


Chung, I would definitively support you if you are up to open a profile for Baltic languages. It seems they are quite underrated in this forum, and the last posts or discussions concerning Baltic seem to be quite old. But, as you noticed, there are some scattered Baltic speakers/students, so to gather them would be quite interesting.

Edited by Dragomanno on 12 April 2011 at 6:06pm

1 person has voted this message useful



Chung
Diglot
Senior Member
Joined 5701 days ago

4228 posts - 8257 votes 
20 sounds
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: Polish, Slovak, Uzbek, Turkish, Korean, Finnish

 
 Message 15 of 35
12 April 2011 at 7:29pm | IP Logged 
Dragomanno wrote:
Russian is definitively the first slavonic language you have to take on if you are interested in the post-Soviet space. If you are rather focused on the Balkans (as I am), Serbo-Croatian turns out to be more useful

Chung wrote:
I'm not sure if it's that easy to create a profile just for Baltic since it'd only consider two languages and may give the impression that learning a Baltic language yields an inordinately low amount of benefit for learning a Slavonic language afterwards. A bigger problem is that few members on this forum are fluent or have studied both Latvian and Lithuanian (although I've noticed about half a dozen new or active forum-members who are fluent in Latvian and Russian per their profiles), and so getting useful commentary for Baltic only could be quite difficult. I'll have to think about this some more since it seems trickier than I had expected.

What may be a more feasible solution is the creation of separate profiles for Latvian and Lithuanian instead of one covering Baltic. The profiles for each language could easily fit a section on intelligibility with other language.


Chung, I would definitively support you if you are up to open a profile for Baltic languages. It seems they are quite underrated in this forum, and the last posts or discussions concerning Baltic seem to be quite old. But, as you noticed, there are some scattered Baltic speakers/students, so to gather them would be quite interesting.


As I had suggested earlier, we could include Baltic (indirectly or not) in a few ways but each one has certain flaws, and I'm still thinking about the best way to work them in. I reiterate the possibilities here.

i) We could expand this existing Slavonic profile to Balto-Slavonic in accordance with most classifications of Indo-European which note that Baltic and Slavonic languages descend from the reconstructed Proto-Balto-Slavonic and ultimately from Proto-Indo-European. The attraction of this approach is that we can probably get some useful comments from members like you, aru-aru, arturs or Miegamice who are fluent in or studying at least one language from each of Baltic and Slavonic. I would be especially curious about any insight you have on how your knowledge of Serbo-Croatian may help with understanding some concepts in Lithuanian (or vice-versa).On the other hand, my hesitation with this approach lies in that many of the similarities shared by Baltic and Slavonic languages are not obvious to most learners, and it often helps to have at least a basic understanding of historical linguistics for these similarities to be meaningful or useful when learning.*

ii) We could create a short profile just for Baltic on the model of the Finno-Ugric and Slavonic profiles. However this profile would include just two languages (there's little point in including Old Prussian because it's nothing like other dead languages such as Latin or Sanskrit which do have plenty of authentic material and courses). As I pointed out earlier a bigger problem is that I counted only 5 members on HTLAL who are fluent and/or studying both Latvian and Lithuanian. Of these 5 only 1 has logged in this year (kristiana who has not posted) with the rest having last logged in last year (e.g. Kuunhalme) if not further back (e.g. Linas). The most interesting bit for a learner in a Baltic-only profile would be how knowing one Baltic language could help in learning the other rather than a simple list comparing various features in Latvian and Lithuanian. With some effort and research in suitable articles/reference manuals, I could create part of this profile but would strongly prefer on there being input from people who are or have studied both languages since I currently would have nothing to add beyond a general sketch of each language in isolation. I think that most readers want to know the experiences of people studying these languages rather than a general sketch.

iii) We could create separate profiles for Latvian and Lithuanian, and I see that some people in Collaborative Writing are interested in these. Yet so far no one has stepped up to put anything down. In any case separate profiles for these languages could include a section on how knowing one Baltic language could help with learning or deciphering the other, although again this is dependent on getting enough input from people who are knowledgeable about both languages, which as I noted in i) comprises very few members, most of whom aren't very active or inactive.

*However I note that I've set a precedent by designing the Finno-Ugric profile where Hungarian is highly divergent from Estonian, Finnish and Lappic. To be honest the similarities between Hungarian with those other languages are often difficult to see or use when learning unless you're willing to delve into some basic topics in comparative linguistics.

---

So there you have it. I certainly like the enthusiasm for a Baltic profile but it's a trickier thing to pull off for the reasons that I've gone through above. We need a bit more time to think about it and/or design the approach.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Mooby
Senior Member
Scotland
Joined 4650 days ago

707 posts - 1219 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 16 of 35
12 April 2011 at 9:11pm | IP Logged 
I'd vote for option 2, that is, a separate profile for Baltic languages.
Admittedly, it would be short but I think there's enough distinction to
separate them from the Slavic languages.
By profiling Latvian and Lithuanian together (rather than option 3), we can
get a reasonable comparison between them and this would help the learner pick
one. I agree that other input from experienced learners would be really valuable,
and something we may just have to wait for.
Thanks for your efforts!


1 person has voted this message useful



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