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Ranking the "Medium Hard" Languages

  Tags: Difficulty
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
62 messages over 8 pages: 1 2 3 4 57 8 Next >>
Stolan
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2221 days ago

274 posts - 368 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Thai, Lowland Scots
Studies: Arabic (classical), Cantonese

 
 Message 41 of 62
12 January 2014 at 12:56pm | IP Logged 
doubleUelle wrote:

Holy f*ck, am I ever glad I never had to study Russian grammar!


You can make anything sound complicated by listing each thing out and out. I hear Russian verbs are very
hard, I don't know why though, is there something there that separates it from something like Portuguese? In fact, I
keep on reading on this forum and by guys such as McWhorter how awfully hard Russian is and how complex and
frustrating it is, how in awe they are, how everything about it is one of the hardest in the world and unlearnable
(McWhorter mostly), what a bear it is. But Polish has even more declensions and conjugations. All this talk of verbs
of motion and aspect, and cases, have they considered that these are just unfamiliar features and the alternatives
(word order, aspect auxiliaries, particle verbs) are not a cake walk either? Has anyone considered that eastern
European speakers may find Western languages frustrating too?

Edited by Stolan on 12 January 2014 at 1:03pm

8 persons have voted this message useful



Medulin
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Croatia
Joined 2857 days ago

1199 posts - 2192 votes 
Speaks: Croatian*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Norwegian, Hindi, Nepali

 
 Message 42 of 62
12 January 2014 at 4:33pm | IP Logged 
Stolan wrote:

Has anyone considered that eastern
European speakers may find Western languages frustrating too?

Frustrating things in English:
1. articles
2. going to vs will :)
3. spelling
4. idiomatic usage

Edited by Medulin on 12 January 2014 at 4:34pm

7 persons have voted this message useful



tarvos
Super Polyglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
China
likeapolyglot.wordpr
Joined 2896 days ago

5310 posts - 9398 votes 
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Swedish, French, Russian, German, Italian, Norwegian, Mandarin, Romanian, Afrikaans
Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 43 of 62
12 January 2014 at 5:18pm | IP Logged 
Stolan wrote:
Has anyone considered that eastern
European speakers may find Western languages frustrating too?


Empathy is hard when you've never been in that situation.

But frustration is a state of mind.
2 persons have voted this message useful



doubleUelle
Bilingual Tetraglot
Groupie
United States
Joined 2224 days ago

67 posts - 95 votes 
Speaks: English*, Russian*, French, Japanese
Studies: Spanish, Thai

 
 Message 44 of 62
12 January 2014 at 5:28pm | IP Logged 
Stolan wrote:
doubleUelle wrote:

Holy f*ck, am I ever glad I never had to study Russian grammar!


You can make anything sound complicated by listing each thing out and out. I hear
Russian verbs are very
hard, I don't know why though, is there something there that separates it from
something like Portuguese? In fact, I
keep on reading on this forum and by guys such as McWhorter how awfully hard Russian is
and how complex and
frustrating it is, how in awe they are, how everything about it is one of the hardest
in the world and unlearnable
(McWhorter mostly), what a bear it is. But Polish has even more declensions and
conjugations. All this talk of verbs
of motion and aspect, and cases, have they considered that these are just unfamiliar
features and the alternatives
(word order, aspect auxiliaries, particle verbs) are not a cake walk either? Has anyone
considered that eastern
European speakers may find Western languages frustrating too?


Yes, I have considered that. I've thought for a long time that the hardest language to
learn is the one that's most different from what you're used to (also, what has the
least resources and what you're least interested in).

I found Spanish very easy because I was already fluent in French when I started
learning it. But I know a Japanese guy who tried to learn Spanish, and he found it
monstrously difficult. I can understand why.

No clue who McWhorter is, but it sounds like he needs a new hobby.
1 person has voted this message useful



Solfrid Cristin
Heptaglot
Winner TAC 2011 & 2012
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 3523 days ago

4143 posts - 8862 votes 
Speaks: Norwegian*, Spanish, Swedish, French, English, German, Italian
Studies: Russian

 
 Message 45 of 62
12 January 2014 at 8:24pm | IP Logged 
Марк wrote:
Chung wrote:



- Spelling
This is related to above. Russian spelling falls between the stools when it comes to
being morphological and phonemic. One example is хорошо "good, well", unstressed 'o' is
pronounced a lot like 'a' and in this instance it sounds more like 'harasho' rather than
'horosho'. Turkish spelling is very phonemic, as you probably know.

hərɐ'sho probably. The first vowel is by no means an [a].


Maybe not to a native Russian, but it definitely sounds like "harasho" to me - (with the h representing the
Spanish j.
1 person has voted this message useful



Марк
Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 3245 days ago

2096 posts - 2972 votes 
Speaks: Russian*

 
 Message 46 of 62
12 January 2014 at 8:56pm | IP Logged 
Spanish j (in Spanish spoken in Spain) is an uvular sound [χ], while Russian х is a velar
sound [x]. But Russian definitely has two stages of reduction. Unstressed o and a at the
beginning of a word or in the prestressed syllable are pronounced as a vowel close to the
stressed a, anywhere else they are pronounced as shwa. There is no doubt.
2 persons have voted this message useful



vonPeterhof
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Russian FederationRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 2961 days ago

715 posts - 1527 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, EnglishC2, Japanese, German
Studies: Kazakh, Korean, Norwegian, Turkish

 
 Message 47 of 62
12 January 2014 at 9:28pm | IP Logged 
Solfrid Cristin wrote:
Марк wrote:
Chung wrote:



- Spelling
This is related to above. Russian spelling falls between the stools when it comes to
being morphological and phonemic. One example is хорошо "good, well", unstressed 'o' is
pronounced a lot like 'a' and in this instance it sounds more like 'harasho' rather than
'horosho'. Turkish spelling is very phonemic, as you probably know.

hərɐ'sho probably. The first vowel is by no means an [a].


Maybe not to a native Russian, but it definitely sounds like "harasho" to me - (with the h representing the
Spanish j.
From my experience, that's also how it sounds to most native speakers as well. Everyone is aware of vowel reduction, but it seems like only those with some training in phonetics are aware of the degrees of reduction. I had some trouble convincing my cousin that all three o's in молоко were pronounced differently in standard Russian (and in the end I suspect he just found it easier to pretend to agree with me, while still not hearing any difference between the first two o's). And indeed, phonemically o and a do merge together in unstressed positions, into a phoneme that is by convention designated as /a/. It's just that the phoneme has a number of possible realizations depending on its position in the word.
6 persons have voted this message useful



Марк
Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 3245 days ago

2096 posts - 2972 votes 
Speaks: Russian*

 
 Message 48 of 62
12 January 2014 at 9:33pm | IP Logged 
vonPeterhof wrote:
From my experience, that's also how it sounds to most native
speakers as well. Everyone is aware of vowel reduction, but it seems like only those
with some training in phonetics are aware of the degrees of reduction. I had some
trouble convincing my cousin that all three o's in молоко were pronounced differently
in standard Russian (and in the end I suspect he just found it easier to pretend to
agree with me, while still not hearing any difference between the first two o's). And
indeed, phonemically o and a do merge together in unstressed positions, into a
phoneme that is by convention designated as /a/. It's just that the phoneme has a
number of possible realizations depending on its position in the word.

Most native speakers know nothing about phonetics and do not think of it. They all have
орфография головного мозга. Many people believe for example that final consonants
aren't devoiced. I remember how I was surprized when I found out the word шоколадка
wasn't spelt шеколодка or шиколодка.
And when native speakers hear харашо, they say it's a foreign accent.

Edited by Марк on 12 January 2014 at 9:48pm



1 person has voted this message useful



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