Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Russian language


I guess I'm already able to write a quick overview about the Russian language to demystify it a bit! Russian language is very easy when compared to rich languages as Portuguese. :-)

Alphabet

People might have a mental barrier to learn Russian due to its different alphabet (Cyrillic alphabet) which sometimes makes me think it was created to confuse everyone since it has letters that look like some of the Latin letters but mirrored, for example: Я, И, З - They don't sound as R, N, E... There are also identical letters to Latin alphabet but with different sound. The letters H,P,Y,C,B,X in Russian sound like N,R,U,S,V,H in the Latin alphabet, respectively. In the beginning it's very hard to read since reader's brain is used to Latin alphabet and it tries to "convert" these letters while reading it.

Handwriting

To make it even more messy, the handwriting in Russian makes the lower-case of the letter Д looks like the Latin letter 'g' and the lower-case for И looks like the Latin letter 'u' while the lower-case for T looks like the Latin letter 'm'. You can check the handwriting in this picture beside.
If one manages to catch up the alphabet, the grammar isn't so hard and the verbs are VERY simplified.

Verbs

They have full conjugation for present tense, meaning: every pronoun has its unique conjugated form for a given verb. However, for the past tense you just need to know if it is singular or plural and if singular we also need to know the gender. They don't have a non-virile form for the plural (In case of women or animals performed the action). So, it's so easy, that when you have the male singular form of the verb, you just need to add 'a' if the pronoun is feminine, or 'o' if the pronoun is neutral. If it's plural you just need to add 'и'. (of course there are some exceptions).

One more annoying thing about the Russian language is the verb "to be". It almost doesn't exist in the present tense. There is only one form (Есть) for all pronouns but it's not used in the present tense anyway. The rule is simple, if there is no verb in the sentence it means that the 'to be' verb is being used implicitly. It sounds so primitive! For example: to say "I am Brazilian", I have to say "Я Бразилец" (I Brazilian). The only thing I can compare it to is to Tarzan introducing himself: "Me Tarzan!"

Summarising my short analysis: Russian language is far from being rich - no offense! - and the pronunciation isn't so different from other Slavonic languages but it's still worth learning because it's widely spoken and is a key language!

Have fun!

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