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Thread: Russians and English?

  1. #1
    Hanna
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    Russians and English?

    1) Is English as hard to learn for Russians as Russian is for speakers of English and other West European languages?
    2) Is it necessary now to speak good English in order to have a successful professional career in Russia?

    (If so, the achievements of those who are fluent are truly outstanding!)

  2. #2
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    It is difficult to speculate on this because one hardly can compare. But here is what I feel like:

    There is a formula for English "easy to learn but hard to master". This implies different levels of the language. There is a kind of international basic English which is used by the international society as well as English for native speakers. I did read much special literature in English and found that (naturally) texts written by non-native speakers of English is much more easy to understand. Their English is less rich but in some sense more exact than native English. Next step: I found that writting in English complicated special texts for me often easier then in Russian. In Russian usually I am lost in long sentences and stylistic complications. English is easier.

    So I feel like in contemporary Russian there is (almost) no that basic level "easy to learn". With a very simplified Russian you would hardly be understood by the native speakers.

    Maybe I am wrong.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    1) Is English as hard to learn for Russians as Russian is for speakers of English and other West European languages?
    2) Is it necessary now to speak good English in order to have a successful professional career in Russia?

    (If so, the achievements of those who are fluent are truly outstanding!)
    1) I think that English is easier for the Russians than vice versa.
    2) No, from the point I'm standing in, knowing a foreign language is a preferrable but not mandatory condition for a successful career. Still it depends on your trade. Some professions require it, some not. My present work for example (finance and accounting) doesn't require it at all. I could do well without any foreign language at all. My moontime job as a translator definetely requires at least some knowledge of a foreign language ))).
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    My [s:2a4r4kvw]moontime[/s:2a4r4kvw] moonlighting job as a translator [s:2a4r4kvw]definetely[/s:2a4r4kvw] definitely requires at least some knowledge of a foreign language ))).
    Sheepishly corrected by the only person on this forum who does not know more than one language.
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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  5. #5
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Thanks, rockzmom.

    'definitely' is a stubborn word for me for some reason. Everytime I type it that 'e' issue pops up.
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    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    I judge by how many Russians post in English: a lot
    how many non-Russians post in Russian: hardly any

    I think that settles the issue.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  7. #7
    Завсегдатай sperk's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo

    So I feel like in contemporary Russian there is (almost) no that basic level "easy to learn". With a very simplified Russian you would hardly be understood by the native speakers.

    Maybe I am wrong.
    I think that's a very good point. It would be hard for a Russian to understand how frustrating it is to construct even the simplest of sentences, as there seem to be a myriad of possible mistakes.
    For example, take the sentence "I'm going to the store." Even in a rudimentary form like "I go store" you're going to be understood in English. But in Russian you have to deal with which verb (ехать или идтй) then you have to decide whether you want the imperfect or perfect form, then you have to conjugate it (which is difficult since both are irregular). That doesn't even mention where the stress would be. Then you have to say "to the store" and decide which preposition and the proper declension, if any. BTW, I'm going to say it like this "Я поеду в магазин," which, sadly to say, after 4 yrs of study, I'm not sure is right. You can't say something like Я идтй магазин, because no one's going to understand what you're saying.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  8. #8
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo

    So I feel like in contemporary Russian there is (almost) no that basic level "easy to learn". With a very simplified Russian you would hardly be understood by the native speakers.

    Maybe I am wrong.
    I think that's a very good point. It would be hard for a Russian to understand how frustrating it is to construct even the simplest of sentences, as there seem to be a myriad of possible mistakes.
    For example, take the sentence "I'm going to the store." Even in a rudimentary form like "I go store" you're going to be understood in English. But in Russian you have to deal with which verb (ехать или идтй) then you have to decide whether you want the imperfect or perfect form, then you have to conjugate it (which is difficult since both are irregular). That doesn't even mention where the stress would be. Then you have to say "to the store" and decide which preposition and the proper declension, if any. BTW, I'm going to say it like this "Я поеду в магазин," which, sadly to say, after 4 yrs of study, I'm not sure is right. You can't say something like Я идтй магазин, because no one's going to understand what you're saying.
    Я поеду в магазин is correct (if you're going by car or by other transportation means). If you walk (an if you mean generally going) you can say Я пойду (or Я пошел - use perfect to stress on the finality of your decision to go). All of these variants will be correct.
    And if you simply say Ya idteeh mahgahzeen you will be understood. Just make sure you say mahgahzeen and not magazine. )))
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  9. #9
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    I think that's a very good point. It would be hard for a Russian to understand how frustrating it is to construct even the simplest of sentences, as there seem to be a myriad of possible mistakes.
    For example, take the sentence "I'm going to the store." Even in a rudimentary form like "I go store" you're going to be understood in English. But in Russian you have to deal with which verb (ехать или идти) then you have to decide whether you want the imperfect or perfect form, then you have to conjugate it (which is difficult since both are irregular). That doesn't even mention where the stress would be. Then you have to say "to the store" and decide which preposition and the proper declension, if any. BTW, I'm going to say it like this "Я поеду в магазин," which, sadly to say, after 4 yrs of study, I'm not sure is right. You can't say something like Я идти магазин, because no one's going to understand what you're saying.
    Well, if you say "я идти магазин", you could be understood.

    I actually disagree with Ramil. No, "я поеду в магазин" is not correct if you are trying to say "I'm going to the store". It should be "я иду (or еду) в магазин". Иду and еду are the present tense, but поеду is future.
    Also note the spelling of the verb идти.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  10. #10
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Quote Originally Posted by sperk
    I think that's a very good point. It would be hard for a Russian to understand how frustrating it is to construct even the simplest of sentences, as there seem to be a myriad of possible mistakes.
    For example, take the sentence "I'm going to the store." Even in a rudimentary form like "I go store" you're going to be understood in English. But in Russian you have to deal with which verb (ехать или идти) then you have to decide whether you want the imperfect or perfect form, then you have to conjugate it (which is difficult since both are irregular). That doesn't even mention where the stress would be. Then you have to say "to the store" and decide which preposition and the proper declension, if any. BTW, I'm going to say it like this "Я поеду в магазин," which, sadly to say, after 4 yrs of study, I'm not sure is right. You can't say something like Я идти магазин, because no one's going to understand what you're saying.
    Well, if you say "я идти магазин", you could be understood.

    I actually disagree with Ramil. No, "я поеду в магазин" is not correct if you are trying to say "I'm going to the store". It should be "я иду (or еду) в магазин". Иду and еду are the present tense, but поеду is future.
    Also note the spelling of the verb идти.
    Оля, I'm going to the store кроме выражения текущего и непосредственного движения по направлению к магазину также может указывать на намерение совершить это действие. В этих случаях I'm going to do smth означает "я собираюсь сделать что-либо" или "я сделаю что-либо в ближайшее время"
    Если магазин далеко, и чтобы туда добраться надо ехать на чём-либо, то фраза "я поеду в магазин" вполне соответствует английскому "I'm going to the store".
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  11. #11
    Hanna
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    Re: Russians and English?

    I feel like such a diva now because I've only been studying for a couple of months and I knew about the different forms of "go" and how to say the sentence about going to the store.

    And I am quite rubbish with languages really, a slow learner!

    The reason I know it is because it is explained in a course that I've been listening to on my iPod called "Michel Thomas' Advanced Russian' (Recommended!)

    The "teacher" in the course is VERY good and I am beginning to realise that her course pinpointed many of the points that can be tricky.

    ANYWAY ----- Interesting to hear about the situation with English in Russia, thanks for the insight!

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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Оля, I'm going to the store кроме выражения текущего и непосредственного движения по направлению к магазину также может указывать на намерение совершить это действие.
    Это я знаю. Но мне кажется, это не тот случай.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  13. #13
    Почтенный гражданин
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    В этих случаях I'm going to do smth означает "я собираюсь сделать что-либо" или "я сделаю что-либо в ближайшее время"
    По-моему, это не к делу, потому что sperk сказал "I'm going to the store" а не "I'm going to go shopping". В том-то и дело, что в английском языке, как и в русском, глагол в настоящем времени может означать действие, которое произойдёт в будущем времени. Например: Что ты делаешь сегодня вечером? What are you doing tonight?
    I'm going to the store doesn't mean I'm on my way towards the store, but rather Now I'm going to go to the store.

  14. #14
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zubr
    I'm going to the store doesn't mean I'm on my way towards the store, but rather Now I'm going to go to the store.
    Yes, that's what I was trying to say to Olya. She wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Это я знаю. Но мне кажется, это не тот случай.
    Мне кажется случай именно тот. Эту фразу можно перевести: "Я собираюсь в магазин", "Я иду (еду) в магазин".

    По-русски я могу сказать: "Я иду в магазин" (имея ввиду конкретный магазин за углом), обозначая намерение пойти в этот магазин (всё ещё находясь дома)
    'I'm going to the store' could also indicate the intention to go to the store.

    Here, for example:

    Stay and starve if you want, but I'm going to the store to get some food.
    Оставайся голодным, если хочешь, а я иду в магазин за продуктами. (иду и пойду здесь взаимозаменяемы).
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  15. #15
    Старший оракул
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    Re: Russians and English?

    I used to think that the most difficult aspect of Russian is system of cases, espesially in combination with system of genders. After reading this forum for quite a while now, I don't think that anymore. Now I think it's the aspect of verbs.

    What do native speakers of English think about English in that respect? What did you think about difficulties of English before and after being exposed to English writing of Russians?

  16. #16
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Re: Russians and English?

    The concept of articles was pure hell for me. I'm not even sure that I've grasped it fully even now, after so many years of studying.
    The rest was relatively easy.
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Ну хорошо. Пусть даже это "тот случай". Но всё равно "я иду/собираюсь в магазин" это не совсем то же, что и "я поеду в магазин". "Я поеду в магазин" я бы перевела именно как "I will go to the store".

    I find the concept of articles quite easy :P
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Ну хорошо. Пусть даже это "тот случай". Но всё равно "я иду/собираюсь в магазин" это не совсем то же, что и "я поеду в магазин". "Я поеду в магазин" я бы перевела именно как "I will go to the store".

    I find the concept of articles quite easy :P
    Уже поздно, я еду домой. (поеду домой)
    It's late already, I'm going home.

    В доме нет еды - я еду в магазин! (поеду в магазин)
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  19. #19
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Quote Originally Posted by E-learner
    I used to think that the most difficult aspect of Russian is system of cases, espesially in combination with system of genders. After reading this forum for quite a while now, I don't think that anymore. Now I think it's the aspect of verbs.

    What do native speakers of English think about English in that respect? What did you think about difficulties of English before and after being exposed to English writing of Russians?
    to me the most difficult thing about English is spelling, mainly because the way a word sounds and the way it is spelled vary widely.
    PS: I agree with you about the aspect of verbs being the most difficult thing about Russian; not so much the usage but the instantaneous identification of whether something is imp or perf and also the conjugations.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

  20. #20
    Hanna
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    Re: Russians and English?

    Well I learnt English as a foreign language and it sure wasn't easy for me.

    However at least my language is more similar to English than Russian...
    Plus I had the "advantage" of exposure to un-dubbed TV while growing up. So I really admire those Russians who speak good English - it's must have been even harder for you guys than it was for me.

    IMHO the European Union ought to drop English as the common language and use Esperanto instead. I don't know it, but apparently it can be learnt to a high standard in under 1/4 of the time that it takes to learn good English. Plus it's fairer to everyone instead of constantly putting English speakers at an advantage.

    Regular Europeans would then have more time available to focus on other languages, like Russian, English (if they really want it... !) Chinese or anything else they fancy.

    As it is, people get so sick of the pressure to learn English that they are put off language learning (of any language) for a long time... I've only just recovered from this condition myself.

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