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Thread: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

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    Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    First let me say I am not advanced in either Latin or Russian. I have not studied any Romance languages, and I have not studied any other Slavic languages other than Russian. Now with that said is it correct of me to say Slavic languages are closer to Latin in grammar than the Romance languages are?? I've heard Spanish has very difficult verb conjugations that tell who is speaking and who they are speaking to, and as far as I know Latin does not have this. Other Romance languages show their cases with their articles. Latin doesn't even have any articles, just like Slavic languages. Latin shows its cases, gender, number, etc. with the endings of its nouns, just like Slavic languages. As a result, Latin has practically free word order, just like Slavic languages. So again, is it correct for me to say that Slavic languages are closer to Latin in grammar than the Romance languages are? Thanks!

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    I am not expert in Latin.

    As far as I know all Indoeuropean (AKA Arian) languages like Slavic (including Russian), Germanic (including English) and Romance (including Latin) have common protolanguage, which was more complicated in grammar than any modern language of this group. All languages was simplified step by step as a general trend so Latin is more simple than protolanguage and modern Romance languages are more simple than Latin. Russian and English are from other branches of the same tree but with the same simplifying process. Now the most close to the protolanguage modern language is assumed to be Lithuanian. I do not know what about Russian and English in comparison to Latin. There is no way to calculate similarity of grammar in one number AFAIK.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by whipback
    is it correct of me to say Slavic languages are closer to Latin in grammar than the Romance languages are??
    Of course not.
    Latin is very close to Italian, French, Spanish, and other Roman languages.

    I've heard Spanish has very difficult verb conjugations that tell who is speaking and who they are speaking to, and as far as I know Latin does not have this.
    You are wrong. Latin verb conjugations and tense system is very very tricky.

    Latin doesn't even have any articles, just like Slavic languages. Latin shows its cases, gender, number, etc. with the endings of its nouns, just like Slavic languages. As a result, Latin has practically free word order, just like Slavic languages.
    Yes, that's what makes Latin somehow close to Russian.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    I never said Latin verb conjugations aren't tricky(which in my opinion, they aren't), but that they don't have the same way of conjugating as Spanish to show who is speaking and who is being spoken to. Although I am not positive that is how Spanish is conjugated, I have just heard that. You can't just say "of course not. Latin is very close to those languages" because that is not the point of this thread. If you feel that Slavic languages aren't closer to Latin in grammar than the Romance languages then you should explain how the romance languages are closer to Latin than the Slavic languages.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by whipback
    you should explain how the romance languages are closer to Latin than the Slavic languages.
    In grammar (and vocabulary; well, that's not your question, but anyway). First of all, in verbs, their conjugation and tense system. I think Latin in this aspect is even harder because it has special forms for the passive voice (and it's much more complicated than in modern Italian). Then again, I'm not expert in Spanish, but as far as I know, the verb conjugation and tense system in modern Italian, French, and Spanish are quite close, if not almost identical.

    way of conjugating as Spanish to show who is speaking and who is being spoken to
    Could you please provide an example of this? Because I didn't understand what it is about.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by whipback
    So again, is it correct for me to say that Slavic languages are closer to Latin in grammar than the Romance languages are? Thanks!
    I think so, simply because of the declension system.
    Кому - нары, кому - Канары.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    I had Latin in school, though I never was very good at it. But when I first saw Russian grammar, what I immediately thought was 'hey, that looks like Diet Latin'.

    Verb conjugation is almost the same. It's just that Russian has lost most of the tenses, but what remains looks much like Latin.

    to carry, I carry, you carry, he carries, we carry, you carry, they carry
    ferre, fero, fers, fert, ferimus, fertis, ferunt
    нести, несу, несёшь, несёт, несём,несёте, несут

    To me these look very similar. A non-root vowel ends the first person singular, a similar one the third person plural, but is absent from the other forms. There is someting 2nd person singulary about using a sibilant (s, ш) a t in third person singular, an m to imply 'we', a tis / te to imply 2nd person plural, etc. Enough evidence to see a common root, if you ask me.

    Of course similar influence can be seen elsewhere:

    French: je porte, tu portes, il porte, nous portons, vous portez, ils portent
    Spanish: yo llevo, tu llevas, el lleva, nosotros llevamos, vosotros llevais, ellos levan
    Italian: io porto, tu porti, lui porta, noi portiamo, voi portate, loro portano

    But if you compare that with English above or German, then you see a clearer difference, so I would say that coming from such languages, Russian definitely looks closer to the Roman languages than to the Germanic ones at least:

    ich trage, du trägst, er trägt, wir tragen, ihr tragt, sie tragen.

    Of course it is true that all Indo-European languages come from a heavily inflected root language. The oldest known member of the family is Sanskrit, which had a whopping 792 distinct forms for each verb according to Frederick Bodmer. We should all be happy that the tendency to simplify on the inflection is in all our languages.

    And Russian has interesting features, too, not found in Latin or other Roman languages, such as marking number in the past tense but not the person, but marking gender.

    Robin
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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    I'm not a specialist in Greek, but doesn't Greek has conjugations too?
    Even though there are many roots having Latin origins in Russian I think Russian is closer to Greek.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Languages aren't classified on similarity of words, but according to similarities in their grammars, since vocabulary borrowing changes much.

    Russian, for example, borrows words easily, starting from "меч" and "князь" and ending with "мерчендайзер" and "бластер".
    Please correct my English

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Could you please provide an example of this? Because I didn't understand what it is about.
    I do not have an example because I have never taken Spanish. This is just what I heard(or maybe I misunderstood?). To my understanding someone told me that Spanish doesn't have cases but verb endings to show who is the subject(s) and who is the object(s). Like I said I am not positive about this because I have never taken Spanish before(and I never plan to).\

    I'm not a specialist in Greek, but doesn't Greek has conjugations too?
    Even though there are many roots having Latin origins in Russian I think Russian is closer to Greek.
    Probably, and although another interesting topic, it isn't the point of this thread.

    Languages aren't classified on similarity of words, but according to similarities in their grammars, since vocabulary borrowing changes much.
    So are you saying the Romance languages are closer in grammar to Latin than the Slavic languages? If yes then how so?

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by whipback
    So are you saying the Romance languages are closer in grammar to Latin than the Slavic languages? If yes then how so?
    No. I was answering a Ramil's message:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil
    Even though there are many roots having Latin origins in Russian I think Russian is closer to Greek.
    Please correct my English

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    I love my language (Swedish)
    ich trage, du trägst, er trägt, wir tragen, ihr tragt, sie tragen.
    ==>Jag bär, du bär, han bär, vi bär, ni bär, de bär...
    Why make this so complicated? As long as you are willing to actually say the pronoun why would it be necessary to have a different bending for each person?

    Anyway: Spanish has the reputation of being the easiest European foreign language to learn because it's relatively easy to pronounce, the words are not very long or hard to remember and the grammar is a lot easier than for example German. This is certainly my personal experience too.

    Whereas Latin is known its grammar and of course for having influenced almost all European languages to some degree. I've noticed that almost everyone who studied it automatically say "but I wasn't very good at it!".

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Latins hasn't influenced the languages much, apart from being an acenstor to the Roman languages (with French having a healthy dose of German influence by way of the Franks). The names for grammatical features are from Latin because the Romans thought about their language, and up until humanistic thought people had some sort of inferiority complex about their languages compared to Latin, which is doubly funny when you realize that the Romans had exactly the same inferiority complex regarding Greek. As a result, the corset of grammatical terminology doesn't really fit the more modern Indo-European languages that well anymore.

    It has also led to such idiotic rules as 'an English sentence should not end in a preposition', which is, to paraphrase a quote generally attributed to Churchill, something up with which we shouldn't put. But such rules don't take, they get forgotten quickly.

    All Indo-Euoprean languages lose inflection, and you are right that pronouns, if used consequently, make conjugation irrelevant. Among the Germanic languages, only Icelandic is more conservative than German. But when you think of it, a pronoun as a separate word before the verb isn't much different from a separate ending after the word. Glue it to the word in writing and conjugation is something which moves from the suffix to the prefix, that's all.

    Not having to use a pronoun because the verb form is clear without it could be considered a feature, too.

    Robin
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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by Johanna
    I've noticed that almost everyone who studied it automatically say "but I wasn't very good at it!".
    I was.

    I've never even had any "B" at it. Always only "A".
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Maybe that was because it is so similar to Russian?

    Robin
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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker
    Maybe that was because it is so similar to Russian?
    He he...
    No, all my classmates thought Latin was a nightmare.

    I think it's because I knew Italian a bit. Aaaand... because the German declension system was familiar to me (my classmates were all only beginning to learn German at that time; they mostly knew English). Yes, I say it's because of the German declension system because when it's about your native language you speak everyday, you don't notice what its grammar is. Many Russian students are horrified by the news that Latin has a case system and they need to learn all those case endings. Like that doesn't exist in their own language!
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Yes, you've got a point there.

    So, I'm interested: how many languages do you speak?

    Robin
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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker
    So, I'm interested: how many languages do you speak?
    My word of honour, only one - Russian.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Ah, and which others do you only write and read then?
    Спасибо за исправления!

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    Re: Slavic Languages Closer in Grammar to Latin??

    Quote Originally Posted by bitpicker
    Ah, and which others do you only write and read then?
    Well, it's a complicated question. When you don't use a language everyday, you forget it. There was time when I chatted in German almost everyday through ICQ, but now I think I forgot much. However, I think I can more or less "fluent" read and write in English, Italian, and German. Without a dictionary, I can deal with simple phrases in Spanish and French; and with a dictionary, I can understand even more difficult texts. Same with Latin.
    I also tried to learn Polish and Norwegian, but I have no time for them, so my knowledge of them is very very basical. However, I think I can understand simple phrase in Norwegian/Swedish since they both are similar to English and German, and in addition I know (if remember) some minimal grammar things of Norwegian. Why Norwegian? I'm just a fan of these three letters: Æ æ, Ø ø, Å å.
    Polish, by the way, or rather its grammar seems very hard to me! (I can understand those who learn Russian!). I think I could read some very simple texts in Polish, but I don't think I'd be able to write anything in it correctly, meaning a right case of a noun or a verb form.
    I could also add that I happened to read and translate teaching(is this a right word?..) texts from Ancient Greek (into Russian, of course) and passed many written grammar tests in it, and did it quite well; but it's true for the past tense only because now I remember almost nothing of the terrible Greek grammar and vocabulary and only recall them as a nightmare today.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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