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Thread: Difficulty of reading in Russian

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    Difficulty of reading in Russian

    I am wondering how difficult it is to read in Russian. The main reason I am studying Russian is to one day be able to read the works of Nabokov and Dosteyevsky. I'm sure it's not as ridiculous as reading Chinese but it still seems more difficult than I expected. Also how difficult to read are Russian newspapers/magazines?

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    As a newcomer to the Russian language I'll say a couple things. First of all, the Russian alphabet looks SCARY! Some of those letters we don't recognize, and others have different sounds than you first think.

    I can say from experience that it takes less than an hour to learn all the letters of the RUssian alphabet. It just takes practice to keep straight in your head that the letter "H" sounds like an "N" in RUssian, and that the "P" sounds like an "R", etc. I thought the easiest letters were the ones that don't look like anything in English.

    Anyway, as with ANY language, learning vocabulary is the most difficult part. You should be able to "read" russian in a couple hours, but you won't understand anything. The other problem with Russian is the same problem with English. Each word has a stress on a certain syllable. As with English, there's no rules to govern which syllable it falls on. So you just have to memorize the words.

    Anyway, that's my schpeel. Have fun!!!
    Платинов

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    Now that you've heard from someone with little to no experience with Russian. Now i'll give you my expert opinion.

    Its not so bad once you get the hang of it. Its harder to read the older stuff because, well obviously some of the language is old and some of the words are outdated. Though, Russian does not change as much as English does. If you try reading something written in london in 1795 you're going to have a lot harder time trying to understand it in English as apposed to reading something in Russian written around the same time... Assuming of course that the spelling changes are included that were added after the revolution.

    Anyways, i guess its kinda hard but what isnt? With practice, these days, anything is possible.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

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    hmm...

    well, for me the biggest problem is word order, because it's so much more flexible in Russian than English. I've read <<Pikovaya Dama>> by Pushkin, and<<Shenel'>> by Gogol' and the biggest problem I always had was the length of sentences, because they tend to go on and on, and then you sort of get lost trying to sort out what they're trying to say!! (AND i would like to apoligize because I do not have the cyrilic characters on the computer. sorry!! ) So I think it just takes practice!!

    ~jessi
    ~angels fell first...~

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    Thanks for the insights.

    Dogboy, how well did you grasp the Russian grammar when you first started reading (novels/newspapers)?

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    Some words of encouragment...

    I've been studying russian for one year now, and I fight it a hell of a lot easier to read russian and understand it, as opposed to trying to write or speak it. Granted, there is more flexibility with the word order, but once you get a feel for how cases work in russian, as well as aspects of verbs, and bolster your vocabulary, it's not so bad.

    I always say this... but start with graded russian readers. Has a comprehensive dictionary in the back, along with stories by pushkin, lermentov, etc... that have been dumbed down for beginners. It really helps with the vocab part, and holds your hand with the grammer. Good stuff.

    tdk

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    Quote Originally Posted by she's on fire
    Thanks for the insights.

    Dogboy, how well did you grasp the Russian grammar when you first started reading (novels/newspapers)?

    Not well at all. When i first started reading it was just to gain vocab... it took me a few good months untill i started understanding all the grammar concepts.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

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    My goal is also to read Dostoevsky in Russian, but take heed, she's on fire, it is a very complicated task. His Russian is not the same as the Russian you learn in school... he uses archaic words and expressions... but one day we will make it!
    I can't wait sitting in a park reading преступление и наказание without a dictionary...
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
    Yo hablo español mejor que tú.
    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

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    And i cant wait to kick your ass for being such a nerd before i run off with my gang of уличные хулиганы and take your wallet with us.
    Вот это да, я так люблю себя. И сегодня я люблю себя, ещё больше чем вчера, а завтра я буду любить себя to ещё больше чем сегодня. Тем что происходит,я вполне доволен!

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    I can run faster than you, хулиганчик Besides, I rarely carry cash on me anyway, learned that from Russia.
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
    Yo hablo español mejor que tú.
    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

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    I came accross an interesting article
    http://lit.lib.ru/p/plotkin_w_j/englangsystem.shtml

    The author describes key differences between Russian and English and explains where these differences came from. I think knowledge of these discrepancies helps to understand foreign language better.
    Единственное, что люди любят давать бесплатно - это советы.

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    ARTICLE?!? It is a book the size of Saratov! Have you really read the whole thing?
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
    Yo hablo español mejor que tú.
    Trusnse kal'rt eturule sikay!!! ))

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    ARTICLE?!? It is a book the size of Saratov! Have you really read the whole thing?
    Nahh, only 44 printed pages.
    Я знаю
    Что делаю
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    Пирогу

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    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    ARTICLE?!? It is a book the size of Saratov! Have you really read the whole thing?
    Well, the first sentence is 'This is a book', right?
    "Everyone is born left-handed. You turn right-handed when you commit your first sin."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chibi
    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    ARTICLE?!? It is a book the size of Saratov! Have you really read the whole thing?
    Well, the first sentence is 'This is a book', right?
    lol. It is.
    Я знаю
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    Last edited by Darobat on Mon Mar 5, 1759 1:19 am; edited 243 times in total

  16. #16
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    Since the name of this thread is "Difficulty of reading in Russian"

    Эта книга - не учебник английского языка. У неё другая задача - показать и объяснить тем, кто его преподает и изучает, основные черты внутреннего устройства этого языка и его самые существенные отличия от русского, чтобы помочь им выработать на этой основе оптимальную стратегию обучения и учёбы и осознанно подобрать подходящую для них методику.

    Good luck reading this monstrocity
    Какая разница, умереть богатым или бедным?

    Какой толк от богатства если ты не счастлив.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogboy182
    Now that you've heard from someone with little to no experience with Russian. Now i'll give you my expert opinion.

    Its not so bad once you get the hang of it. Its harder to read the older stuff because, well obviously some of the language is old and some of the words are outdated. Though, Russian does not change as much as English does. If you try reading something written in london in 1795 you're going to have a lot harder time trying to understand it in English as apposed to reading something in Russian written around the same time... Assuming of course that the spelling changes are included that were added after the revolution.
    I think you are wrong about 1795. You may be right about, say, 1825, although I doubt it. Try this for example (1790), it's adapted to the contemporary script:
    http://az.lib.ru/r/radishew_a_n/text_0010.shtml

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogboy182
    Now that you've heard from someone with little to no experience with Russian. Now i'll give you my expert opinion.

    Its not so bad once you get the hang of it. Its harder to read the older stuff because, well obviously some of the language is old and some of the words are outdated. Though, Russian does not change as much as English does. If you try reading something written in london in 1795 you're going to have a lot harder time trying to understand it in English as apposed to reading something in Russian written around the same time... Assuming of course that the spelling changes are included that were added after the revolution.

    Anyways, i guess its kinda hard but what isnt? With practice, these days, anything is possible.
    Thanks for your expert opinion. As a newcomer myself, I find it helpful to hear these types of things from both experts AND newbies. Anyway, I know I don't know much...but that's why we learn, right?
    Платинов

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    Re: hmm...

    Quote Originally Posted by jessi
    well, for me the biggest problem is word order, because it's so much more flexible in Russian than English. I've read <<Pikovaya Dama>> by Pushkin, and<<Shenel'>> by Gogol' and the biggest problem I always had was the length of sentences, because they tend to go on and on, and then you sort of get lost trying to sort out what they're trying to say!! (AND i would like to apoligize because I do not have the cyrilic characters on the computer. sorry!! ) So I think it just takes practice!!

    ~jessi
    Пиковая дама - Pikovaya Dama
    Шинель - Shinel'
    Anatoli - Анатолий - أناتولي - 阿纳托利 - アナトーリー - 아나톨리

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    the first sentence is actually: "This book is not an english language textbook."
    http://quickandsimplerussian.blog-city.com/
    I'm engaged to the most wonderful girl in the world, my Lana!!!

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