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Thread: Frustrated with Russian cases...

  1. #21
    Почтенный гражданин Misha Tal's Avatar
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    The case system is a tool, Nichole. At first it might be hard to handle, but once you learn it you'll be glad that it exists. In my opinion the Russian grammar is much more flexible than the English grammar, thanks to those crazy cases.

    The hardest part for me is feminine singular adjective endings: four of them are identical, and while that makes it easier to learn, it also makes it harder to comprehend: Sometimes you practically have to guess from the contex whether it is genitive, dative, prepositional, or instrumental.
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  2. #22
    Подающий надежды оратор Nichole.'s Avatar
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    I just see Russian grammar as too overloaded. Like those mega fries you can get in American pizza parlors. Sure, fries have lots of fat in them, but hey, let's throw on three different cheeses and some bacon with Ranch dressing on the side just so you understand how much fat is in them.

    Maybe I like English grammar more because I was raised with it, and I do see it's flaws, but in my mind, it's way more flexible than Russian. We have no gender (so we don't have to worry about that when forming sentences... well except for she and he, and if it's something that doesn't have a biological gender... tah-dah, it's it.), virtually no cases (sure, we have some, but only like, 2), if you are using numbers in a sentence, anything over one is ended in either "s" or "ies", and that brings me to our plurals, which are just that, unless you are a scholar and you like using Latin words like "bacterium" (which most of the general public doesn't). The only con I can think of are our pesky verb tenses (yea, we went overboard on those, hehe).

    Sure, Russian can change it's word order willy-nilly, but that's the only thing I can think of.

    But what am I complaining about? I chose this as the language I wanted to study, and I'm far too deep to want to stop now. Yea, cases are just an everyday thing and I'm going to have to get over it, but it just seems like the English part of my brain is on overload and I want everything to act like it is in English (which is impossible, but I still wish)!
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  3. #23
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    Does anyone have any ideas on how I could learn how to place these cases? (Excluding ways that would bore me to no extent...)
    There are basically two methods to learn foreign language for an adult person.
    1) Boring one. Few hours per day do some exercises, follow some course, read and speak. Normally theory will help you in this method, because theoretical rules anyway are much simpler than the language as it is.
    2) Adventurous one. Come to the corresponding country, communicate much, and try to survive without using any language but local. Here you can avoid most formal rules etc. and get even better result than for the first method. If survived.

    Few encouraging facts. 1)Russian is NOT the world most difficult language. (Many people say that Japanese is the most difficult.) 2) English and Russian are languages of the same family so they are much closer than many others. 3) Russian perfectly correct literary speech is not mastered even by many (most?) Russians, so perfection is not so necessary. 4)Normally in a private conversation Russians would not mind if you confuse few cases and would be pleased by the very fact of your speaking Russian (if your speech is intelligible of course).
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  4. #24
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    Maybe I like English grammar more because I was raised with it, and I do see it's flaws, but in my mind, it's way more flexible than Russian. We have no gender (so we don't have to worry about that when forming sentences...
    Native speakers do not worry about that, they use it automatically.

    Yep, English has exceptionally simple basics that makes it very good international language. So you can skip learning other languages if you do not enjoy. Learning languages is like a good investment to the future pleasure. The harder you work now the more you will enjoy later. The situation is the same as with high/classical/elite art/literature/music.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  5. #25
    Подающий надежды оратор Nichole.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    2) Adventurous one. Come to the corresponding country, communicate much, and try to survive without using any language but local. Here you can avoid most formal rules etc. and get even better result than for the first method. If survived.
    I can't do that because I only just turned 15, so I guess I'll just have to hang out in Northeast Philly for a bit. That place is soooo Russian.

    Quote Originally Posted by it-ogo View Post
    Native speakers do not worry about that, they use it automatically.
    Yea, but what about L2 speakers?
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  6. #26
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    Yea, but what about L2 speakers?
    That is very individual. Some people after some efforts get used to it and starts to speak automatically. Some, including even professional Russian teachers etc., get good theory but have problems of fluent speaking forever. No guarantee.
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    I can't do that because I only just turned 15, so I guess I'll just have to hang out in Northeast Philly for a bit. That place is soooo Russian.



    Yea, but what about L2 speakers?
    Is there Russian stores, restaurants etc. in Northeast Philadelphia? If so, what is there? I'm live about 60 miles from Philadelphia.

    Scott

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    Почтенный гражданин bitpicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    I just see Russian grammar as too overloaded.
    You notice all the things Russian has but English doesn't have, and that makes it seem overloaded. I'm sure the same is true vice versa: looking at English with Russian eyes, one could ask why there are so bloody many different tenses, what articles are for and why the writing is so damn different from the spoken word.

    Looking at both languages from my viewpoint as a native speaker of German I could ask why English needs a progressive aspect to its verbs and what's so hot about perfective verbs in Russian. I could say that the English lack of cases is just as insane as having six. Four is the truth.

    But all that is moot. Different languages have different mechanisms, and the hard parts of each language lie in the mechanisms which are unlike the ones of your native language. English happens to be on one end of the scale of Indo-European languages, the end which has dropped most of the inflecting grammatival features (along with Persian, I'm told). On the other end you have heavily inflected languages like Russian, but even those have come quite far, as the process of losing grammatical inflection is going on in all languages of the family. If you wanted to learn Sanskrit, the oldest written Indo-European language, you'd have to deal with up to 792 distinct verb forms per verb. The worst verb in English has eight (be).

    You should try to accept each grammatical feature as a given and try to deal with them one at a time. I think that the most complicated and weird features of a language are what makes the language intriguing.
    Спасибо за исправления!

    Вам нравится этот форум, и вы изучаете немецкий язык? Вот похожий форум о немецком языке.

  9. #29
    Подающий надежды оратор Nichole.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fortheether View Post
    Is there Russian stores, restaurants etc. in Northeast Philadelphia? If so, what is there? I'm live about 60 miles from Philadelphia.

    Scott
    They have restaurants, Russian music and book stores, a supermarket, many of the store signs are also written in Russian.

    In fact, my bus used to drive through there on the way to my elementary school, so the first Russian words I ever learned when I was 9: аптека, столовая, and книги from the signs on the storefronts we passed.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    They have restaurants, Russian music and book stores, a supermarket, many of the store signs are also written in Russian.

    In fact, my bus used to drive through there on the way to my elementary school, so the first Russian words I ever learned when I was 9: аптека, столовая, and книги from the signs on the storefronts we passed.
    This is the section of the town:

    Bustleton, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I definitely going to check out the book stores and eat at a restaurant there - Anything else you recommend doing there?

    Thank you,

    Scott

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    Yep.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how I could learn how to place these cases? (Excluding ways that would bore me to no extent...)
    Read/listen (whatever you understand better) material with correct case usage. I doubt that one can learn how to actually use anything by drilling manual/grammar books. For questions like 'why is it used that way?' - i.e. reference manual, yes.
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  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    Maybe I like English grammar more because I was raised with it, and I do see it's flaws,
    Those precious moments....
    Russian is tough, let’s go shopping!

  13. #33
    Подающий надежды оратор Nichole.'s Avatar
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    I'm a native speaker, the difference between an apostrophe in a word that sounds exactly like another word doesn't make any of a difference in the logical thinking of other speakers who don't even see that apostrophe because they are on English auto pilot. So their!
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  14. #34
    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    I'm a native speaker, the difference between an apostrophe in a word that sounds exactly like another word doesn't make any of a difference in the logical thinking of other speakers who don't even see that apostrophe because they are on English auto pilot. So their!
    lol, I see what you did there

    But that proves the point exactly... Russian people don't have to think about all this grammar, they just know it instinctively. But even native Russians make Russian grammar mistakes sometimes!

    As for learning cases, it can help by translating it from English -> Runglish -> Russian.

    Example:
    "I want to help you" -> "I want to help to you" -> "я хочу помочь вам"
    or
    "I have no pets" -> "of me there is none of pets" -> "у меня нет домашних животных"
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    Hi Nichole


    I can really understand your frustration. I'm a native German speaker and I'm learning Russian since ..8 month I guess, and even for me cases are not that easy. Even though, it's a huge advantage to be a German speaker, cause we have 4 cases in German (Nom, Acc, Dat, Gen) and they behave pretty similar like in russian.
    To take Misha Tals example with "помочь/помогать". It's "Helfen" in German. Ich helfe dir (I help you). Dir is dativ. So it's very often exactly like in russian. Even though it's not always like that. For example, "Я тебя поздравляю" is accusative while in german, we use Dative here. But anyway, it's from big help to have even 4 cases already. I can really understand your problems as you are coming from English, cause I can most of the time think like I'm doing it in German and then I already know how it has to be in Russian. But of course I still have to learn all those exceptions and it's not always like in German.
    2. Whoever created Russian seriously overdid themselves when it comes to grammar. Why does everything have to agree with everything else?
    Actually..Russian does sound soooo awesome because words nearly always agree with each other...they kind of rhyme, for example the adjectives with the substantives. I asked myself the same "Why the hell is Russians grammar that complex?" but then again....it makes Russians sound as it is and gosh, I wouldn't like to miss it.
    But yeah I have to agree, Russian is soooooo difficult to learn as a foreigner. I've never heard someone not from Russia/Ukraine speaking it good, but I'm sure that in the masterrussians community are a lot of people that mastered it and I have such a huge respect of them. When I started with Russian...I was listening to people in the internet who said, that russian isn't harder than languages like Spanish, French and so on...but gosh they were wrong. Maybe, on paper, it isn't harder..because it's a pretty logical language and doesn't has more exceptions than...German for example...even less than we have in German...but it's soooo confusing with all those different endings and stuff.
    I don't want to frustrate you, but have you already seen those "Perfective and imperfective" aspects of verbs? For me, they are even more confusing than the cases. But maybe they will be easier for you cause the tenses are more like in English. I've never understood the English cases...there are soooooo many and I will probably never get used to them.

    And I can tell you....since I'm learning russian...my knowledge of the German grammar has been increased greatly....and I've a girlfriend from the Ukraine and she is studying German....she askes me alot about German cases and I have to tell her all the time, that I never have to think about it...I'm doing it instinctively..I don't have to think which case I'm using, I just doing it right as I'm speaking and hearing that language since my birth. So it must be the same in Russian and any other language too. It's a veeeeeery long process and it's not done just with learning the basics and grammar, you have to use it, you have to repeat it and practise it over years.

    Sorry for my bad English

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    Почтенный гражданин Demonic_Duck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decsis View Post
    I don't want to frustrate you, but have you already seen those "Perfective and imperfective" aspects of verbs? For me, they are even more confusing than the cases. But maybe they will be easier for you cause the tenses are more like in English. I've never understood the English cases...there are soooooo many and I will probably never get used to them.
    You mean tenses

    I can assure you, perfective vs. imperfective is still pretty damn difficult/confusing for English speakers too. Although the fact that they have some correlation with our tenses helps somewhat.
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  17. #37
    Подающий надежды оратор Nichole.'s Avatar
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    Actually imperfective and perfective don't give me any trouble at all. They seem just like English.
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  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    Actually imperfective and perfective don't give me any trouble at all. They seem just like English.
    Not exactly. Russian aspects rather specify whether the action is fully completed/done. For example, if we say something like "He did his task yesterday", we can't say for sure if he finished the task while in Russian we can say "Он делал вчера своё задание"/"Он сделал вчера своё задание", and the first one would mean we aren't sure if he finished it (but most likely not) while the second one would mean he did for sure.

  19. #39
    Подающий надежды оратор Nichole.'s Avatar
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    But you can do that in English as well, just by changing one word or answerng somebody's question where it would be evident. It's not giving me any trouble. I can't expect everything to be hard for me in Russian. It just seems like the cases are giving me a run for my money.
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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nichole. View Post
    Actually imperfective and perfective don't give me any trouble at all. They seem just like English.
    Heh-heh-heh! Oh, how naive she is!

    Trust me, Nichole, as you progress in your study of Russian, the imperfective/perfective distinction WILL give you some frustration, in certain contexts. For example, in translating a negated past-tense English sentence such as "She didn't read that book." -- should it be Она не читала эту книгу or Она не прочитала эту книгу?

    But going back to noun cases: I began studying Russian in college, but had already taken four years of Latin in high school. And the Latin was a huge help for learning Russian -- not because Russian and Latin are so similar, but because they're both far more inflected than English, and I had already become thoroughly familiar with the "general concept" of noun/adjective cases from studying Latin. (In Latin, there are five basic cases: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and ablative. So four out of five of them have the same names and more or less the same functions as in Russian, while the Latin "ablative" case to some extent* combines the functions of the Russian instrumental and locative.)

    So, Nichole, just as learning the Latin cases gave me an advantage when I started studying Russian, if you can master the Russian cases you'll have some advantage if you decide to study other languages in the future.

    *I stress, "to some extent," because the ablative is arguably the most complicated Latin case, and does a lot more besides expressing instrument and location!
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