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Thread: It's harder to quick-read written Russian than English...

  1. #1
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    It's harder to quick-read written Russian than English...

    Okay, I'll concede one strong point FOR written Russian: it is, for the most part, phonetic. If you can see it, you have a pretty good idea how to pronounce it, which isn't the case for English. But still, Russian is very difficult to read on several accounts:


    (1) The plethora of letters that look almost exactly like Ь

    Б В Ъ Ы Ь

    Need I say more?

    (2) Four separate letters that look like an E:

    Е Ё З Э

    (3) The insane overabundance of "box" letters: letters which have tall stems on both the left and right sides:

    Н Л М И Й П Ц Ш Щ Д (10)

    Compare that to English

    H M N U (4)

    Also add in the fact that НИЙ is a common suffix in Russian. That would be equivalent to English having MNH or UVW as a regular construction.

    And add in some fairly common pieces of Russian words: иний, ник, ниц, ший, кий, нщин. Again, think of reading English with KYX, LTIJ, MWN, BPR, and HNMH. Difficult!


    (4) Complicated wide letters:

    English: M W

    Russian: Ш Щ М Ж


    (5) The fact that almost every Russian letter looks like an English letter, number, or combination of the two:


    А Б В Г Д Е Ё Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Ъ Ы Ь Э Ю Я
    A b B r D E E X 3 N N K JI M H O II P C T Y qb X U Y W W b bI b 3 IO R

    HET СНЕГ. Het Cher? Он. Oh? Самолёт. Camojiet? Camojiet, Camojet, some kind of jet... Весна. Becha? Ресторан. Pectopah? Any relationship to Sam Peckinpah?


    (6) The fact that in much Russian print, the letters end up close enough together that at first glance, you can't tell if Ь is part of Ы, you can't tell Л from П, you can't tell Ш from Щ, you may see the O of Ю without the I on the left, etc...



    Okay, I'm done now, just wanted to unload. I'm getting the hang of it, but I find I need a bigger fon't for Russian, especially to read the И/Н and П/Л differences.

    ПОКА

  2. #2
    Подающий надежды оратор Tutor's Avatar
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    According to this theory, the Japanese language is impossible to quick-read The point is that if people speak/read a language from birth it doesn't matter how complicated the letters of the alphabet look. Once a person is taught to make a distinction he/she will make this distinction every single time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tutor
    According to this theory, the Japanese language is impossible to quick-read The point is that if people speak/read a language from birth it doesn't matter how complicated the letters of the alphabet look. Once a person is taught to make a distinction he/she will make this distinction every single time.
    Japanese isn't that bad to "quick-read", it's just much harder to LEARN.

    Because they have a letter for every syllable, you never end up with words like "Маленький", which has 9 letters. The Japanese word for it would be "ma-lay-n-ki", so only four letters, and easy to "quick-read". Yes, some of the letters look similar, but they are always well-spaced and isolated, unlike Russian.

    Much harder to LEARN, yes. Like 50 letters each for Hirangana and Katakana, and that's before you get into the full-out pictograms. But once they're learned, your eyes don't boggle.

    I think Chinese is simliar. Korean is really an alphabet, not too hard to learn, easy to write.

    Arabic is very difficult due to the multiple forms of the letters. Hebrew, based off the same system, is much easier. But both are difficult because they omit vowels in regular use.

    The Sanskrit-based systems like Hindi script and Tamil script are harder to write than Russian, AND have a lot of similar letters. It is probably in the same league w.r.t. quick-reading.

    English probably has the distinction of having the most spelling/pronunciation/conjugation exceptions of any language, due to its multiple roots. However, it also ends up being the language with probably the most usable words (we have 2 words for everything, the Latin and the Germanic), and we are very open to abbreviation and shortening.

    Take a look at the "Rosetta stone" on any foreign-sold product. The English is almost always much shorter than the German, Spanish, French, Italian, etc. Harder to tell with the pictogram languages, but I think it also ends up shorter there. Russian may actually end up with fewer WORDS, but English will have fewer syllables and fewer characters.

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    мне кажется, что тебе нужно очки
    "Нельзя запретить человеку сделать себе большую куклу из воска и целовать её."

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    Quote Originally Posted by raskolnik
    мне кажется, что тебе нужно очки
    (I had to cheat to translate, I'm a novice.)

    Glasses, yes. Or maybe a different font, one that tilts my "и" more soe it doesn't look like an "H", especially when it's small. Times New Roman is horrible!! Maybe I'll try Arial...

  6. #6
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    I'm sure nearly every one here has seen the order of lennin, but why are the L's like /\ for? Is that still used now?
    I hate Signatures

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    i expect its just a different 'font' (i cant think of the non comp varient, i have a feeling its long and hard to spell tho. ) ive seen l's written like that in other places but im sure its more of a style prefrence by the author than anything else
    "Нельзя запретить человеку сделать себе большую куклу из воска и целовать её."

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    I checked several fonts, Garamond seems to use pointy deltas and lambdas, where Arial and Times use the square-topped ones.

    I'd guess the square-topped have become "standard", where pointy are a common variant. Kind of like the two small "a"s and "g"s in English.

    I haven't gotten far enough into Russian to see much handwritten stuff yet, am interested to see it. I'm guessing it works much as English does, mostly the same but connected, a few letters modified greatly.




    For an interesting comparison between languages that use multiple alphabets that are significantly different:

    English: Large difference between UPPERCASE and lowercase, enough to call it a different alphabet. Greek is similar. Russian's differences are much smaller.

    Japanese: Large difference between native words (hiragana) and foreign words (katakana), two entirely different alphabets.

    Hebrew: Large difference between handwritten and printed. An "A" goes from something like a printed "X" to a handwritten "lc", an "S" goes from a printed "Ш" to a handwritten "e", many other major changes to letters. Arabic doesn't have quite the same distinction despite similar roots. Arabic writing looks closer to Hebrew script than print. But Arabic has another very interesting feature: written Arabic uses a standard dialect, regardless of the spoken dialect in the region. Country to country has a common written language, even though the spoken language may be mutually unintelligible!

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    It's a bit harsh to say that "English"'s upper and lower cases are different alphabets considering almost all European languages use it, it's a bit of a stretch to call it "English"'s alphabet. The romans invent nearly all of it (or borrowed, whatever I don't know where they got it from) it is normally called "latin" not english
    Эдмунд Ричардович Вудфилд

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    I've known the Russian alphabet off by heart about two months now, but most of that time I've had to mentally "force" it when trying to read, but now many of the more basic words are jumping straight out at me just like when reading English! I've got no problems with Cyrillic!
    m.A.T.t.

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    i was with a friend yesterday in the library and he was reading articles of pravda.ru out loud to me... he can read faster in russian than i can in english, and he was reading FAST. when u master a language u dont need to see every letter, or even every syllable. u dont even need to drag your eyes from left too right to read sign. u simply know the words. just like how чирипоха means turtle but u can say читипошка and be understood. its because maybe not to your english eyes/ears. but to russians, it is thier language, and most know it inside and out... so yea. and maybe to russians it is just has hard to read english... i mean the letter J? it makes a ДЖ sound for crying out loud ! who would say that ? and, also Ф to qp, how much time do you have ?
    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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    Wait till you see cursive Russian bro!!!
    Call to a hardware store: "I'm sure you know more about the caulk than I do...tell me...is there a taste to the caulk?".

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