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Thread: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

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    Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    I have noticed in my Russian learning book that there are quite a few words in the beginning chapters that I can recognize by simply sounding them out. I don't know if they are doing this so that I can learn to pronounce individual letters or whether this is actual common. An example: PECTOPAH - restaurant (sorry its not in russian type I haven't figure out the whole keyboard thing).

    I am not sure they they are just being used as a phonetic exercise or whether English and Russian actually share some similar words. Thanks.

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    Re: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    There are quite a few words in Russian that are borrowed from English or from other European languages. Just be aware that there are usually some differences in how they are pronounced in Russian. A familiar looking word won't sound so familiar when you hear it with a stress on a different syllable.

    The majority of geographical words (countries, cities, etc.) are pretty close to what they are in English.

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    Re: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    As paulb mentioned there are many borrowed words in Russian (mostly of Greek, Latin, German, Turkish, French, Dutch and English origin). Most of these words can be called "international", because their versions are used in many European languages.

    For example..

    1) sport vocabulary:
    sport - спорт, tennis - теннис, баскетбол - basketball, boots - бутсы, goal - гол, boxing - бокс, referee - рефери, etc. Sometimes people use both a borrowed and a 'Russian' word, e.g. goalkeeper = голкипер = вратарь (from "ворота" - gate(way), goal).
    2) names of exotic animals, birds and plants (I think you willbe able to translate them on your own ):
    Жираф, кенгуру, тигр, горилла, фламинго, баобаб, эвкалипт, панда, опоссум, etc.
    3) technical terms:
    механик (mechanic), автомобиль, радио, телевизор, мотоцикл, радиатор, трансмиссия, электроника, etc.
    4) Economics and politics:
    парламент, демократия, революция, митинг, партия, банк, депозит, бартер, брокер, инвестор, дилер, etc.
    5) Сomputer-related vocabulary:
    компьютер, принтер, монитор, процессор, слот, файл, интерфейс, etc.
    6) Music and arts:
    музыка, джаз, импрессионизм, балет, танго, соло, хор (choir), баритон, гитара, скульптура, etc.
    7) Some medical and anatomy terms:
    доктор, анатомия, фаланга, пенис, вагина, мигрень, госпиталь (it means usually a military hospital, for other kinds of hospitals the Russian word "больница" is more common), etc.
    Other science-related words:
    биология, зоология, математика, геометрия, география, академик (academician), профессор, логика, эксперимент, проект, гравитация, космос, etc.
    9) Some military terms:
    танк (tank, as a vehicle), генерал (general), майор (major), флаг, ракета (rocket), бомба, бомбардировка (bombardment, bombing), парашют, etc.

    And HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of others.


    There are also words that are not the same, but resemble each other anyway. Since both English and Russian are Indo-European languages some of these words share the same roots while others are just a coincidence. This resemblance, however slight, makes it easier to memorise these words:
    nose - нос
    brother - брат
    sister - сестра
    water - вода
    Sun (sol) - солнце
    cat - кот
    milk - молоко
    and so on..

    The uniquely Russian words are not so hard to lear either, if you make sure to notice their connections with other words and try to guess their roots and origins.

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    Re: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    Awesome, thanks for listing so many examples out also it helps me to learn and pronounce new words!

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    Re: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    But probably the only two words that are identical in both languages are мама and mama.

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    Re: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    Quote Originally Posted by chaika
    But probably the only two words that are identical in both languages are мама and mama.
    Папа??

    also бить is close enough for government work, as they say.

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    Re: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    Well, just to add some...

    Кофе - coffee
    Чай - tea, compare chai
    Карри - curry

    Lots of modern vocabulary is loaned from French including such "everyday" words as пляж, (beach) - la plage and этаж - (floor, as in "first floor") - l'étage.

    Sailing terminology (useful if ye like pir-r-rate stor-r-ries, Arrrr. ) is unfortunately mostly Dutch (or at least press-ganged sailor's idea of Dutch.), so "mainsail" would be "грот" and "foremast" - "фок-мачта", and bafflingly "stand from under!" - "Полундра!" (although nowadays this isn't used in it's original strict sense (except by sailors, maybe) - it may mean any kind of emergency.) Then again, ship decks are supported by beams and pillars... Или бимсами и пиллерсами... So some English words here too.
    I often edit my posts five times or so, after I've sent them. Sorry for any confusion, feel free to correct me.

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    Re: Are very many words phonetically similar to English/Latin?

    There are quite a few words in Russian that are borrowed from English or from other European languages. Just be aware that there are usually some differences in how they are pronounced in Russian. A familiar looking word won't sound so familiar when you hear it with a stress on a different syllable

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    I noticed this and i think many courses simply have them so you can get used to the alphabet and simple reading ......however what i found is that these words have a tendancy to lure you into a false sense of achievement i.e. you believe you are better than you actualy are.

    I have asked my tutor to stay away from international words wherever possible for he following reasons:

    1: I want to learn Russian not where the words come from, i can pick stuff like that up here.
    2: I do not actually learn anything and can typically work them out for myself as and when required.
    3: I have found it can lure you into a trap as you can get into the habit of seeing a word, read it, think it sounds like something in English and end up being wide off the mark with what the actual word is.
    4: As mentioned above you can believe you are better than you actualy are.

    Look at these words as "bonus points".

    These are just my experiences and hope this helps.

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka View Post
    There are also words that are not the same, but resemble each other anyway. Since both English and Russian are Indo-European languages some of these words share the same roots...
    nose - нос
    brother - брат
    sister - сестра
    water - вода
    Sun (sol) - солнце
    (etc.)
    If you ever studied Latin for at least a year or so, you may remember the four principle parts of the verb for "to give":

    do, dare, dedi, datus

    And it's not a coincidence that the Russian perfective verb дать ("to give") resembles the Latin participle datus, while the the imperfective verb дарить ("to give as a gift; to make a present of") resembles the infinitive dare. (Russian also has the word дата, "calendar date", but although this comes from Latin datus, it was a relatively recent borrowing, and not example of "evolutionary development" in the Indo-European family.)

    P.S. By the way, Alan, as you progress in Russian, you'll learn that words like независимость ("independence") were also borrowed from Latin, despite the total lack of phonetic similarity! (Hint: The Russian verb висеть and the Latin verb pendere both mean "to be hanging; to dangle", and the Latin participle independens literally means "not dangling from something"). This is a phenomenon called "calquing", and it's really a topic for a separate thread -- but I just wanted to give you a heads-up that Russian has borrowed foreign words in various different ways.
    maxmixiv likes this.

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    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ac220 View Post
    Sailing terminology (useful if ye like pir-r-rate stor-r-ries, Arrrr. ) is unfortunately mostly Dutch
    One exception to this (that I just learned two days ago in a Web discussion!) -- the Russian naval rank мичман comes from English "midshipman". But the ranks aren't exactly equivalent -- in English, a midshipman is a "larval" officer-in-training; basically a college kid with no practical experience at all. (See, for example, Wesley Crusher from ST:TNG). But a Russian мичман is a Warrant Officer -- in other words, a senior "non-com" who has years of experience.

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