I love languages so here goes...
Neways I was wondering which Slavic language out of Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian, is the most widely understood in the region. So for example is Russian or Serbian understood most of all in Eastern Europe?
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LOL, IOW I second yBeayf's and others' advice to learn Russian. It's widely understood in Eastern Europe not just because of Soviet domination historically but, because it's part of the Slav(on)ic branch of the Indo-European family of languages (which also means it's distantly related to the Germanic branch including English), it's closely related to many/most other languages in the region. Learn it and you've made a substantial down payment on understanding the rest of the branch (Polish, Czech, Serbian, etc.)!
As I like to say, learn one language from each of the three big branches of that family and you can pretty much communicate with people all over Europe!
There's the Germanic branch, including what this is written in, so with English not only have you got a close sister language to German, Dutch and the Scandinavian languages (helpful for reading - about half the words are the same as English!) but thanks to British and then American dominance historically English is now the world's second language.
But of course that doesn't mean everybody in Europe speaks it!
So you might want to augment that by learning German; so doing will open up even more of Dutch and the Scandinavian languages to you.
Then there's the Latin (Romance) family: learn one and you can read a lot in all of them. Spoken French and Portuguese are hard to understand though. (Portuguese is Spanish that sounds like it's being spoken by people who wish they were French.)
And then for Eastern Europe there's the Slavic branch - again, Russian will serve you well.
I was told that Czech is very different than the rest but still classified as Slavic.
Actually I've heard that Czech, Slovak and Polish, all of the West Slavic subgroup of Slavic languages, are very similar - Czech and Slovak are nearly the same language and that the main difference with Polish is that the stresses are in different parts of the words.
As an amateur Russian speaker I find that spoken Polish and Czech are hard to understand because they have lots of extra sh
sounds thrown into words I would recognise in written form.
Russian grammar can be difficult at first if you're not familiar with case languages. There is a lot of rote learning you have to do. Plus you have to learn a thousand words or so before you start to understand how to build words on your own (i.e. makes verbs into nouns, adjectives, etc.).
All true but if you know case languages the grammar isn't that bad. Latin is a case language too: the endings of the words change to tell you what they're doing in the sentence. IMO an elegant way to set up a language.
When learning each of the three core languages to use when communicating in Europe you have start from scratch learning a basic vocabulary. That's probably the hardest part about learning Russian: German and English have about 60 per cent of their basic words in common, with Romance languages there's a lot of vocabulary crossover with English (due to mixing with French thanks to the Norman conquest and scads of loan words since) but with Slavic ones about 80 per cent of the words are different!
Polish is just as bad, and has a crapass spelling system to boot (though, to their credit, it's not nearly as bad as Hungarian).
LOL, well put!
Czech and Slovak are almost as bad as Polish when it comes to spelling.
I don't agree. I think their way is simpler and consistent - one simply has to learn it.
I would probably go with Russian for the reasons already stated. You will find once you get a basic grasp of one slavic language, the others come pretty easy.
I just don't want to be hated everywhere I go other than Russia!
Probably not a problem since the people in other countries will know from your accent and other things that you're not a Russian but from someplace else simply trying to communicate.
BTW, here's a thought: check out this site for 'Slovio'
, also called 'Slavsk':
My Slavic-speaking ancestors came originally from the Balkan region. However I was born and raised in Canada and had little opportunity to learn their language. Recently I have decided to go back to the Balkans, and look for my long lost cultural roots. Since learning Slavic languages I found very difficult, I just learned Slovio. Upon arrival to the village of my ancestory I was surprised how well I could communicate with the villagers. And later on when I visited other countries in the Balkans, with Slovio I could communicate with just about anybody, and talk just about anything. Thank you Slovio! You have opened up a new huge world for me!
I just have to tell you two anecdotal stories about Slovio that should be a good testimonial. 1) I am a beginner in Russian, and whenever I order pizza, the Russian pizza man comes. I always try to struggle with Russian, and then I resort to Slovio. He understands every word I say! It's wonderful! Slovio truly is Pan-Slavic! 2) I met a Croatian recently and didn't speak a word of Croatian. I resorted to Slovio and he understood everything! So this just goes to show you what a good job you guys are doing! Keep it up! I download every version there is!
It's one of those artificial auxiliary languages: this one was invented by an Eastern European to communicate across countries and languages in his part of the world. It's fascinating! Basically it looks like strange ungrammatical Russian but as an amateur Russian speaker I can understand just about everything. It looks easier to learn than Russian, thanks to the simplified grammar, and probably would serve you about as well as speaking beginner's broken Russian. IOW, it's like Russian with mistakes but not the kind of mistakes that would really get in the way of communicating.
As for the Slavic,I'm guessing that all Slavic comes from the Old Slavonic right who's centre was in ancient Kiev where Sts. Methodius and Cyrill went.
True except for the Kiev part. The saints went to what's now Bulgaria and the Czech Republic back when all Slavic languages were much closer and everybody essentially spoke a version of Old Slavonic.
I'm also guessing that the language the Roma/gypsy people speak is a mix of slavic and asian roots.
As you might know the Gypsies/Roma are really Indians. ('Gypsy' comes from the mistaken belief mediÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦val Europeans had that they came from Egypt.) So Roma is really a (distant?) relative of Hindi in India today (as yBeayf has explained - thanks!). I imagine as Gypsies largely live in Eastern Europe that they've picked up a number of Slavic words but Roma isn't Slavic.
from others that I know that have travelled Eastern Europe, German is a fairly common second language....
AFAIK that's true. Thanks to the Austrian Empire before World War I, it was the second/auxiliary language in those parts until after World War II.
I won't lie - Russian's tough. I've been acquainted with it for 13 years and am not fluent in it. But as Anthony can tell you, it can be learnt.
ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â£ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â´ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â°ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬ËœÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â¸ ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â²ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â°ÃƒÆ’Ã‚ÂÃƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼! Good luck.