Author Topic: Would a Russian Bible be helpful for killing two birds with one stone?  (Read 459 times)

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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Hello everyone who stopped by this thread!

Right now I am in the process of learning Russian (I would suppose that I am at an intermediate level - I can have very basic conversations with people on a variety of subjects, but I'm not anywhere near close to fluent, nor can I understand the majority of words that are used in media like television or movies or books).

One way I was thinking that I could kill two birds with one stone - not only improving my Russian, but studying the Scriptures and growing closer to God - is to perhaps buy a Russian version of the Bible (my eyes are set currently on the Synodal version, the New Translation looks like a Russian NIV, which gives me less interest, and the Translation by the Russian Bible Society looks cool, but I can't find a cheap copy to buy online).

However, I have some concerns of the Bible's terms influencing my vocabulary in a negative way, that would be harmful to casual speech. For example, if I visited Saint Petersburg one day, I wouldn't want to say to a guest "Hey, do you know where your shower-room is? I need to wash myself of my iniquities" or say something along the lines of "Thine dog went thither."

For those who speak Russian, or even other Slavic languages, what are your thoughts?
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 04:57:23 PM by LivenotoneviL »
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Offline RaphaCam

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My Russian has just recently got so what I can call a very basic level, but I have studied languages through the Bible a lot, and it does help a lot. Don't mind the archaisms, you'll be fine as long as people understand you. In my own experience, until you get to a safe intermediate level, you shouldn't care about sounding really proper, just be understood. After this safe intermediate level, you can start caring a bit if you're not sounding stupid. After you get advanced, you can start caring about detail.

For instance, in Romance languages, adjectives have a plural form, so I recall that, when I was studying English for the Cambridge First Certificate in English, there was a guy who could conversate in English much functionally as any other student, but sometimes he would slip and say stuff such as "talls buildings" or "Englishes teachers". As he had already gotten to an intermediate level, this was a real problem, so he had to correct it. Before that, it was something that should have been corrected, but most importantly he was able to communicate fully.

Now, until some two years ago, I didn't have a good idea of the English vowel inventory, so I would pronounce "stock" and "stalk" or "lick" and "leak" the same way. This was improper because I was already a fluent speaker, so I corrected it, but it might have been a bit futile to take this kind of mistake too seriously while I was still intermediate.

So... if you still don't know any Russian, just go and get whatever you can, so you can worry about details later. I love reading the Bible in other languages for that reason, both because it is an amazing book in every way and because I can always compare it with the Portuguese text and understand difficulties without needing to get to a dictionary. This is even better when I already know the text. For instance, I learned the German word Zöllner (customs officer) while reading the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. I didn't know this word at all, but since I already knew the text, I deduced its meaning in the same instance, even though I thought it was something more general like "tax collector". So, if I were talking to a German and said the word "Zöllner" for "tax collector" referring to a collector that wasn't a custom officer, it might be wrong, but he would still understand me.

So... Don't worry about asking a Russian where you can wash your iniquities. He'll understand you.  ;)
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Offline Justin Kolodziej

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so I would pronounce "stock" and "stalk"...the same way.
I think I actually do pronounce them the same way. Must be my dumbed-down Chicago/Northwest Indiana accent. ;D

But regional accents are of course something of an expert-level distinction, like if some words have "ay" or "eh", or if you called it a shower-room in a location where they usually call it an outhouse (hypothetically).
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Offline Antonis

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If it is large and heavy enough, two birds shouldn’t be a problem. You could even spare yourself the stone.
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Offline LivenotoneviL

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Only if those dang little jerks can't fly away. Every time I throw a Bible at them, they fly away when they see a book flying at their faces.
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Offline melkite

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Biblical Russian, even in modern Russian, is very different from colloquial Russian.  When I was studying in Russia, I bought a couple of Russian bibles to try to help myself learn it.  I won't say it would be a total wasted effort, but I wouldn't rely on it too heavily.  You'll learn a lot of vocabulary that is meaningless outside of a religious context, and the prose will throw you off if you're still getting the hang of the Russian case system.

Offline Orthodox_Slav

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Yeah Russian is a hard and harsh language to learn and it is better if you learn it when you are very very young but it is not impossible to learn :) ;)
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Offline Dominika

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Biblical Russian, even in modern Russian, is very different from colloquial Russian.  When I was studying in Russia, I bought a couple of Russian bibles to try to help myself learn it.  I won't say it would be a total wasted effort, but I wouldn't rely on it too heavily.  You'll learn a lot of vocabulary that is meaningless outside of a religious context, and the prose will throw you off if you're still getting the hang of the Russian case system.

I think that's correct.

Another situation is e.g with Serbian Bible as it's much closer to today's vernacular (I'm not talking about Serbian Church Slavonic variant - Srbulja).
I suppose in Russian it's more like with Polish Bible of Jakub Wujek that's full of archaisms, not so far from Church Slavonic - well, Poles (at least those educated to some point) are able to understand it, but it sounds really strange.
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Offline RaphaCam

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so I would pronounce "stock" and "stalk"...the same way.
I think I actually do pronounce them the same way. Must be my dumbed-down Chicago/Northwest Indiana accent. ;D

But regional accents are of course something of an expert-level distinction, like if some words have "ay" or "eh", or if you called it a shower-room in a location where they usually call it an outhouse (hypothetically).
Yeah, according to Wikipedia, this would be the case in Canada, Scotland, Ireland and a couple of localities (some major) across the US. But it's not a very cultivated pronunciation, I guess. Although I still often say things like "Gawd" or "dawg", which I believe to be a New York thing.
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Offline Alpha60

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I would say “no.”
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However, I have some concerns of the Bible's terms influencing my vocabulary in a negative way, that would be harmful to casual speech. For example, if I visited Saint Petersburg one day, I wouldn't want to say to a guest "Hey, do you know where your shower-room is? I need to wash myself of my iniquities" or say something along the lines of "Thine dog went thither."

That's sort of what happened when the Soviets discovered a family of Old Believers who had been living in the wilderness for decades. They only had prayer books and a Bible to read, so the daughters' vocabulary was in some places archaic.
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Offline Iconodule

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Well, "thine dog" is just wrong in any register. You use "thine" before nouns that start with vowels.
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Offline RaphaCam

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However, I have some concerns of the Bible's terms influencing my vocabulary in a negative way, that would be harmful to casual speech. For example, if I visited Saint Petersburg one day, I wouldn't want to say to a guest "Hey, do you know where your shower-room is? I need to wash myself of my iniquities" or say something along the lines of "Thine dog went thither."
That's sort of what happened when the Soviets discovered a family of Old Believers who had been living in the wilderness for decades. They only had prayer books and a Bible to read, so the daughters' vocabulary was in some places archaic.
Curious archaisms have been reported on the dialect of many other Old Believers communities, too.
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Offline WPM

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Sure if you have to time to learn Russian language
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