Languages compared to others

Discussion in 'General Language' started by ray299, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. ray299

    ray299 New Member

    I've been (for a short stay) to Poland and Czech Republic and find the language interesting. I just reciently tried to learn a little about Czech nad it seems real close to Polish, If I learn Czech, could I understand Polish? If so, how many other languages are close to Czech? And what other languages could you find spoken in Czech?
  2. Ir

    Ir Well-Known Member

    I'm not an expert, but I think that although Czech and Polish are closely related, they are in general not mutually intelligible. So I think the answer to your question, "If I learn Czech, will I be able to understand Polish?" is probably, "No". But maybe some Czech posters can answer this question better than me.

    As far as I know, Slovak is the only language which is very close to Czech (perhaps the equivalent of comparing standard English to a strong regional accent).

    In CR, many young people speak English well (under the age of about 25), German is also fairly common. Most of the older generation didn't have the opportunity to study English, and had to study Russian at school.
  3. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    Czech and Polish (and Slovak) are Western Slavic languages, and pretty close in structure and vocabulary. My Czech cousins say they can understand and be understood when talking to Polish speakers, although obviously not every word is the same.
  4. Coccinella

    Coccinella Guest

    Hello Ray299 (and all the others)
    I think the question whether you'll be able to understand Polish once you master Czech is very personal and depends on your own skills.
    But as a rule I'd say that any previous knowledge of a Slavic language will make it a lot easier to learn a second Slavic one, and then a thrid one or a fourth one...and it doesn't really matter whether they belong to the Western or Eastern or Souther group, they still share a great deal of similarities. Obviously you'll have to get used to the different pronouncations, but the general structure of the languages will if you know Czech, you'll pick up Russian more easily than a person who knows no Russian whatsoever, though a Czech native speaker will deny this most of the time! :eek:
    You know what your problem might be in a situation such as the one you depicted? (I speak Czech - can I understand Polish?). You'll be able to understand most of what Poles are saying, but you won't be able to answer adequately and intelligibly! On top of that you'll get REEEALLY mixed up with all those similar languages...Learning a language is undoubtedly a fascinating process, and it's a choice as well - I've chosen to learn a few languages, though I know I will never master all of them as well as if I had focused on just one. Learn Czech, learn Polish, learn Slovak, learn Bulgarian, learn Ukrainian, learn Russian, learn Serbian, learn Croatian, learn Slovenian as long as you never get enough of them. :)
    I'm just so madly in love with languages and people! :D
  5. ray299

    ray299 New Member

    thank you every one for your comments, my next question is what is the best way to start out learning? Does anyone have specific suggestions? I think the Slovic languages are so sentual and would love to learn them so I can go back to Prague or Poland to live for a short time... I got offered a job teaching english starting in Prague...
  6. Ladis

    Ladis Well-Known Member

    Slavic languages are similar and there are also tries to unify them - e.g. do you know the Slovio language?
  7. Ceit

    Ceit Well-Known Member

    Heh heh...excellent. And no grammatical gender in Slovio! Hurrah!! No offense, but to me grammatical gender has always seemed like the most ridiculous, not to mention arbitrary, thing about a lot of languages.

    To answer ray299, the best way to start learning a language really depends on you and your personal talant and experiance, like Coccinella mentioned before. I, personally, prefer to start out learning some grammar tables with vocab, 'cause I'm a language nerd, while others prefer a more intensive (meaning humiliating :wink: ) learning experience. If you take that teaching job, you'll get the intensive immersion part, and if you think that's how you learn best, more power to ya.
  8. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Oooh :eek:, that's terrible slavic newspeak :evil:. Cleaning of redundancy (so typical for slavic languages) is castration :evil:. Only inconsistent language can express inconsistent idea. We need to express such ideas in such absurd world :wink:.
  9. withoutaim

    withoutaim Active Member

    Personally I would prefer Esperanto rather than Slovio... It's a big mistake people haven't been learning Esperanto!
    Mi lernis Esperanto :)
  10. uuspoiss

    uuspoiss Well-Known Member

    That's very true:) Tried and tested several times. But even as it might not always work perfectly, trying with Czech in Poland will usually give a much better result than trying with Russian.
  11. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    ... But even as it might not always work perfectly, trying with Czech in Poland will usually give a much better result than trying with Russian.

    Yes, that's right but it is'nt only because of used languages. :D
  12. Rommie

    Rommie Well-Known Member

    Well, who cares if you speak Polish or not. They never listen! :lol: But yes, if you understand Czech, you would probably understand Polish. Every third word. As me :lol: And I am native Czech speaker (as you can see from my english grammatics :oops: ).
    Good luck
  13. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Just curious. Do you mean understanding spoken speech or written speech?
    I am asking this because the first year I was in Spain, although I hadn't had a single lesson in Spanish, I still was able to understand a lot (definitely over 60%) of what was in the newspapers and magazines, but when I listened to Spaniards, I didn't understand much.
  14. Rommie

    Rommie Well-Known Member

    Well, I usually understand what they said. Their grammatics is too strange, but spoken language is similar. If you understan what I´m trying to say. When you donť know the language that much, it´s easier to read than to speak. I can say, I understand Polish, Slovakia ( :lol: ), Russian...And I have never learnd it.
    Pfuuu (CAN SOMEBODY HELP WITH THAT ENGLISH???!!! ) THAT is my problem, I´m learning english for eleven years and I understand but I canť speak. And write.
    Need help? Whatever:)
  15. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    You probably meant that the Polish orthography is strange. The Polish grammar is essentially the same. We need not to learn the Polish declension, conjugation, verbal aspect and other Slavic "nightmares".

    Many Czechs have difficulties to identify the Polish cognate words both in spoken and written speech.

    For example:

    gęsi (= geese) are husy in Czech

    Pol. pron. gen-shee/guinchi (hard voiced g, nasal e, strongly palatalised sh)
    Cz. pron. hooh-see/housi (voiced h, non-nasal vowel, non-palatal s)

    It is not too obvious that gęsi = husy.

    Another example:

    Pol. zmęczony means tired

    the 1st trap:

    zmęczony (nasal e !!) resembles the Czech word zmenšený (= miniaturized)

    the 2nd trap:

    the correct Czech cognate is zmučený, but it means martyred, tortured

    The Polish sentence Jestem zmęczony means neither I am miniaturized nor I am martyred, but I am tired.
    It is still acceptable to understand I am tortured (by fatigue).
    The grammar structure of the sentence is clear anyway (Jsem zmučený).
  16. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Zeisig :
    Very interesting, Zeisig. I suppose there is a historic phonetic law to account for this.

    Another such law is: Latin /h/ = Germanic /g/, e.g. hortus = garden.

    Also, Latin /f/ > French /f/, but Spanish /h/, e.g. Latin focus > French foyer / > Spanish hogar "hearth".
  17. Zeisig

    Zeisig Well-Known Member

    An interesting phonetic law:

    Latin/Greek k - Germanic h - Slavic s

    kentum/(he)katon - hundred/Hundert - sto
    kord-/kard- - heart/Herz - srdce

    Another comparison:

    Latin/Greek f - Slavic b

    fero - beru
    fers - bereš
    fert - bere (< beret)
    ferimus - bereme
    fertis - berete
    ferunt - berou (< beront)

    fer! - ber!
    ferte! - berte!
  18. Rommie

    Rommie Well-Known Member

    Hey, Zeisig, you´re teacher or what? :roll: Absolutely perplexed 8)
  19. wer

    wer Well-Known Member

    Hi Zeisig.

    Nice and didactic examples. I think you demonstrated that Latin is the most closest non-slavonic language to family of slavonic languages.
  20. Qcumber

    Qcumber Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot Zeisig. All these examples are extremely interesting.

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