Two Slavic languages at the same time

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alchimist

Member
german
Hi,

I just started to learn Russian because I become aware of my Russian ancestry. However I started actually to learn Czech since I have been too Prague twice and found it would be fun to learn a bit the language, just for fun. However I started almost 3 years ago for some time, then abandoned it because of lack of time. Now I restarted since some months but didn´t even finnish my first textbook which I bought back then. I have covered may be one third of it, but never spoke Czech to anybody.

So now that I am very keen to learn Russian, should I put Czech to the side or can I learn it from time to time when I am in the right mood? How is it too learn two slavic languages at the same time?
 
  • Nayali

    New Member
    Latvian, Russian
    My reply is not very precise as I`ve never studied Russian as a foreign language and I don`t know Czech - so I apologize for taking your time possibly in vain.

    Studying two languages from different families simultaneously is no problem at all, but studying the two that are related may be a bit tricky.

    I have experience with starting Portuguese when my Spanish wasn`t too perfect - that didn`t go well.
    I had to stop with Portuguese (though I ve been in love with that language soooo much ever since) as it interfered with my Spanish immensely.
    The two have enough cognates for me to constantly mix`em up and lose it: which one of the two similar words I know belongs to which language?
    It was especially annoying in every day situations when you have to think fast. I started calling things in Portuguese. Spaniards are extremely tolerant to such weirdnesses and just bore with me, but every day I was embarrassed to find myself asking for "cebola" instead of "cebolla" and myriads more stupid things, and eventually decided to back out.

    I think when you know some language really well already, there`s no problem to start a new one which is related, it`s even a plus to do so, but until then - I for one failed.

    I can not say if Russian and Czech do in fact have a lot of related words. I know I understand Bulgarian and Polish well enough as a native Russian speaker, but I`ve never been to Czech Republic, so may be in your case there`s actually no danger, check it out and good luck!
     

    Jennifer Weiss

    Senior Member
    Russian
    My reply is not very precise as I`ve never studied Russian as a foreign language and I don`t know Czech - so I apologize for taking your time possibly in vain.

    Studying two languages from different families simultaneously is no problem at all, but studying the two that are related may be a bit tricky.

    I have experience with starting Portuguese when my Spanish wasn`t too perfect - that didn`t go well.
    I had to stop with Portuguese (though I ve been in love with that language soooo much ever since) as it interfered with my Spanish immensely.
    The two have enough cognates for me to constantly mix`em up and lose it: which one of the two similar words I know belongs to which language?
    It was especially annoying in every day situations when you have to think fast. I started calling things in Portuguese. Spaniards are extremely tolerant to such weirdnesses and just bore with me, but every day I was embarrassed to find myself asking for "cebola" instead of "cebolla" and myriads more stupid things, and eventually decided to back out.

    I think when you know some language really well already, there`s no problem to start a new one which is related, it`s even a plus to do so, but until then - I for one failed.

    I can not say if Russian and Czech do in fact have a lot of related words. I know I understand Bulgarian and Polish well enough as a native Russian speaker, but I`ve never been to Czech Republic, so may be in your case there`s actually no danger, check it out and good luck!
    Although I agree with certain difficulties that may arise while learning Spanish and Portuguese at the same time, I would not say Russian and Czech are that similar. I'm not really fluent in Russian but I know its ABCs. Whenever I am confrontend with a text written in Czech, I am at a loss for words -- I merely can't make head or tail of any sentence. In short, I do believe learning Russian and Czech simultaneously might be less challenging.

    On a side note, I, too, have a vast experience in learning various languages at the same time. When I was a child, I had to learn Swedish as we were about to move to Stockholm with my mother tongue being Icelandic. Icelandic is tremendously different from other North Germanic languages in terms of everything: grammar, pronunciation yadda yadda yadda. When I realized I could not adequately undergo this horrible ordeal, I decided to tackle Norwegian -- a more similar language to Icelandic -- to use it as a jump pad for my Swedish studies. In short, I ended up learning both Swedish and Norwegian at the same time, drawing far-fetched parallels between them and Icelandic. It was pretty difficult all the way through.

    Also one day (a couple of years ago in fact) I tried to peek into Italian while learning Spanish (I was around my current below average level). It turned out difficult as well (fair enough, I dedicated 90% of my time to Spanish and from time to time turned to a voluminous Italian textbook). Right now I can't say a thing in Italian (which is understandable). It was pretty useless.

    However, I've had a positive experience, too. Some time ago I got interested (a pure scientific interest) in Dutch. My German knowledge suprisingly helped me leaf through a good half of introductory chapters instead of thorwing more obstacles at me. I was not bogging down at all. It was unexpectedly cool.

    Thus, I do think the following:
    1) You need to adequately assess your capabilities, eagerness (I do set the bar too high at times and hate myself for not being able to live up to my expectations)
    2) You need to split your time in a reasonable proportion (surely you can focus on one language, but don't igrone the other without lowering your expectations in the first place) (I didn't do this with Spanish and Italian)
    3) Don't be too harsh to yourself (self-loathing is meaningless)
    4) You just need to try

    By the way, I don't want to be rude but I don't think you're in the right place to ask this question. No one can give you a good answer; you're the one who can decide for yourself. I suggest you try and tell us how that was.
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Learning Russian after learning Czech may be easier because of many common features in their morphology. On the other hand, the differences may become particularly troublesome (and there is quite a few of them). And, of course, you'll be learning Russian pronunciation from scratch, the languages have remarkably little in common in that regard.
     
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