How to learn a Slavic language a little easier?

I hope you all enjoyed New Year’s Eve and you have some new plans for 2018. This might be for instance learning a new language or travelling as much as possible. I will start the new year with an article about some of the probably most difficult languages to learn namely the Slavic languages. You can see me standing in Kyiv on the picture. This city is more than only the capital of Ukraine. It is the historical birth place of the Kievan Rus’ where the Russian or Slavic People originally come from. Another theory is that the word rus’ comes from the Finnish form ruotsi which means rower but the Finns call Sweden Ruotsi and not Russia. If you start learning Russian or another Slavic language you should know one phonological phenomenon which only linguists know but which can make it easier for you to learn one of these languages. This phenomenon is called liquid metathesis and it refers to the two lateral phonemes l and r which changed their position with the vowels standing before them. I can name you a few examples you maybe wouldn’t have noticed at first view. The Russian word город (gorod) which means city has the same origin like garden in English or Garten in German. This Indo-European word broadly defined means a fenced territory. The original Slavic form was gord. Polish being a Slavic language uses the form gród forming the liquid metathesis with o. In the Eastern Slavic languages Russian, Ukrainian and Belarussian the vowel stands both before and after the l or r which we call full vocalization or полногласие (polnoglasie) in Russian. Czech, Slovak an all Southern Slavic languages use the liquid metathesis with a. The Czech form is hrad which might remind you of Hradčany in the beautiful city of Prague. In Croatian, Serbian or Bulgarian it is grad and you will find this form in Russian, too. It’s because of  religious reasons as Old Church Slavonic was the language of the Orthodox Church and the liturgy. As you know город (gorod) means city in Russian but because of These described influences you will find city names like Kaliningrad or Volgograd in Russia. Knowing the basics of the liquid metathesis now you might recognize that for instance the German word Arbeit is related to the Russian form работа (rabota) which both mean work. I hope that I could make you work learning a Slavic language now a little easier!


One thought on “How to learn a Slavic language a little easier?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s