Best way to learn Russian or German?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by juanm, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. juanm macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #1
    Hi!

    I'm considering learning another language (I'm already fluent in English, Spanish and French, the latter two being my mother tongues). German seems like the best idea, but I'm partial towards Russian (I don't know why, I just like how it sounds).

    There's a drawback, though: I'm allergic to grammar. I can recognize a verb, or the subject of a sentence, but that's about it. It's a handicap, really, but for some reason grammar and sentence structure theories are beyond me. My girlfriend is a language teacher and has explained me all those things like a million times but they never stay in my brain.

    I already took a year of German in high school, but didn't really enjoy it because the teacher had a purely grammatical approach that, of course, didn't work with me.

    Is Russian hard to learn for a grammar-challenged mind?

    What would be the best way to learn either language? Is Rosetta Stone really that good? (My girlfriend being a teacher I could use their computers, I guess)
     
  2. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

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    Vancouver
    #2
    consider that Russian requires learning a new alphabet.
    German does not.

    German easier to learn on own.

    Rosetta Stone is OK .
    really depends on how motivated the person using it is.
     
  3. RawBert macrumors 68000

    RawBert

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    North Hollywood, CA
    #3
    German sounds harsh, but still pretty cool. It would probably be easier to learn since it is related to English. Russian sounds like you're arguing. Well, depends who's talking.

    Did you ever consider Japanese? The vowels sound a lot like Spanish.
     
  4. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    Birmingham, AL
    #4
    Also bear in mind that Russian is an inflected language IIRC, rather like in Latin where the ending attached to a word root has influence on its meaning in the sentence.

    I agree with Leareth; German will undoubtedly be easier to learn, but Russian would be more fun IMO.
     
  5. juanm thread starter macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #5
    The Cyrillic alphabet doesn't really scare me. I guess once you know it you're good to go. It's what comes after that might put me off...

    Yes, I've considered Japanese, but that would be learning a language from scratch, without the incentive of my interest in Russian culture.

    Which language has the steepest learning curve?
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #6
    The best way to learn Russian is to date a Russian girl.

    Don't ask your girlfriend what she thinks of that idea. I doubt she'd be a fan.
     
  7. Leareth macrumors 68000

    Leareth

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    #7
    Russian is actually not that bad once get the letters, sounds and endings figured out.

    I speak both German and Russian. for me German grammar is more difficult.

    You could also try learning Czech. is a lot easier for English speakers to grasp

    as to which language has the steepest learning curve : English IMO.
     
  8. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

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    SF
    #8
    German is easier because English has quite a few German-based words in it already and in general is far more similar to English than Russian. I speak (read and write) fluent Russian and in general it's not an easy language to learn for a native English-speaker. Certain words may have several different endings depending on the context. The grammar is more complicated than American English which seems to have lost a lot of original commas in many places. On the plus side, the spelling is generally easier once you learn some basic rules and there are less times (such as present perfect, past perfect, etc) than in English by far.

    I was always amazed how many people born and raised here have poor control on even basic English grammar. People that write things with 's are killing me (like "there were several Honda's and Toyota's" versus the correct "Hondas and Toyotas").
     
  9. juanm thread starter macrumors 65816

    juanm

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    #9
    I meant between German and Russian. Czech is not an option, however: it wouldn't be useful enough for me to justify learning it.

    See, people? This is the kind of "think different" answers I'm looking for! Thanks, Abstract I expected nothing less from you! :p

    Actually, I'm not a native English speaker. Is Russian grammar as complex, as, say French grammar? Being grammar-impaired, I'd have to go the "bourrage de crane" way instead (meaning listening and reading until I assimilate the rules, as opposed to learning the rules first), and for that, it would be much easier to find German media and content.

    I agree about the 's! (see my sig!) ;)
     
  10. Synchromesh macrumors 6502a

    Synchromesh

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    SF
    #10
    I don't know that much about French grammar other than their rather strange pronunciation of various words. Russian spelling is fairly easy as most words are written as they're read with exceptions of some sounds in some words being interchangeable. There always exceptions but it's not nearly as annoying as either French or English where you often have to remember how to write a word versus how it's pronounced as rules are often bent and broken. The actual commas, periods, etc are doable but it will be far from your first step in learning Russian anyway so don't sweat it too much.
     
  11. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #11
    I can't speak for Russian, but if you're going to learn German you will need to understand grammar unless you plan on just living there. Honestly, grammar isn't my strongest area either, but it's something you should know.
     
  12. Sequin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2010
    #12
    I loved learning a foreign language and have a few tips. When I was learning Spanish in school my teacher actually gave us assignments from the Practice Makes Perfect line of workbooks. They make them for many more languages, (including German) are each around 10 bucks each, and I've found them incredibly helpful. In fact, I bought the ones for Italian and have been teaching myself the language ever since. I would recommend the verb tense book and the grammar one especially because those are usually the most helpful.

    They're like a cheap version of a textbook without all the useless random activities and the incredibly high price. I also tried Rosetta Stone, but found it unhelpful, but maybe that's just me. I felt like they associated a word with a picture, which is great for learning words, but I didn't feel like I was learning how to speak fluently. I don't know. I like the whole classroom sort of learning where you learn how to form sentences rather just learn basic words like cat, dog, blue, banana, etc.

    In the end, it's really all about practice. Languages can be hard, but if you find a way that works for you, then it'll be fine. You just got to work at it and make sure you actually remember what you're learning!
     

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