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totoSaturday 15th of January 2005 08:43:12 AM
Differences - Can anybody tell me whats the difference of Russian,Latvian,Ukranian,Bulgarian?
They look so alike to me are these languages related?
ArteumSaturday 15th of January 2005 10:12:00 AM
Differences - Latvian stands out completely from Russian, Ukrainian and Bulgarian because it is not a slavic language. Its vocabulary is very different and, I presume, grammar too.

Ukrainian is very close to Russian and if I speak Ukrainian to people who know only Russian, generally they can figure out what I am talking about, although they would miss the meaning of every fourth word or so. Ukrainian has also some grammatical constructions that are absent in Russian and vice versa. Ukrainian pronunciation is noticeably different from Russian pronunciation. Words that are even written the same are often pronounced differently. Two Ukrainian sounds (double-dot-i and h) are not even encountered in Russian.

Bulgarian is pretty far from Ukrainian and Russian grammatically, but both Russians and Ukrainians can recognize many roots in Bulgarian words. I remember I had a book about chess in Bulgarian when I was a kid, and I could follow the text without the dictionary, often deriving the meaning of the word I did not know from the context.

But again, it looks easy when you see it written. When Bulgarians speak quickly, I will probably understand only some 20% ...
laimuckaSaturday 15th of January 2005 04:26:58 PM
Latvian vs. Russian - Yes, Arteum is right. Latvian together with Lithuanian are form group of Baltic languages. There used to be one more language in this group - Prusian. However, is not existent anymore.

Baltic languages use Latin letters (with some additional, like , , č, ū, ų, etc.) whereas Slavic languages use cirilica.

Grammar of Baltic languages is also different, although they are "verbal" languages just as slavic ones, i.e. endings of verbs change depending on the personal noun.
keaSaturday 15th of January 2005 05:28:31 PM
- The Baltic and Slavic languages are both Indo-European languages but in different subgroups, which makes them related dictantly. So speakers of those languages don't understand each other without learning. But for example I have studied Russian for many years and recently I started studying Lithuanian and my knowlage of Russian has helped me a lot with Lithuanian. The vacobulary is quite different but in grammar for me at least there are lots of similarities, especially in syntax. And also for Estonians Lithuanian sounds similar to Russian when we hear it, only we just don't understand it.
sandmanSaturday 15th of January 2005 09:54:37 PM
- this is right, latvian and lithuanian (and prussian) belong to the baltic group of indo-european languages. this group stands between germanic and slavic ones and has some characteristics that kind of unite it with both of them.

once i've been reading latvian-russian conversation guide and was quite surprised with some words which were very close to their russian counterparts (almost equal). most of them are very close to sanskrit words (both in russian and in latvian). and more, in the comparative or ethimological slavic dictionaries among numerous examples from other slavic languages there is a lot from latvian language, more, than from any other non-slavic language. (e.g. vasmer's ethimological russian dictionary). and in articles on indo-european proto language, examples from slavic languages and latvian language often stand together.
but anyways, russians don't understant latvian without study.

russians can understand written bulgarian almost completely without a dictionary, even some special kinds of texts (technic, linguistic etc). especially if you know, that there's the definite article on some nouns at the end of them (looking as '-ta'), ignoring those ta-s makes the bulgarian almost russian %). but russians cannot speak and understand enough of the spoken language.