RUSSIAN LANGUAGE: A COMPARATIVE STUDY
On Russian language in comparison with Hindi and English.
For whom this text will be of some interest ? Only for the young Indians who think about their career in military, diplomatic service or foreign research, in business abroad, in medical, IT and in other humanitarian and technological spheres.
The knowledge of Russian made it possible to burn Karachi port in December of 1971 without loss of Indian navy sailors’ lives, though it was well defended from the attack from the sea and India’s missile small boats were supposed to be sunk by Pak heavy artillery in the port defence. Instead the Karachi port was burning for 3 days and there was no loss on Indian side as Pakis took the communication betwen the Indian boats and Bombay Naval Command for a communications between Russian ships in the Arabian Sea. The Russian language was a WEAPON against Pakis in this raid. And who will guarantee that this knowledge will not be useful for some commanders from a platoon level and higher in not so distant future ? It is good for an officer to win the battle and stay alive instead of heroically falling in the battle.
AS TO OTHER GOVERNMENTAL SERVICES THE KNOWLEDGE OF RUSSIAN IS ALWAYS A PLUS FOR PASSING EXAMS TO ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE AS ENGLISH LANGUAGE KNOWS EVERYONE TRYING TO PASS IT… Be a sort of a unique applicant.
About the Karachi raid click for the link in the first my commentary on this postind as FB does not allow two links in one posting.
THE RUSSIAN ALPHABET AND PHONETICS
1.The Russian alphabet is on one hand is different from English or Hindi alphabet yet on the other hand it has a number of sounds very similar either to English or to Hindi languages.
- In a way it is closer to Hindi as the manner to pronounce some “general “ sounds in Russian and in Hindi is quite different from English which makes both Russians and Indians speak English with a noticeable Indian or Russian accent that cannot be “hidden”.
Indians also speak Russian with an accent but it is different from an English native speaker accent.
On the other hand Russians who know Hindi or any other non Dravidian language spoken in India ( may be a Dravidian also but I have not heard any RUSSIAN who speaks one of the Dravidian languages ) – they can easily speak English with an Indian accent as it is easier for Russians to pronounce it in “Indian way” and the melody of Hindi speech is closer to Russian language as compared with English.
- Russian language does not have sounds with “h” in the end – we say “but” ( words in English , further marked by one letter “E”. For Hindi we shall use letter “H”)
Letter “b’ sounds exactly like in Eng. “ BUT” or in Hin.. – BAAT” yet the letter “T” sounds in English a bit differently but in Russian and Hindi it sounds the same.
Yet in Russian there are no sounds like “bha”, “pha”. “tha”, etc. therefore Russians change, if needed, soft “h” for a “hard “ kh” which sounds a bit more soft than in a word “ KHATAM” but more hard than in a word “ BHAAEE” ( H).
- In Russian we do not use “long” and “short” sounds which make the meaning of the words different. Like “ Is ne to kuchh kaam kiya magar bahut kam kiya. Zyaada karne ko taiyar nahin tha”. Kaam and kam are different words.
The “long” and “ short” sound “ A” makes the meaning different , like in English “ship” and “ sheep” ( bakra )
- Instead Russians ( as Angrezi ) use “stress” that in some words is a sort of a substitute for a long sound.
We say “ mAma” ( Maata (H) but we will never say “mamA” – like French say with the stress always at the end of French words. British will also speak “ mother” with the stress on the first vowel sound and never in this word “ in a French way”.
For Russians it is easier to speak a Hindi word with ONE long Hindi vowel because in a way it replaces the stress. Because, as if naturally, this word is pronounced for a Russian year as if with a stress on the long vowel. The same , in reverse, can be applied to Indians speaking Russian who should remember that stress does not mean the long vowel but it is just a stress exactly like in English.
- Indians while speaking Russian almost always pronounce the consonant sound “L” in an Indian soft manner like French do for this sound . But in Russian it can be pronounced in soft and an a “ hard” way and often it changes the meaning.
I remember with a smile when I remember as Indian students from Russian languages classes in the Soviet cultural centre in Delhi sang from the stage some Russian song with words in Russia – “ Vse my delim popolam-popolam” (spoken in India “ half – half”) But pronouncing in Indian way this “ popolam “ –( like in “Palam” aeroport pronounced in English way before renaming it ) the words sounded as “ popolyam-popolyam” that in Russsian means “ by the fields – by the fields”. Change of a hard “L” for a soft one changed the meaning of the word.
In fact in Russian there is a special letter which is not pronounced separately but it means that the sound BEFORE it is a soft one. In the alphabet it is like “ P” but upside down – “ Ь . Unfortunately it is not always used in the middle of a word and only a combination of sounds hint that the sound is soft. Like in that example – “ by the field- by the fields_ -“ popolyam-popolyam” does not have a soft sound letter before “ L” though in this case it is pronounced soft, not hard. There are some rules but many things have to be remembered only in oral practice.
- Another difficulty in Russian pronunciation is the sound resembling “I” but we have both – “ i’ and another sound for which there no sound in Hindi and English. Some foreign speakers just cannot it pronounce and change it with “i”. It does not change the meaning of the word but makes it sound funny.
For instance ethnic Georgians NEVER can pronounce it and they say “ trubi” ( pipes), “ mishi” ( mice) … I smile while writing this “mishi” as it sounds funny))
Yet peoples from Central Asia pronounce this sound exactly as Russians do as this sound is there in their Turk family of languages. In Latin alphabet we use the letter “Y” for this sound though the sound as such has no relation to an English “Y”
- We have one more version of thе sound “ i” – so called “ i- short”. In Russian alphabet “ normal “ i “ is like N but as with “P” and with soft letter “ Ь the Russian “i” is also “ upside down”. Like this – И and a short “i” is like this Й
As to “ unpronounceable” deep throat “ ‘i” it is depicted as Ы ( upside down
English “P” and normal but capital English “I” written without interval.
One more Russian letter has an equal sound an Hindi and English as the first sound in “ Shri ( H) od “shop” ( E) . But it has no Latin equal letter even ‘upside down” – It is depicted as Ш
So as sound and letter “M” is written ( In capital letter only the same) as M and you already know the letter “i” and “ deep throat i” – you may try to read your first word in RUSSIAN.
And that will be “ chuhiya” in plural =) “М Ы Ш И»
Though ethnic Georgians pronounce it as “М И Ш И =)
Let as add three more Russian letters –
Д is pronounced as “ d’ like in “ek deen” ( H) or “a day” ( E) …
“В” is pronounced as “ V and not as“b” in Latin alphabet, it sounds like in “ vaapas (H) or “vintage”,
And one more letter “ E” that is pronounced not as “ i- ee” in English but as in Hindi the first word in- : ye baat” “ ye aadmi”
So we can read ( not pronounced yet because of «Ы» =)
Д В Е М Ы Ш И (dve myshy ) – two mice – do chuhiyan.
But what about three of them ?
To read it one must know two more letters. ( dve – feminine or dva– masculine in Russian).
T is like in English “ tea” or in Hindi “ to” – Voh to achha aadmi hai
P is not “pa”in Hindi but it is like “ra”. Like in Ram (H) or “ read”. “rail” in English. Yet it pronounced without specific English “R “ but exactly as in Hindi “Ram, Raj, Rajdoot “ The sound is exactly the same.
So we can read now in Russian about these “teen chuhiyan” =)
It is like this – “ Т Р И М Ы Ш И “ ( tri myshy ) Three mice.
There are some exceptions in Russian – it is written as “ tri myshi” but it is pronounced as “ tri myshy: – the last “i” is a deep throat “i”
But in Hindi we also write “hain” but we pronounce it not exactly so.
Take notice that TWO and DVA, THREE and TRI are the same words with not much difference how these sound.
With Sanskrit the difference in “ how they sound” is even much less.
Letters , Name of letters, Sound values
( The names are as in Devanagari – not sonds but NAMES as “ ya, ra . la. va/ etc/ Or in English – ei, bi. ci, di, ef, ji/ etc… )
А а А а ah ah – andar. anteem, anda
Б б Б б be b – beta, bekar, berozgaari, baat
В в В в ve v …. – vaasatav, vaapas, vishva
Г г Г г ge g —– goonda, gaalat, galti
Д д Д д de d —– dena, deen, dost
Е е Е е ye after a soft consonant e as in let;
at the beginning of a word or syllable ve as in yet mez/ mEra
Ё ё Е е yo yo – like in English the first sound in Your
Ж ж Ж ж zhe zh ) like in in the middle “ pleasure”
З з З з ze z like in Zindabaad
И и И и ee ee — itihaas. inqalaab, intazaar
Й й Й й ee – kratkaya Y —–Like the last sound in English “ Boy”
К к К к kah k ——-kaam. karna, kab
Л л Л л el l log, lagta hai, lena… But not always soft as in Always in Hindi/ More like in in English -a lot, laugh, let it be”
М м М м em m — maata, mez, magar, maamuli, mimkin
Н н Н н en n ——nadee, naya, navigation in Engl/
О о О о o o – like in English – pot, hot, more
П п П п pe p —– peena, pita ji, paap, parampara
Р р Р р er r —— Ram, Raj, Rajdoot
С с С с es s — sena, sainik, Svatantra
Т т Т т te t —– tab, to, tera
У у У у oo oo —- ummeed, uupar. uncha
Ф ф Ф ф ef f —- In English – fake, false,
Х х Х х khah kh —- khatam ( but more soft )
Ц ц Ц ц tse ts —– no exact similar sound. Only in the beginning of a famous Latin “ceterum censeo carthaginem esse delendam” – in the beginning of “ceterum censeo”
Ч ч Ч ч che ch —–chaaval, chahta hun, mez par koi cheezen
Ш ш Ш ш shah shch In English – Shop. shore
Щ щ Щ щ shchah shch —- no exact similar sound. Close to English “ shit” =)
ъ ъ tvyordy znak (disjunctive) The letter of Hard sound (separately not pronounced)
ы ы i I – “no exact similar sound. “ a deep throat “ i”
ь ь myahkhkeey znak (soft sing) The letter of Soft sound (separately not pronounced)
Э э Э э e e (as in well) as in English “ Back” but more “ narrow” sound”
Ю ю Ю ю yoo yoo, oo —– as in English “ You”
Я я Я я yah yah, ah —- as in “yakeen”
So as one can see there are very few sounds that have not similar sounds in Hindi or in English. It seems that Ы is of Turk origin and Ц is of Latin origin, though Latin also belongs to Indo-European family of languages.
Yet it is better to hear it in video which I will add to this text. Inshallah ! =)
( TO BE CONTINUED )
Read also “Sanskrit and Russians”