15

I've been living in Georgia for half a year and most of my friends are fluent in Russian.

I've been focused on learning Georgian rather than Russian so far. But when I want to learn some Russian too, am I likely to pick up some bad habits by learning from Georgian speakers?

As a native English speaker, I know the kinds of mistakes otherwise-fluent German native speakers make in their English. What are some Russian equivalents?

2
  • never try to learn russian from georgians )))) inever ever. trust, i am georgian, just have a look in georgian language wikipedia, and then russian, pompletely different, georgian is caucasian, russian is slavian
    – user5591
    Jun 12 '15 at 1:49
  • they often use he instead of she (and vice versa)
    – el Dude
    Jun 14 '15 at 13:15
24

As a native Russian speaker married to a native of Georgia, I can say that the most common grammatical mistake is the ending differences on adjectives between masculine/feminine/neuter types. There is no such distinction in Georgian.

For example, "დიდი კატა" ("big cat") in Russian would be "больш**ая** кошка" or "больш**ой** кот", depending on whether you are talking about a female or a male cat respectively, while "დიდი სახლი" ("big house") in Russian would be "больш**ой** дом" - notice the difference in endings. This one of those things that people learn eventually, but it takes time - and the feel of the language.

At the same time, I'd say that the most common pronunciation mistake is the difference between hard/soft letter "l" in different words. For example, in Russian, word "слушай" ("listen") is pronounced as "slushay" - with hard "l", whereas you could more than often hear from Georgians "слюшай" ("sljushay") - with soft "l". And the same happens the other way around, for example, with word "соль" ("salt" - with soft "l" in Russian), which I hear Georgians pronounce as "cол" - with hard "l". I'm not too sure of the exact reasons, possibly because there is only letter "უ" ("u") in Georgian, which, when follows a consonant, makes that consonant hard-sounding. To make it soft-sounding, it would go with "ი", e.g. "იუ" after a consonant.

There's an old Russian joke about it (any Georgians reading this, please do not get upset, I have very deep respect for you and your culture):

Учитель русского языка в грузинской школе говорит: "запомните дети, поскольку понять это невозможно: слова 'сол' и 'мол' пишутся с мягким знаком, а слова 'пошель' и 'нашель' - без.

Roughly translated into English it would be:

Russian language teacher in Georgian school is saying, "Memorise this, children, because it is impossible to understand: words sol and mol (English salt and moth respectively, in Russian with soft 'l' at the end, here expressly with hard 'l') have soft 'l' at the end, while words poshel' and nashel' (English went and found respectively, in Russian with hard 'l' at the end, here expressly with soft 'l') have a hard 'l'.

7
  • 2
    If I'm not mistaken, it's interesting that the mistake is always to treat female objects as male, never the other way around. Jun 15 '12 at 6:53
  • 1
    @VitalyMijiritsky You're pretty much right. This is usually due the fact that in any dictionary adjectives would be translated into the masculine form. So when somebody looks up a word in a dictionary, they come up with a masculine version of it - and they use it without fully understanding the whole masculine/feminine difference.
    – Aleks G
    Jun 15 '12 at 7:59
  • +1 The joke is spot-on. There are many things in Russian that must be memorized, because they are impossible to understand. Nov 25 '12 at 22:37
  • 1
    Georgian people I know speak with more familiarity than they intend to. They tend to use forms and synonyms more suitable for friends party than for casual job moments. They don't want to be like that, that's just the way they know Russian. Nov 28 '12 at 7:27
  • @ dasblinkenlight i disagree; the Russian language is extremely logical. one needs to memorize stuff, but everything is logical to me (English native)
    – VCH250
    Jul 11 '15 at 5:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.