Friday, 14 February 2014

Of Stress and How to Find it

I have to confess to being at a big of low with the Russian language studies at the moment. You see I've just discovered it's even more difficult than I realise and I've always realised its a tough son of a Kalasnikov language.
I soon learnt that Russian is obsessed cases. It has six in all more than in the German language even. But I could cope with this finding for, and like German, the cases follow a logic which once learnt is easy enough to understand and implement albeit after hours of practice. Yes it does mean that a word may have any one of six different forms depending on the role it's playing in the sentence but I managed to cope with this discovery reasonably well too. But what is threatening to push me over the edge here is what I realised on a trip to Dublin and back yesterday. Whilst reading out loud to Mrs P in the car having first got through five pretty tough going pages on Russian pronunciation it dawned on me that Russian letters are pronounced differently in accordance to where the stress is in the word. Hah! Not such a big deal you might think, if, like in some languages, the stress as a general rule falls at the front, middle or back of a word. But in Russian it doesn't. As far as I can tell the stress can fall anywhere and you simply have to remember with each word as you learn it where it carries the stress.
I'm beginning to think I was born 40 years or so too early. Surely by 2050 there will be a pill you can take or at least a headset you can wear that will have you speaking fluent Russian at the drop of a Ushanka...

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