Monday, January 15, 2007

Serbian, etc.

Serbian is growing on me more and more. The funny thing is, learning this language was completely on impulse. The first Slavic language I was interested in was Bulgarian. I'm trying my hand at that one too, but I didn't add it to the list until a few months after Serbian, so I had grown a tad accustomed to the latter. There are similarities between the two (the Slavic languages tend to have a lot in common with each other, both in grammar and vocab, which can be beneficial when learning more than one), but also plenty of differences. And of course, I can't forget Polish, which I actually didn't like at all, but for whatever reason, changed my mind. To backtrack a little, I was talking about how similar yet different Serbian and Bulgarian are from one another. Adding Polish to the mix, here are a few features of these languages...
  • Serbian and Bulgarian are South Slavic; Polish is West Slavic. Despite this, Serbian and Polish seem to have more in common than Serbian and Bulgarian, at least as far as grammar goes.
  • Serbian and Polish use seven cases each. Bulgarian doesn't use cases, although I think they do use the vocative when addressing someone.
  • Serbian and Polish don't use articles, so no "the, a/an." Bulgarian uses the definite article by attaching special endings to nouns and adjectives, but doesn't use indefinite articles.
  • Serbian and Bulgarian seem to borrow more loanwords, making the vocab a tad easier than Polish, which is often quite different.
  • Serbian uses both the Cyrillic and Latin alphabet. Learning the two alphabets really isn't complicated, but I've noticed that I revert to the Latin a lot, despite the fact I like Cyrillic and don't find it particularly difficult, but when you're used to something, it's sort of natural to lean toward it. Bulgarian uses the Cyrillic alphabet; Polish uses Latin.
Those are just a few basic comparisons I could come up with off the top of my head. Oh, one thing I forgot is that Bulgarian supposedly has a nightmare of a verb system. I have to say that so far, Serbian verbs haven't been too bad. Not sure about Polish, but I expect it's similar to Serbian. I'm still pretty much in the beginning stages, so we'll see how learning three Slavic languages at once goes.

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