Learn Czech through Russian?

Do you think it would be damaging to try to learn Czech via Russian? I mean, saving all my linkqs (translations,grammar notes) in Russian, and not use any English. I was hoping this might reinforce my Russian vocabulary, while giving my brain a bit of break, and some new novelty at the same time.

My Russian is only just at a low conversational level… do you think it might be too soon to start a new langauge on the side (80% Russian study / 20% Czech?). And as they are both Slavic, would anyone warn against learning these similar languages? I was thinking of the little confidence boost I might get from the comparative ease of now starting Czech with a head start in grammar and vocab from Russian.

Is it dangerous to let curiosity get the better of me at this relatively early stage of Russian?

{note: I’m not trying to be Steve here : ) }

I guess I’m not really the best person to answer this - but I can’t see it doing too much harm if you’re doing 80% Russan and 20% Czech.

(There might even be an argument for switching over to 80% Czech and 20% Russian untill you were well and truly off the ground in Czech…and then doing 50:50…?)

I’d say it depends on your Russian level. If you don’t speak it well enough yet, you might mix it up with Czech, because their grammar might be fairly similar - both are Slavic, but they have their differences nevertheless! I noticed someone commented under one of the latest Steve’s videos in Russian that he started to use Czech noun endings instead of Russian, or something to that effect.

If I were you, I would wait until you feel your Russian is good enough AND would use it to study a non-Slavic language. But that’s just my opinion, so feel free to disagree :slight_smile:

I always prefer to use English as my dictionary language. That is what I am doing with Czech. I tend to stay focused on the language I am learning, and using a third language as interface or dictionary language does not do it for me. I did buy a book on Czech while in Russia, but I can’t say it did much for me. I feel you have to learn each language on its own. But that is just me.

Thanks for the answers. I think I’ll try and hold off getting involved too much with Czech just at the moment then. Perhaps just a glance a few lessons now and again, it’s so interesting to see the connections with Russian.

I prefer my mother tongue, too, when using another language than the target language at all.

The reason is quite simple: I understand German best of all languages. It’s easier for me to grasp the meaning of a new foreign word, if I find both various examples of usage in the target language and a helpful first translation to German. (i.e. I use a good dictonary or I use contextual translations)
It’s impossible anyway to translate one word with one word, so the goal is always to get an idea of the concept of the foreign word (which can be quite different from that of the word of your mother tongue provided as a translation). It starts with easy things. Like: I could translate the English word tangerine to Japanese みかん, which wouldn’t be wrong, but みかん actually refers to a slightly different kind of fruit, however the vocabulary is also used in a wider meaning referring to a variety of citrus fruit. If I study via two or three languages, I might end up with a completely different fruit in the end. And this isn’t just a particulary odd example, this is the case with almost all words.

I prefer both whenever possible as there are also times when a word in L3 originally seems unknown but then becomes obvious when L2 is next to it. Say you already know French and are learning Portuguese and see the word igreja (church). Alone you may just see it as i-gre-ja, i-gre-ja (repeat a few times to remember…) but with French next to it you see it’s just église written differently. Same for falar (parle) and so on.

The other thing is that usually genders are the same for these cognates, and the Portuguese word indicates the gender most of the time with the ending. With that in mind, if you are going from Portuguese to French you now have a reference for the word which helps you remember which gender it is in French.

The easiest way for a quick comparison of two or more languages (besides religious texts, Little Prince etc. translations) is here: