Sweet dilemma: Russian or Polish!?

For those of us who like complexity, the Slavic languages really do press most of the buttons! But which Slavic language to go for?

In many ways Russian seems like the natural and obvious choice. It’s easily the biggest guy on the Slavic block. Leaving aside all of the political BS that some people get hot and bothered over, Russia is quite simply a very big nation - with loads of native speakers, loads of literature, etc. And quite a lot of Russians don’t speak English - which is not quite so much the case in Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, etc. I’ve been dabbling with it for years, and each time I come back, I surprise myself by how much easier it seems “this time”. One of these days, maybe I’ll tip over some threshold and start really getting stuck in?

BUT there are drawbacks too: I know that, realistically, I won’t ever live in Russia, I won’t ever be able to have much direct contact with Russian speakers.

Now POLISH on the other hand…well…anyone here in the UK will immediately get why that isn’t such an eccentric choice as it may at first seem!

Over the last 10 years or so there has been a MASSIVE wave of Polish immigration into the UK. In the town nearby to where I live there there are three Polish stores - one of them a quite big supermarket. Many bookstores have a Polish language section. You can see and hear Polish at any moment of any day just by walking the streets - literally!

If I were a linguistically romantic deviant (perish the thought, of course!) I could probably get myself a Polish speaker as regular girlfriend! (I once heard a fellow language enthusiast describe this as a “pillow dictionary”, BTW!)

So…Russian or Polish? Polish or Russian? Decisions…decisions…!

(Surely not BOTH of them? I’m not actually going to do THAT to myself…am I? :-o)

I absolutely love this problem. It is a dilemma I often have to fight myself on with the tempting drop down bar at lingq… There are so many wonderfully interesting countries and languages it is often hard to stick to one!

I will say this: reading with russian alphabet makes things much slower in the beginning. It is easy to learn but picking up words through listening and reading as you are not quite good at reading the alphabet is cumbersome because of the phonetic weirdness of slavic words when you first start.

English: look
French: regarder
Russian: vyglyadyt (written as) выглядит

So it will be quicker out the gate with polish.

Having an EU passport (at least for now) makes travel to poland much easier than russia and waaaayy cheaper. If you like travel and cool, vibrant cities polish is great with Warsaw and Krakow. Also polish people will love you for taking the time to learn their language. They are really friendly.

However don’t underestimate the Russians, there are lots of them as well, especially in Germany as Russians seem to be flocking into the german business sector for some reason. On top of that you will never run out of interesting things to read about culture, history, and literature for russia… and russian is absolutely essential for travel Inside russia… and you could connect with russians in a way that few non slavic westerners ever do.

Honestly you can’t go wrong either way either way because once you fall in love with the slavic world you will go on to learn the other.

I say listen to some clips of the languages side by side and go with your gut instinct on which one you think sounds cooler and will be more fun to try and speak.

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Russian is the second most used language online, after English. If you want to use Russian, you can. Also, Russia is not an expensive place to travel to or through, and you can even get a multi-year travel visa to save on visa application costs. Russian culture arguably constitutes a civilization, given its breadth and depth, and Russian can be used to have a vast array of experiences, from exploring Central Asia, to taking in the Russian Museum while staying at the Hotel Angleterre in Saint Petersburg.

I know from your posts that you are something of a classical liberal. I think learning about the illiberality apparent in many aspects of Russian society will be interesting for you. It’ll be frustrating at times, but you’ll be able able to put a lot into perspective. If anything, in just the short time I’ve been able to understand Russian and discourse with Russians, it has made me more sure of my convictions.

Not to turn this into a Brexit thread, but they’re still going to be able to go to Poland visa-free when independence goes into effect… Us Yanks exited Europe before Europe was a thing and we can travel to as many places as you :stuck_out_tongue: We can even study in Europe, and work there when we graduate!

I too like these types of problems. With my personality, it makes me research the potential pluses and difficulties of both sides. That’s why it was a blast when I was shopping for a new computer (which I’ll add, the tablet mode is GREAT for LingQing!)

For the media side, I would say Polish. There are so many promising movies I’ve seen on Amazon Video from Poland. It’s really difficult to find GOOD available Russian and Ukrainian movies without resorting to torrents.

This is what’s making me want to learn German, because the media is more plentiful.

Resorting to torrents? Pirating movies is part of the Russian experience!

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Oh, yes, it is!

I underrstand this dilemma.
Almost all Slavic countries are more available for the Europeans than Russia.
The culture of Poland and the most of other Slavic countries are closes to European culture abd European ‘values’ than the Russian culture and the Russian scale of values.
The alphabet of the most of slavic languages is based on Latin letters, but not in the case with Russian or Ukranian.
But the areal of Russian is much bigger than the areal of Polish or Czech, the Russian literature is more interesting and richer.
The Russian culture, the Russian life style is a new continent for European like maybe the Chinese culture.
If you like to discover something really new , the decision is obvious - Russian.
But everyone decides for himself.
And one more note: all slavic languages are very similat to their Grammar and to their vocabulary, maybe like the Roman languages.
Someone who starts learning one Slavic language, can in the future study without a lot od difficulties one or two other Slavic languages.


The thing about travelling is true. But I guess the point about Polish is that I don’t need to travel - there are 1000s of Polish speakers living not far from me here in SW UK…! :slight_smile:

(But I do like Russian though.)

I find Russian the most easy to speak Slavic language. Czech, Polish, all from countries nearer to Europe, are terribly difficult to speak correctly … I recommend Russian. The alphabet is very easy to learn.

“The Russian culture, the Russian life style is a new continent for European like maybe the Chinese culture.”
Not my experience. It’s just a life with less daily conveniences and less access to good cheese.

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I never understood people that became afraid of learning Russian due to the alphabet. From all the anecdotes I’ve seen, even after just a few minutes of learning the alphabet, it’s very reasonable, especially to an Anglophone.

I must say, I hope someday, Russian film makers will make a good movie about World War II (like Band of Brothers quality). I want to see Battle for Sevastopol, it looks pretty decent.

You can find a lot of Russian films of all gentres in YouTube, just write РУССКИЕ ФИЛЬМЫ there in the searching box.
There are a lot of Russiab folms about the WW2. The question about the quality is disputable. For example, I like a lot iof classical Hollywood films but I don’t like all these modern films with the artificial effects.
The same about Russian films - I like some Soviet films about the WW2, for example В БОЙ ИДУТ ОДНИ СТАРИКИ, ХРОНИКА ПИКИРУЮЩЕГО БОМБАРДИРОВЩИКА, БАЛЛАДА О СОЛДАТЕ, ИВАНОВО ДЕТСТВО, ЛЕТЯТ ЖУРАВЛИ, ГОРЯЧИЙ СНЕГ, БЛОКАДА, ОСВОБОЖДЕНИЕ etc. but I like less the modern films with these specIAL effects like СТАЛИНГРАД, СЕВАСТОПОЛЬ, ОПАЛЕННЫЕ СОЛНЦЕМ-2 ETC.

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yandex.com, поиск “смотреть онлайн …”

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Yes, there are a TON of Russian movies of all genres available online, and it seems every second one is about the Great Patriotic War. That’s not at all surprising, given the enormous impact the war had on Russia. Quality of the films, of course, varies greatly.

Soviet-era war movies, especially, tend to be formulaic – brave proletarian lads best the evil fascist invaders. Things tend to be portrayed a bit grittier in the late Soviet era and beyond. There are a number of very vivid and earthy movies about the Afghan war and the Caucasus.

It’s kind of peripheral here, but I totally agree with the assessment of recent Hollywood! After the 1970s (which I would see as the last golden age of HW cinema) there have really only been a small handful of outstanding films, IMHO.

Really, you could say the rot set in when Roman Polanski was forced to flee US jurisdiction on account of (things!) and base himself in France.

Moral of that story: young movie directors! Avoid drugs and don’t go to parties at Jack Nicolson’s house!!

I’d vote for Russian because it has more lessons and tutors on LingQ.
It’s not so easy to find a Polish tutor here to practice. I had chances to talk in Polish on LingQ and online, the people is very friendly.
But it is not easy to find content, the Polish users are not very active in adding lessons to the LingQ library. There are tones of lessons with audio available here in Russian.
I have studied almost all the Polish lessons here. But it seems impossible to listen to all the Russian lessons.

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“Sweet dilemma: Russian or Polish!?”

Well, I am not really one to give reliable dating advice. I went for Russian, but it’s really up to you. Go with your heart. Or your brain (well, the brain that is currently receiving the larger supply of blood).


(There was a cute little Russian number when I was 27…Ah, the memories of youth…)

I’d say ‘try both and pick a side’ :slight_smile: