Author Topic: Alexandra's Russian.  (Read 36592 times)

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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2004, 02:11:46 AM »
Or she just learned a few basic phrases to "get by" since she probably knew she'd meet some officials early on.  ;)
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline Greg_King

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2004, 02:58:17 AM »
She complained that she felt "cramped" in French and therefore tried to avoid using it.  When meeting important people with whom she had to speak either Russian or French, if she felt intimidated she often used Dr. Botkin as a translator (as his brother recalled) as he was fluent in Russian, German, French, and English-and spoke the latter with Alix.

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Offline Merrique

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2004, 07:34:34 PM »
Ok this is off topic again so I apologise.But I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on the best way to go about learning russian.Which would be better,websites,books,tapes or actual classes?Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Katrina
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2004, 10:46:22 PM »
I would think that classes would have to be the way to go. Since they use an entirely different alphabet than us, books would probably be extremely difficult and listening to tapes wouldn't necessarily give you the skills to write/read.  I think you'd need the one-on-one. I guess it all depends on your drive--I had a friend at the library I worked at who taught _himself_ Russian (and 5 other languages!) and I was just blown away. He didn't achieve complete fluency, but he always wanted to read great literature in its original language. I was in awe of his brain--I barely got through 3 levels of German in college and a few years of French in high school.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline Olga

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2004, 03:21:03 AM »
Quote
he always wanted to read great literature in its original language


To get the best out of any literature, not just the classics, you have to read the text in its original language. Some things get lost in translation, and the general sense is lost. For example, in english Pushkin is okay, a bit slow, but in Russian he is wonderful.

rskkiya

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2004, 09:01:50 PM »
Olga

What a spendid point about Pushkin...Poets especially are really at their best in their native languages!

Regarding Alix's " accent"  and whether it was "German" "English" or even noticable rather depends on who is making the judgement...Kerensky thought it rather german...but how familiar was he with that language? Was her French also oddly accented ?

 In the long run she may have recieved her accent from her first language teachers...My Russian teacher is from Siberia-- so friends from Moscow & Petersburg wince at my odd mispronunciations...  :)  Add to that my midlands burr and its rather a miracle that anyone can understand me! ;D

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2004, 09:28:24 PM »
I have said this in another thread, but it bears repeating here. I had a dear wonderful friend, a genuine Russian Princess of Moscow. Once I asked her to read Pushkin for me from a volume she had from the library of GD Dmitri Pavlovitch...a gift from him.  I had heard that pre revolution spoken Russian was described as sounding like "silver troika bells across fresh fallen snow.
She put the book down. and recited Pushkin for 20 minutes without a stop, in perfect aristocratic Imperial Russian.
While I understood little, the sound itself was beautiful and INDEED silver troika bells across fresh fallen snow. Modern Russian is, no offense intended, coarse in comparison to hear.

Offline Olga

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #22 on: July 01, 2004, 04:11:06 AM »
Spasiba, rskkiya! At you don't have an Australian accent like me! ;D

Offline Olga

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #23 on: July 01, 2004, 04:40:26 AM »
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Take for instance "The Kitchen Boy". I bought the Dutch translation. In this translation Nicky is called Nico!!!  >:(  :(  >:( I'm still horrified.


I'm horrified that they call Nikolai Alexandrovich......Nicholas!! Aaaarrrggghhhh!!

Enough of ORPNC  :-X
(Olga Rodionovna the Pedantic Name Corrector)

Offline kensue

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #24 on: July 01, 2004, 09:24:15 AM »

I think in the eyes of the Imperial Court, Alexandra could do nothing right.  I'm sure after 25 years in Russia, she spoke the language very well.  She picked up the nuance of the language, she read russian novels and she probably even knew the slang.  This was a young woman who came to the Court  already speaking three languages (German, English and French).  Picking up a fourth language would not have been that difficult but with the pressure placed on her from Nicky's family and the rest of the court, she had a mental block that made speaking very uncomfortable and she probably made mistakes quite often.  When she first arrived at Court just after the marriage, she was criticized for having a terrible french accent and after the revolution, GD Zenia Alexandrovna criticized Alexandra for not speaking russian with the family.  She just couldn't please anyone in the extended family.  I think she deserves an "A for effort"!

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #25 on: July 01, 2004, 09:40:30 AM »
Quote

I'm horrified that they call Nikolai Alexandrovich......Nicholas!! Aaaarrrggghhhh!!

Enough of ORPNC  :-X
(Olga Rodionovna the Pedantic Name Corrector)


To be fair Olga,
Nicholas/Nikolai signed his own name in English as "Nicholas", so I think we can let that usage remain as acceptable. I mean, he called HIMSELF that in English, so we English speakers can do the same, no?

Offline Olga

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #26 on: July 02, 2004, 02:37:15 AM »
I still think Nikolai, being the devout Russian man that he was.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #27 on: July 31, 2005, 10:40:46 AM »
I have to add that Olyga and Tatiana did write in perfect Russian as a real russians. I mean that in the diaries ,  they wrote like an ordinary russian girls - without special grammar errors . They used the proper words and nobody could say that it was written by foreigners.

But Alex P, thank you very much for your post. It is so intresting and valuable.

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #28 on: July 31, 2005, 11:15:37 AM »
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 My late grandmother, who was quite present at Court and involved in the doings of the Nobility, shared many memories with me over long years.



Alex P. how very interesting! Welcome to the forum and I look forward to reading your grandmother's memories if you will be kind enough to share some of them!

Offline AGRBear

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #29 on: July 31, 2005, 03:12:49 PM »
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Greetings all. I am pleased to be on this Board.  Personally, I have many memories to share with all of you here from family members who were close to the last Most August Imperial Family (an English rendering of the Russian titles).

In the interim, I would like to congratulate all who post here for keeping these memories alive..

There have been various postings here and there on this Board about the actual quality and command by the Empress of the Russian language.  Many of the comments have been gleaned from books and second-hand sources.  My late grandmother, who was quite present at Court and involved in the doings of the Nobility, shared many memories with me over long years.

And if there is one thing that I can affirm, it is that both the Empress and the children spoke and wrote an extremely primitive version of the Russian language.  The Empress could not make the declinsions at all, and when she spoke in Russia, there was no case and no declinsions present.  Not in the beginning not at the end.  The children additionally did not and could not make proper use of the declinsions in Russian and this is witnessed by both their writings and by those who had the opportunity to hear them speak on repeated occasions.

The Empress actually spoke Russian with an exceedingly strong English accent (not a German one) and it would be very fair to say that much of the everyday goings-on of the family were conducted in English (of all languages), even though French was the language of the court.  And on this note, the Empress, quite unfortunately, did not have more than a cursory knowledge of the French language.  She never mastered the French "u" to any serious degree and she had a decided problem with the French "r".  I remember my grandmother stating that the Empress spoke French as well as Mazarin.  By all of my grandmother's accounts, and those of her friends who were "dvorianini", the Empress Dowager spoke both impeccable French and English, a very Parisian French and a very Royal Family English.

It is only fair that we should respect all of Their Memories, given their tragic end.  Nonetheless, please allow me, now and then, to correct, or add to, or modify, certain small points of historical inaccuracy that appear on this Board.

With all of the best,

Alex P.


How very very interesting.

I'd really like to know which family/families to whom you are related who knew/ know the Royal Family, however, you probably do not wish to reveal this to us.  And, that is fine.

Without knowing who you are or your family,  you may recieve some posts which indicate they may think you have false information.

Some may claim your family is wrong about Alexandra's abilities in various languages.

Please, if you are  genuine, don't let these posters frighten you off because your information is important to us all.

So, assuming you ar genuine,  thank you for the information.

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
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