Author Topic: Alexandra's Russian.  (Read 36590 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #30 on: July 31, 2005, 03:22:19 PM »
Was Alexandra's first language "High" German?

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2005, 03:38:57 PM »
No, Alexandra's "first language" was English.

Oh, and dear Bear. AlexP, is a Pushkin, at least according to his email address. If that is accurate, his stories may well be true. I cannot vouch, however, for the accuracy of his being a Pushkin. But he does post from his claimed location of Shanghai.

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Offline Georgiy

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #32 on: July 31, 2005, 04:00:21 PM »
I might add that my wife Olga who is from Moscow, hasn't found anything strange or unusual in Grand Duchess Olga Nicholaevna's diary entries, or maria's for that matter (though she commented on Maria's messy handwriting) - perfectly normal, grammatical Russian, albeit with abbreviations, as we all do when we write diaries. She said the slang is different though, which is hardly surprising considering the diaries were written nearly a century ago.

Offline Arleen

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #33 on: July 31, 2005, 04:06:14 PM »
Dear AlexP,

Welcome to our forum.  I for one, would like to have ANY memories that you care to post here for us, on any subject.  Especially ones about your own family.

..Arleen

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #34 on: July 31, 2005, 06:46:52 PM »
Speech and writing are often entirely different.  I for one speak and write Hebrew quite well, but my ability to read is less good.  

I write French better than I speak it.  I write Spanish better than I speak it.  I don't even know how to write words in Romanian, but I can have a very basic conversation about food and the weather.

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2005, 07:03:07 PM »
True, but I think if a Grand Duchess was writing in Russian that seemed perfectly normal to a Russian person, it suggests she had a normal command of the language. Also that they wrote their diaries in Russian rather than English (as Empress Alexandra did), it would suggest it was their first language, or the one they were most comfortable in.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #36 on: August 01, 2005, 03:01:06 AM »
I thought that Olyga and Tatiana wrote the diaries of 1916 at night - after they returned  from hospital .....

Comissaire Pankratov in Tobolsk was keeping to say  that they were like completely common russian middle-class girls just less- educated.

Anyway I completely agree with AlexP that the diaries were not very private thing. I just thought that they  let the tutors fix the diaries till they were 16-17.

But , I would like to say once more that your information
is very very intresting and we would like to hear  more and more from you.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #37 on: August 01, 2005, 05:27:53 AM »
I am refleshir up peu and would like to say that
I do not think that the GD's diaries of 1916 was checked by a tutor: They wrote very fast , it is very hard to read
(i.e. it takes time to understand their handwriting), which means that it was not rewritten things.
And physically they had not time to be checked.
Their schedule for 1916 almost was unchaged.
They spent practically all time in the hospital. Frm the morning till night.

But it is just my way of thinking. Maybe I am wrong.
The other point that the diaries are quite simple .
There are not long sentences ( so called Tolstoy sentencees) there.

Offline hikaru

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #38 on: August 01, 2005, 07:40:37 AM »
But if they lived on Millionnaya - they were Romanov related or very rich people. Others had no palaces even a small apartment at Millionnaya street of St. Petersburg. ( I doubt if there were any small apartments in that area)

Offline hikaru

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #39 on: August 01, 2005, 10:24:15 AM »
Really, Is this that house?
When I was a student of Oriental Studies Department of Leningrad University we had  gymnastic classes at your ball room  every week.
Yes , it is true. Now students can not enter there.
in 1902 Baedeker no much ifm about Millionnaya:
" Du Champ-De-Mars on revient a la place du Palais par la Millionnaia. Dans cette rue, au coin de la Tsaritsynskaya , les casernes du regiment de Pavlovsk, a dr. L'Ermitage , et a g., en face, les archives de l'Empire, edifice bari de 1883 a 1887"

Offline hikaru

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #40 on: August 01, 2005, 10:36:13 AM »
Maybe because of the war or because of the bad relations with Germany they were unable to speak German?

Offline hikaru

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #41 on: August 01, 2005, 01:05:55 PM »
Accent - is  a very intresting thing.
As for me - in case if I am speaking Japanese and English at the same time, I speak English with Japanese accent, but not with Russian one.  

I was told about my Japanese accent one thousand times.
I can speak English near to  the proper "queen" accent but  not together with Japanese. ( If I think in Japanese, my accent in English will be Japanese)

I think that the same thing was with Alex.  She thought in English so her accent was English one.

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #42 on: August 01, 2005, 05:10:54 PM »
Accents can be very interesting to study. And some people are very lucky that when speaking a foreign language they don't have a trace of their mother tongue, but I think the great majority of people do, and depending on the listeners temperament this can be very grating. As for myself I do not have a foreign accent in japanese, and Russians tell me the same about my Russian, but I am suspicious about that! They'd catch me in an instant if I was reading aloud because I don't know where the stress falls a lot of the time in words I don't know. One time I was walking home I heard two people speaking Japanese behind me, a male and female. The female was Jpaanese, but I knew quite quickly the male wasn't, although he had almost no trace of accent. He could not however pronounce the Japanese syllabic 'n' properly. It is more a vowel than a consonant, and he was pronouncing it as an English N. Apart from that you wouldn't be able to pick it.
Now, I don't know German, so I may be wrong, but isn't German also an inflected language like Russian? So if the Empress was a fluent German speaker, surely it wouldn't be too difficult for her to get the hang of another inflected language and be able to master all those different declensions. I personally have great trouble with it, though can usually understand the various declensions when someone is speaking Russian to me, but apart form a few cases that I know well, and can use with ease, I have no confidence in my Russian grammar, and I expect it is quite Anglicised.

I also think like Hikaru, the diaries, in particular that of GD Olga from 1916 were probably written without supervision.

Offline Georgiy

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #43 on: August 01, 2005, 11:43:29 PM »
Not knowing them personally, I guess we can't really answer the question as to what their Russian language was like. I still don't think however the diaries were supervised writing. I have seen a photo of the inside of GD Maria's diary. Her handwriting is a messy scrawl. However in supervised classroom work with her tutors, she writes neatly and legibly. Surely if her diary was done under some form of supervision or model the handwriting would be tidier. :-/

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Re: Alexandra's Russian.
« Reply #44 on: August 02, 2005, 12:56:06 AM »
Alix was raised by an English mother and English nanny.  She spent a ton of time in England with her grandmother.  She was surrounded by Engish speakers.  I would imagine that her ENglish was better than her German.  Or at least that she had an English accent.

I speak English with an American accent, Swedish with a Swedish accent, Hebrew with a yemenite accent (because that's who I lived with when I learned conversational Hebrew!) and in my sleep, I speak Swedish or, often, English with a Swedish accent!  Go figure!