Author Topic: AA and the Russian Language  (Read 79333 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #45 on: March 08, 2005, 10:59:31 AM »
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Offline Belochka

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #46 on: March 08, 2005, 09:08:00 PM »
Thanks Penny for providing answers to my questions. :)

Personally I would like to see all the Court transcripts which deal with the Russian language issue. That cumulative material would provide a more complete portrayal as to which questions were asked, to whom and what was replied.

From a legal perspective, it is unreasonable to place too much faith with a few selective truncated extracts.

It is therefore impossible to reach a safe conclusion as to:

i. whether "she" spoke fluent cultured Russian as would have been expected, or

ii. whether her Russian was learnt out of necessity for the "project" upon which she was embarking. Did her speech carry contemporary terms relevant to the period? or

iii. was her Russian language knowledge that of a person whose comprehension was more than passable, yet it would be apparent after extensive conversations, that her primary language was indeed another?

Many members of Russian society spoke Russian but with thick French or German accents. Living abroad for much of the year, their perception of what is perfect Russian would be different to that spoken daily in SPb among learned society and in places of higher learning such as SPb University.

We can agree that "she" certainly comprehended Russian, the question is how well? ;)

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


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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2005, 10:14:33 PM »
She obviously understood Russian well enough to translate her replies into German for her interview with Olga.  (It's in the transcript)

Also read Nurse Bucholz's affadavit, part of which you can find in Kurth's "Riddle of Anna Anderson", as to her ability at that time to understand and converse in complete, connected sentences without any impediment, and she did not speak it faultily. This was in 1920 when she was first in Dalldorf.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #48 on: March 09, 2005, 10:02:26 AM »
I do have a question about the Russian spoken by the Romanovs.  If I remember correctly, their first language wasn't Russian.  Nicholas II and Alexandra didn't speak Russian to each other when communicating with each other.  I think they spoke English.  

Nicholas II's first language was what?  Since his father was trying to Russianize his court, I suspect Russian was used.  However, I think German and Dannish  and Russian was his first lanuages.

Alexandra's first language must have been German which faded and was little used  and English  became the dominate and added to this would have been French.

So, who taught Nicholas II Russian?  Did the person have an accent?

Who taught Alexandra Russian?  This would have been her fourth language.  German, English, French and then probably Russian once she was going to wed Nicholas II.

Who taught the royal children Russian?  Did the tutor or tutors have accents?

If AA was to have impersonated by design GD Anastasia, she would have learned very quickly how GD Anastasia spoke Russian. Or was her Russian without an accent which should have been there because her tutor/tutors did have accents which carried over into GD Anastasia Russian?

Those who think the daughters of Nicholas II didn't know German, they are wrong.  They did knew  enough German to communicate with  GRs [German-Russians] who were officers in the Tsar's army and servents.

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

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #49 on: March 09, 2005, 10:10:24 AM »
The question of what languages AA spoke is really strange. It is said that while she stayed at Dalldorf she spoke Russian to two of the nurses there. We have their testimonies that she spoke fluent Russian. There is no reason to doubt this. But she never really spoke Russian after she left Dalldorf exept for some words and phrases. Princess Ksenia Georgievna(Mrs Leeds) said that she once overheard AA speak Russian to a couple of birds. When Ksenia approached her she stopped at once. Ksenia asked her why she diden´t speak Russian "since you know it".  But no she would not do that! But what kind of Russian did she speak? Ksenia said that as far as she could hear it was good,grammatical Russian.  I think she must have had a very compelling reason not to speak it as she always refused to do so when asked. Perhaps it wasen´t the "family Russian" they spoke in the imperial family or among the romanovs. They would have noticed this. She clearly understood Russian as she always seemed to understand. But she always answered in German or later in English. She lived for long periods of time among Russian speaking emigrees like the Von Kleists,Schwabes, Leuchtenbergs etc. But she only used German exept for single words and phrases in Russian. She never tried to convince them that she could speak Russian. This is strange as people always doubted her ability to speak it.  As someone said who saw her in Berlin: "If only she would speak Russian I would recognize her at once because the likeness is great". Something peculiar is also that AA tended to speak a language the surrounding diden´t understand. In Germany she spoke English and in the US often German to her husband Manahan.The source for princess Ksenia´s statement is her nephew David shavshavadze.  

Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #50 on: March 09, 2005, 10:17:07 AM »
If she was GD Anastasia and was constantly asked to speak Russian,  I think her refusal would fall into the category of "being obsinate" and once she had made up her mind that was it.  And being GD Anastasia perhaps there was no need in her mind to prove anything.  She was who she said she was and that was it.  And, this would fall into the character of one known to be stuborn and rebellious.

If she was not GD Anastasia then her Russian might have been quickly reconized by it's accent / dialect as not being the Russian spoken the way GD Anastasia spoke Russian.  That is why I asked who was her tutor/tutors.  Did they have an accent which carried into her so called proper Russian?

AGRBear

PS Please,  there is no need to tell me AA wasn't GD Anastasia.  We're talking about languages.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Offline Annie

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #51 on: March 09, 2005, 11:41:57 AM »
Quote



Alexandra's first language must have been German which faded and was little used  and English  became the dominate and added to this would have been French.


I think English was her first language, having Orchie as a nanny?

Quote
So, who taught Nicholas II Russian?  Did the person have an accent?


I would say his family!

Quote
Who taught Alexandra Russian?  


I think it was Madame Schnieder?

Quote
Who taught the royal children Russian?  Did the tutor or tutors have accents?


Family, they spoke it with their father from babyhood.


Quote
Those who think the daughters of Nicholas II didn't know German, they are wrong.  They did knew  enough German to communicate with  GRs [German-Russians] who were officers in the Tsar's army and servents.

AGRBear


I'm not saying they didn't know it, of course they did, they learned it in school like the others. What I mean (and I'm assuming others think the same) is that it was by far the  least used of the four languages. They spoke Russian to their father (and some to each other) English to their mother and with the family, French to the court. They did know German but it was not used much since their German relations (Ella, Kaiser, Ernie, etc.) all spoke and wrote to the family in English anyway. The point is, if a genuine Anastasia were going to choose one language of the four to make her primary one, German would be the least likely since it had been her least known, and likely the one she was least comfortable with.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline Annie

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #52 on: March 09, 2005, 11:45:57 AM »
Quote
Perhaps it wasen´t the "family Russian" they spoke in the imperial family or among the romanovs. They would have noticed this.  


Good point, could be.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #53 on: March 09, 2005, 11:50:03 AM »
What is Madame Schneider's background?

German?

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #54 on: March 09, 2005, 11:56:57 AM »
While looking for my answer I turned to the chapter titled "Citizen Romanov" p. 447 of Massie's book Nicholas and Alexandra and read:

"Once the children were well enough, the parents decided to resume their lessons, dividing their subject amont the people available.  Nicholas himself became an instructor in history and geography, Baroness Buxhoeveden gave lessons in English and piano, Mlle. Schneider taught arithmetic.  Countess Hendrikov taught art and the Empress religion.  Gilliard, besides teaching French, became informal headmaster."

There is no mention of Russian being taught.

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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #55 on: March 09, 2005, 12:18:30 PM »
I went over to the Schneider thread and found the following:

Quote
Felix,

Most of what I have learned about Catherine is through this website and other sites discussing the Romanovs, though I do have an outline of the Schneider (or von Schneider) line, taken from  which I obtained from a distant cousin of my husband, who lives in St Petersburg. This outline shows Catherine (Ekaterina) as being the daughter of Adolph-Wilhelm born in 1838.  However, according to a journal belonging to my husband's grandfather, Edouard-Adolphe (Adolph's younger brother) born 1858, Catherine (nickname Katinka), is referred to as his cousin, daughter of his father's brother, Adolph.  Too many Adolphs!
Anyway, Catherine was born in 1866 and was educated in England and Germany, particularly Darmstadt.  Edouard 's journal mentions that she also taught the Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna.

The Schneider family received Russian nobility status in 1868 under Auguste Wilhelm, father of Adolph and Edouard. He was married to Catherine Rachette, grand daughter of Jacques-Dominique Rachette, the French porcleain artist who was "recruited" by Catherine the Great in 1779. JD stayed in Russia until his death so all his children were raised in St Petersburg.
Auguste was a university professor and a state councillor. He was born in Reval Estonia but I don't know why he ended up in Russia.

I hope this hasn't been too confusing.


Evidently she taught English but I see no mention of Russian.

>>Catherine was born in 1866 and was educated in England and Germany, particularly Darmstadt.  Edouard 's journal mentions that she also taught the Grand Duchess Elisabeth Feodorovna.<<

Darmstadt was an open city to new ideas so educations of all kinds were important there so  many German-Russians, which evidently included Catherine von Schneider family, sent their children.

So, her languages, as far as I can tell was English and German.  I assume she probably knew French, too, but I don't know.

AGRBear
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by AGRBear »
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

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Mgmstl

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2005, 01:20:59 PM »
Bear, we also have the nurses at Dalldorf stating that she spoke "other languauges in her sleep".  What languages those were, it does not say in Kurths book.

Offline AGRBear

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #57 on: March 09, 2005, 02:38:58 PM »
If AA wasn't FS then we don't have the slightest idea the languages she could have spoken.

My one grandmother, the daughter of a sucessfull blacksmith, from a very small German colonly in Russia, spoke seven languages.

Therefore, we can't possibly know what languages she may have uttered in her sleep.

AGRBear
"What is true by lamplight is not always true by sunlight."

Joubert, Pensees, No. 152

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #58 on: March 09, 2005, 06:04:14 PM »
Many Poles grew up having learned the Russian language in school, since the borders were changing all the time and many parts of Poland often would become parts of Russia and then change again. Is there any way to find out if the area where FS grew up (I think it was Pomerania?) ever taught the Russian language to the children in schools? It's possible that this was the case, which could mean that if AA was FS she could have picked up enough Russian to understand it fairly well and also speak it (especially if she had a knack for languages, which certainly seems to be the case).

Offline Belochka

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Re: AA and the Russian Language
« Reply #59 on: March 09, 2005, 07:18:16 PM »
Helen your proposals are very plausible.

Many Polish citizens certainly learned to comprehend Russian. But then there is "family Russian" and the Russian used in formal public situations, and that used in classic literature.

For PK to suggest in his book that 'she" spoke a few languages whilst sleeping only clouds the issue.

Nikolai BTW spoke perfect Russian ... his voice can be heard on a couple of recordings. I have one brief extract on CD.

The G.D.'s and Alexei would have had to have formal lessons in the correct use of Russian grammar, which is certainly evident in their notes and letters to their parents (although G.D. Marie had re-corrected errors):

There is also a lovely extract from Alexei's Russian language notebook (c.1912-14)

Their Russian language and literature teacher was Piotr Petrov ... a Russian.

Olga and Tatyana had a Russian governess until 1912, Sophia Ivanovna Tutcheva whose uncle was the famous Russian poet Fyodor Tutchev.

See: Nicholas II The Imperial Family (2004) Abris publications for examples of their writing and grammar.
 
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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