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Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« on: April 06, 2006, 12:39:07 PM »
Seeing as things got a little heated resulting in the other thread getting locked, I thought I better open up a new topic on Anna Anderson, get our juices flowing again.

So, we know Anna Anderson was not Anastasia Nicholaievna from the DNA results.

But, so many parts of her story were so convincing.  Where did she get her information from? How did she 'know' so many languages? Were people helping her? If so, why? Is her story of how she escaped convincing to anyone, or filled with as many holes as the road to Romania?

Any discussion pertaining to Anna Anderson's story can be discussed here, but please, let's keep this CIVIL and ON TOPIC.

Anna Anderson WAS NOT Anastasia, period.  What we're discussing is the aspects of Anna Anderson's story that remain perplexing to us, and how she may have gained the information that helped to convince so many that she was the real Grand Duchess.  What we DON'T want are arguments about why she was Anastasia, or about how the DNA could have been switched; this thread is simply about Anna Anderson's story and how it can, or cannot be explained.

Let's get discussing!

Rachel
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« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Ra-Ra-Rasputin »
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Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2006, 12:48:50 PM »
Ok, so, I'm going to start us off.

On the previous thread, we were back to the languages debate.  

Anna Anderson reportedly spoke all of the folllowing languages to widely varying degrees of ability: English, Russian, French, German and Polish, though the Polish cannot be confirmed.

Anastasia Nicholaievna spoke Russian and English fluently, French very well, and German, if at all, to a school girl's level.  

Now, if Anna Anderson was Franziska Shankowska, as DNA has proven her to be, what languages should she technically have spoken? I've read German and Polish, and I also believe I read that she had a satisfactory command of English.  What I do not know is how well she spoke those languages.

There is a lot of talk about how FS was an uneducated farm girl from the back of beyond, but we KNOW this has been taken out of proportion; FS was not uneducated nor a 'farm girl' in the sense people think of it; ie, poor and rolling around in hayricks, chewing corn.  The family were fairly well to do and there is every reason to presume that FS received a good standard of education.  She was multilingual according to her family.  

So, I believe, there is every possibility that FS could have spoken and understood more languages than she is given credit for, and that any languages she spoke as AA could have been picked up from her prolonged stay in emigre communities and also German hospitals.  We know already that FS was multilingual; clearly she had an aptitude for languages.  Therefore her picking up languages easily is not as far fetched as some may claim.  I think people's opinions of FS's intellectual abilities have been tainted by this misunderstood notion that she was a poor illiterate farm girl, and that simply was not true.

Thoughts?

Rachel
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Offline Annie

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2006, 01:10:39 PM »
Good idea! For me, the last frontier of this mystery is HOW she did it! We may never know, because if anyone helped her (and I think they did) they aren't likely to have left a paper trail or any admission of this in life or death. So all we can do is speculate to try to fill in the holes and the missing puzzle pieces. I feel like I have been very good at coming up with reasonable alternate explainations, though I have been bashed for not being able to back it up with sources, though like I said, this isn't the kind of thing people tell on themselves or write down for anyone to find- ever. So all we can do is guess. We do know for a fact that AA wasn't AN, so when the gaps are filled, we know it needs to come to that conclusion. No more 'but what if..' She's NOT. But, how did she do it?

I'll start with your language question. While it is possible she was multilingual and had acquired skills in her life that no one knew of, I still am not convinced she really knew any of these other languages before she made her claim. The only 'evidence' we have is this person said this or that, many of them are contradictory, and most are only from supporters, making them suspect to me. I don't even buy the 'she muttered language x in her sleep.' Were those who claimed this even familiar enough with said language to identify it in her mumblings? Perhaps they were mistaken, or jumped to incorrect conclusions. If there is NO OFFICIAL record of proof of what she spoke and when, such as a test to prove this, not just one person's word of mouth, I hold to my theory that she knew little if any English, French or even Russian before she made her claim. After that, whomever was assisting her helped coach her on this. No, I can't prove it, but that's what I think. And that's what we're talking about here.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2006, 01:21:07 PM »
I do not understand, Rachel. First you say AA was not AN- dna, then later say she WAS- period.
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Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2006, 01:22:05 PM »
D'OH!

Really should re-read my posts. Thanks for calling that to my attention, Robert!

Rachel
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Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2006, 01:34:37 PM »
Quote
Good idea! For me, the last frontier of this mystery is HOW she did it! We may never know, because if anyone helped her (and I think they did) they aren't likely to have left a paper trail or any admission of this in life or death. So all we can do is speculate to try to fill in the holes and the missing puzzle pieces. I feel like I have been very good at coming up with reasonable alternate explainations, though I have been bashed for not being able to back it up with sources, though like I said, this isn't the kind of thing people tell on themselves or write down for anyone to find- ever. So all we can do is guess. We do know for a fact that AA wasn't AN, so when the gaps are filled, we know it needs to come to that conclusion. No more 'but what if..' She's NOT. But, how did she do it?

This is what intrigues me too.  How did she fool so many people? Where did she get her information from? The sad thing is all we will ever have is theories, because as you say, there's no paper trail.  Oh how wonderful it would be to come across a signed confession 'I told AA x y and z to help her impersonate AN' from Gleb Botkin, or someone else we suspect..perhaps one day something may emerge.

Quote
I'll start with your language question. While it is possible she was multilingual and had acquired skills in her life that no one knew of, I still am not convinced she really knew any of these other languages before she made her claim. The only 'evidence' we have is this person said this or that, many of them are contradictory, and most are only from supporters, making them suspect to me. I don't even buy the 'she muttered language x in her sleep.' Were those who claimed this even familiar enough with said language to identify it in her mumblings? Perhaps they were mistaken, or jumped to incorrect conclusions. If there is NO OFFICIAL record of proof of what she spoke and when, such as a test to prove this, not just one person's word of mouth, I hold to my theory that she knew little if any English, French or even Russian before she made her claim. After that, whomever was assisting her helped coach her on this. No, I can't prove it, but that's what I think. And that's what we're talking about here.

Ok, so, what you're saying is that you don't think AA was multilingual at ALL prior to her claims of being AN? So, we're talking about her knowing German and presumably Polish, and that's it.  Ok. I can accept that line of thinking.  You're right to say that all of the languages she supposedly spoke are based on hearsay, and a lot of this hearsay is contradictory anyway- some people say she spoke x language perfectly, others say she could barely string a sentence together, and so on.  So, it is feasible she never spoke anything but German and again, presumably Polish, until she had been instructed in other languages/around them long enough to pick them up.

What IS interesting though is when spoken to in other languages, AA replied, but only in German, so she must have understood what was being said to her in those languages, even if she wasn't able to speak them.  How can we explain that? I'd be happy to explain that away if AA spoke a Romance language, like French, because if you speak French then you can understand Italian and Spanish and so on even if you can't speak them.  However, German is not from that family of languages, so that explanation doesn't hold much water.  Also, her German wasn't particularly excellent.

I think this points to AA's first language being POLISH.  Was FS's first language Polish? Have I got that right?

Polish and Russian are very similar.  That would explain AA understanding Russian but not being able to speak it.

Doe anyone have any other information or thoughts on this? Please feel free to correct me on my languages if I am wrong.

Rachel
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Offline Annie

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2006, 02:14:53 PM »
Quote


This is what intrigues me too.  How did she fool so many people? Where did she get her information from? The sad thing is all we will ever have is theories, because as you say, there's no paper trail.  Oh how wonderful it would be to come across a signed confession 'I told AA x y and z to help her impersonate AN' from Gleb Botkin, or someone else we suspect..perhaps one day something may emerge.

I serioulsy doubt it, since Botkin's heirs are such huge AA supporters they'd never admit finding such a thing in his papers if they did have it. I do believe they believe he believed AA was AN, because they were the ones who instigated the DNA tests (I wonder how many conspiracy theorists know it was PRO AA people?) While I do think Gleb was a big part of the charade, I think he, like AA, may have come to believe it in later years. It's true that you can convince yourself of a lie until it becomes real. I really don't believe he actually believed her, he knew the real AN well enough and had seen her as recently as the transfer to Ekaterinburg. He is a likely source, since her memories were sporatic instead of excessive, the details sometimes a little off. Whomever was feeding her info (and I DO believe it was more than one source, some intentional, some incidental) had somewhat intimate, yet limited, knowledge of the family, their lives, and their surroundings. The real AN would have known much more. I still don't get if AA was supposed to have had partial amnesia or something?

I also don't think we can rule out people 'lying for money' on her side. AA supporters frequently accuse Olga, Ernie and Gilliard of this, but now that we know AA was not AN, how can we ignore the possibility some of those who 'claimed' her, or helped her, weren't 'in on it' for a cut of the alleged lost fortune? No, we can't prove this, but can we rule it out? Nope. Take Felix Dassel, "man with the pockets." How do we know he didn't tell her that story, or tell one of her supporters to tell her in a setup so she could amaze people? You never know!



Quote
Ok, so, what you're saying is that you don't think AA was multilingual at ALL prior to her claims of being AN? So, we're talking about her knowing German and presumably Polish, and that's it.  Ok. I can accept that line of thinking.  You're right to say that all of the languages she supposedly spoke are based on hearsay, and a lot of this hearsay is contradictory anyway- some people say she spoke x language perfectly, others say she could barely string a sentence together, and so on.  So, it is feasible she never spoke anything but German and again, presumably Polish, until she had been instructed in other languages/around them long enough to pick them up.

For a long time I disregarded all the language comments on BOTH sides, (like the person who said she blurted out Polish in church) because they are all so contradictory and unproveable. If there was never an official test to prove what she could speak and read- and there should have been- we don't know. I can't use all those he said she saids as solid proof.

Quote
What IS interesting though is when spoken to in other languages, AA replied, but only in German, so she must have understood what was being said to her in those languages, even if she wasn't able to speak them.  How can we explain that?

If I could be sure she did, I would believe she knew them, but I'm not. Again all we have are this and that person saying she responded, DID she? We don't know. There is no tape or legal written test to prove this. IF she did, all I can say is, in wartime and postwar Europe she must have been exposed to sevreral nationalities. But she did not speak the languages with the skill or accent AN would have.


Quote
I think this points to AA's first language being POLISH.  Was FS's first language Polish? Have I got that right?

There are debates on this, high and low German (oh wait until bear gets here!) and Kabuchian (sp?) which is a Polish dialect of German?

Quote
Polish and Russian are very similar.  That would explain AA understanding Russian but not being able to speak it.

This seems very logical to me, but I'm no expert.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Annie »

Offline Annie

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2006, 02:27:07 PM »
One other thing I want to address is the court case witnesses. Watching TV, both movies and true stories, you will see that in ANY case, there are people who get on the witness stand and SWEAR what they are saying is true. Some may say Joe was at their house at 11 PM on the 29th so he couldn't have done the crime, others swear they saw him in the store committing the crime at the same time! Some of these people are right, some wrong, some lying on purpose, some simply mistaken. It's up to the jury to decide which side is more believeable, and in many cases, innocents go to jail and guilty go free. But when there is DNA evidence, it takes precedence over testimony as proof. So what I'm saying is, just because someone said something in court and it was docmented doesn't make it absolute truth, in any case, so you have to apply this to AA's case, too. Some of those witnesses were simply wrong, or lying. How do we know? We know she wasn't AN, so anyone claiming she was, was wrong.

What was the point of this post? I'm trying to point out that incorrect testimony is common and is not unique to the AA case, so don't take all those quotes as hardcore proof.

Offline Ivan Komarov

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2006, 04:25:42 PM »
Quote
Polish and Russian are very similar.  That would explain AA understanding Russian but not being able to speak it.
I'm no linguistics expert either, but moderately able to speak Russian and very vague Polish, I can say that Russian and Polish have some similarity, resulting from centuries of Poland being part of Russia. So therefore while AA could have gotten the general idea of a statement or question (much like French to Spanish to Italian), the specifics would probably have thrown her off, since the actual vocabulary - and not the form - is what differentiates Russian and Polish.  

Polish, too, is spelled, pronounced, and inflected differently, and is slower than Russian to a certain degree (in fact, the two don't even use the same alphabet).
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by komarov »
Just in case the fates are kind and you come back someday
I don't want to live without my little Anastasia
Anastasia, your disappearance is the thorn in my side
Anastasia, you know your absence is the thorn in my side

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2006, 09:12:43 PM »
Now, let's see....
FS, according to testimonies from Felix Schanzkowski and Gertrude Ellerik, spoke good German and a little Polish. She did not understand Russian, nor did she speak it.
AA spoke faulty German with a Russian accent when she first appeared on the scene. Among the Berlin police she was known as "die unbekannte Russin" (the unknown Russian woman.) A note in the bulletin of the Dalldorf Asylum stated that she conversed in Russian with the sisters nursing her. Nurse Erna Bucholz stated that AA spoke Russian like a native in 1920. Later, in America, both her cousin Xenia and Nina confirmed that she could speak Russian. A perfectly acceptable Russian from the point of view of St. Petersburg society. In 1938 she was using Russian freely with Professor Rudnev and Albert Coyle, an American colleague of Edward Fallows. But when the Nazis became interested in her case, she shut herself in her apartment, refusing to see her friends and refused to speak Russian anymore.

As for English, Konrad Wahl, inspector Grünberg's grand nephew, remembered AA as a lady who spoke more English than German in 1923. In the summer of 1926, on board a steamer travelling to Switzerland, she expressed a desire to speak English with someone among the English passengers. A woman was kind enough to oblige her by both talking to her and reading English with her. And now it suddenly turned out that AA could read English altogether. Then her friend pushed a notebook over to her and invited her to take a dictation. Mrs. Rathlef, who also reported this incident, was amazed that she could now suddenly write, having been unable to do so for the whole year. She felt AA was quite unaware that an inhibition had fallen away, partly bedause the Englishwoman took in for granted that AA could write. At Schloss Seeon, Faith Lavington declared that AA knew English very well, but "the trouble is to get her to speak."

And then French. Not much to go on here. Agnes Gallagher, who escorted her to America, said that AA ordered breakfast at the hotel in Paris where they stayed en route. "I don't actually know if she spoke French," she said, "but we got exactly what we wanted for breakfast." Later, during the trials in Germany, Dominique Aucleres said that she once slipped into her native French while interviewing AA, and the latter answered back in French, with perfect accent.

Kind regards
Chat Noir

Offline Ivan Komarov

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2006, 10:46:50 PM »
Wow.  My posts are such midgets.

Anyhow, Chat, that was just a great confluence of informative sources - some of the people here, including you, just blow me away with these huge works!

You know, we discuss all these languages AA could speak...so I've got a dumb question because I don't know the answer to it: what languages did AN speak?
Just in case the fates are kind and you come back someday
I don't want to live without my little Anastasia
Anastasia, your disappearance is the thorn in my side
Anastasia, you know your absence is the thorn in my side

ChatNoir

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2006, 11:26:23 PM »
AN spoke Russian and English. She was also tutored in German and French, but did not speak either of them well.

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Offline Ivan Komarov

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2006, 11:46:30 PM »
Now that I think about it...the point I was going to make is kinda stupid.

I was going to say, well, AA may know them but AN didn't, ha ha, which would mean they were definitely not alike on that footing.

But I forgot one little bit of logic - i.e., if she was tutored in French and German, then what would keep her from becoming fluent?

Silly me.
Just in case the fates are kind and you come back someday
I don't want to live without my little Anastasia
Anastasia, your disappearance is the thorn in my side
Anastasia, you know your absence is the thorn in my side

Offline Ra-Ra-Rasputin

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2006, 04:06:11 AM »
Quote
Now, let's see....
FS, according to testimonies from Felix Schanzkowski and Gertrude Ellerik, spoke good German and a little Polish. She did not understand Russian, nor did she speak it.

Is this the same Felix and Gertrude who testified that AA wasn't their sister?
We can't trust anything they say.

Quote
AA spoke faulty German with a Russian accent when she first appeared on the scene. Among the Berlin police she was known as "die unbekannte Russin" (the unknown Russian woman.) A note in the bulletin of the Dalldorf Asylum stated that she conversed in Russian with the sisters nursing her. Nurse Erna Bucholz stated that AA spoke Russian like a native in 1920.

Faulty German with a 'Russian' accent? Who identified this accent as Russian? Someone who spoke Russian and was a native Russian? Or a German? I suspect the latter.
In the Dalldorf Asylum she was said to be speaking Russian, yes, but by GERMAN nurses WHO DID NOT SPEAK RUSSIAN.  Slavic languages, to the untrained ear, all sound very similar. The 'Russian' AA spoke could easily have been Polish.
Nurse Erna Bucholz was not a native Russian, so how she could pass the judgement that AA spoke Russian like a native when she was not one herself is beyond me.

Quote
Later, in America, both her cousin Xenia and Nina confirmed that she could speak Russian. A perfectly acceptable Russian from the point of view of St. Petersburg society. In 1938 she was using Russian freely with Professor Rudnev and Albert Coyle, an American colleague of Edward Fallows. But when the Nazis became interested in her case, she shut herself in her apartment, refusing to see her friends and refused to speak Russian anymore.

Xenia said she spoke 'acceptable' Russian.  Nina said she 'it is not true she does not speak Russian'.  Neither mentioned anything about AA being fluent in Russian, which AN was, so how it matters whether she spoke some Russian or not, I don't know, because if she WAS AN, she would have to speak much better Russian than just 'acceptable' to convince me.

By 1938 AA had been in Germany among the emigre community and supporters for well over 10 years.  I think she would have had enough time to be taught pretty good conversational Russian.

Quote
As for English, Konrad Wahl, inspector Grünberg's grand nephew, remembered AA as a lady who spoke more English than German in 1923. In the summer of 1926, on board a steamer travelling to Switzerland, she expressed a desire to speak English with someone among the English passengers. A woman was kind enough to oblige her by both talking to her and reading English with her. And now it suddenly turned out that AA could read English altogether. Then her friend pushed a notebook over to her and invited her to take a dictation. Mrs. Rathlef, who also reported this incident, was amazed that she could now suddenly write, having been unable to do so for the whole year. She felt AA was quite unaware that an inhibition had fallen away, partly bedause the Englishwoman took in for granted that AA could write. At Schloss Seeon, Faith Lavington declared that AA knew English very well, but "the trouble is to get her to speak."

Both hearsay from people with an invested interest in AA being AN.  If we believed all of this hearsay from random people, not necessarily qualified to make a judgement on the quality of AA's linguistic ability, seeing as the majority of them did not SPEAK the languages in question, so a sentence would sound like fluency, then AA would be the best linguist the world has ever seen.

Quote
And then French. Not much to go on here. Agnes Gallagher, who escorted her to America, said that AA ordered breakfast at the hotel in Paris where they stayed en route. "I don't actually know if she spoke French," she said, "but we got exactly what we wanted for breakfast." Later, during the trials in Germany, Dominique Aucleres said that she once slipped into her native French while interviewing AA, and the latter answered back in French, with perfect accent.

So she managed to order breakfast in French.  Who can't ask for orange juice and croissants in French?  And, Dominique Aucleres again was an AA is AN supporter.  It was in her interests to declare that AA spoke excellent French. Funny that she only did this with Dominique.


I stand by my belief that AA was coached in languages.  She could easily have been taught English and Russian. The people she was around all the time were multilingual, so picking up conversational Russian/English/French etc would not have been difficult.  A lot of people go on trips to foreign countries for six months and come back fluent.  It is not an unusual occurence and perfectly plausible.

Rachel
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Rebecca

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Re: Anna Anderson: The Final Frontier
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2006, 06:55:46 AM »
[size=12]Ra-Ra-Rasputin, I agree with just about everything you say in your post. I would also like to say that you are brave to say that the Slavic languages may sound very similar to the untrained ear - I said something similar in another thread and almost got my head chopped off for it.  :-X :D

I definitely believe that Anna Anderson was coached in languages. Ever since I first read about her "ability to speak Russian" at Dalldorf I have been very suspicious of that whole story. Apparently "all doctors and nurses" at Dalldorf testified that she was "fluent in Russian and spoke freely about matters concerning Russia". All? Dalldorf was a mental asylum, and I cannot help but wonder how come the whole staff there were experts on Russian matters and Russian language.

Later, Anna Anderson refused to speak Russian because "it was spoken in that house" (the Ipatiev house). At Dalldorf she allegedly spoke Russian (it was not impossible for her to speak Russian because of "that house" then...?) but in fact she spoke A LOT more in German. Why, I ask, would she chose to speak German, if Russian was impossible for her to speak (because of "that house"), when English would have been a much more natural and given choice, since Anastasia Nicholaievna spoke English fluently and German hardly at all. The answer is of course - Fräulein Unbekannt, who used to be Franziska Schanzkowska, and was later known as Anna Anderson and finally as Anastasia Manahan, did not speak Russian.

Regarding English and French we only have hearsay as "evidence" of her abilities in these languages. Personally, I do not speak French, but I am sure I could order a breakfast in French if somebody priorly had told me what to say.

I am not sure if Polish was Franziska Schanzkowska's first language or if it was German. We have to remember that in the area where she grew up, German was the "status language". Polish, and even less so, Kashubian, was not. It is therefore likely that the Schanzkowskas said that their sister Franziska spoke "good German" and "a little" Polish or Kashubian (one of her siblings said Polish, another said Kashubian), to "keep up appearences". They may very likely have been equally fluent in German and Polish/Kashubian.

Lastly, I would like to comment something that Ivan S. Komarov wrote.
Quote
Polish, too, is spelled, pronounced, and inflected differently, and is slower than Russian to a certain degree (in fact, the two don't even use the same alphabet).
I am no expert, but to me Polish (and I have some Polish acquaintants) does not sound slower than Russian. In fact, I think Polish sounds very fast. :) And the fact that they do not use the same alphabeths does not imply that they are very different or more distantly related. The use of alphabeth among the Slavic languages is based merely on religion. Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Bulgarians, Macedonians and Serbs are orthodox and use the Cyrillic alphabeth. Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Slovenes and Croatians are roman catholics and use the Latin alphabeth. For all practical purposes Serbian anc Croatian are the same langugage. The differences are extremely minor and does not effect the mutual intelligibility between speakers of Serbian and Croatian. The only significant difference between them is actually the alphabeth used to write them.

Now I will be gone for a few days, but I wish everybody a fantastic weekend, and to Ra-Ra-Rasputin - keep up your excellent work and dito postings! :)[/size][/font]
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Rebecca »