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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Slavic Inflection

Portuguese sounds like Russian, to people who don't speak either

24 comments:

  1. I've heard that some people think a "Portuguese Portuguese" has intonation similar to Russian one :-) I don't know what about BR PT, because my mother watched a lot of Brasilian TV series when I was a school student and I always thought that this language has beautiful sound: it is much more soft than Spanish as for me. Maybe it's because the intonation is much more familiar for native Russian speakers :-)

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    1. I live in Brazil I am a descendant of Portuguese, and I agree with you some words has phonetic similarity, for example (escola) школа,(futebol) футбол, ( guarda roupa ) ГАРДЕРОБ, (cómoda) КОМОД , (correspondência) корреспонденция, (música) музыка, (estátua) статуя, (museu) музей. I figured it out when I watched a Putin's funny speech in Portugal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCcPvXdXxZk

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  2. To me, Portuguese sounds like Polish: both have lots of shibilants and nasal vowels.

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    1. To me also. Just returned from Portugal, and had really expected it to sound more Spanish. Instead, I thought at first I was hearing a remarkable number of Polish tourists. As did my husband, who is Czech!

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  3. I think it's the vowel in "pelo", which is similar to the Russian "hard y". It's very rare otherwise, so it seems it could be easily associated with a particular langauge.

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  4. In my early days in the US, I was mistaken for Russian all the time. Now, I am from Portugal. I look Portuguese. Russians would still just assume I was one of them. :) Over the years that stopped happening as my accent improved.
    - Daniela

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  5. I'm half-english, half-portuguese, and it amazes me when people say that european portuguese sounds a bit like Russian. I'd love to know why people think that. Very interesting indeed.

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  6. I'm Portuguese. Once in Ireland a Brazilian waitress in a Pub only discovered, after 1 hour of being there with a group of fellow countrymen, that we were Portuguese. Her words: "I thought you were Russian, so I made no effort to try to understand what you were saying". Malachi, I'm very happy for the first Portuguese Itchy Feet strip! Keep on!

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    1. You're welcome! Maybe there are more on the way...who knows?

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  7. I've had a italian friend telling me that when we first met. I thought she was insane!

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  8. I love the Latin tree <3 but I hate portuguese I dont know why... I'm the only one that think that German sounds like French? Maybe it's similar in this case xD

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    1. I think you do indeed have the dubious distinction of being the first to think that German sounds like French.

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    2. gah, I've mistaken German for French more times than I like to admit too, but it usually doesn't happen the other way around. My native language is Portuguese (Brazilian).

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  9. I think this is a poor and simplistic way to look at it, because on different contexts a lot of people have totally different opinions.
    The accent in Portugal is known for having one of the widest phonologies out there, and two major consequences follow from that. First, there is more room for variation from person to person. Someone that speaks more slowly and a bit louder, specially if the voice has a natural higher tone, it makes a big impact on how the vowels sound overall. Basing opinions on a couple of peasants you heard somewhere, is not enough.

    Second, being the phonetic range more complex than usual, Portuguese in reality does not sound like one language but like many. Outside the usual suspects, like Spanish and French, some parts might sound Italian but i even heard Catalan and Greek and German, yes... German.
    So what's the real connection to Russian in the minds of some? It all comes downs to the "sh" sounds they hear at random. While some people notice and fully expect that some strings of words sound nothing more like a mellow and calmer version of it's cousins, they can't pin point one of them to compare, so they focus on the distinct "sh" sound to try to isolate in their head some language, and they go to a Slavic one, to make fun of it. Clever...

    The problem i have with this "jump", is that, it's a brain fart if i have to be honest, mainly because if i choose a string of 20 words without a "sh" sound and i ask a non-speaker to tell me what language do they sound like, i am willing to bet BIG money that they will NOT pick Russian. I also may add that, i have seen many people comment on some of the nicest portuguese music... and again, if the music happens to have a good string of words with few "sh" sounds, NO ONE connects it to Russian. They just say it sounds sweet and move on. There are portuguese versions from Disney songs, no one connects them to Russian. There are Duets with portuguese artists with others like spanish and italian, and no one connects it to Russian. Only smart asses connect it to Russian because, they hear some words with a slavic sound, but throw a hundred words with a latin sound into the garbage because they don't care about those. Sorry, but i don't buy your opinion. Many english and germanic speakers are just parrots, their languages are very dry, so they have trouble understanding others and repeat the opinions of other frustrated people.

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    1. You don't have to buy my opinion. That's why it's an opinion!

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  10. I turned the channel over on tv and thought I was hearing Russian. Then I was hearing too many familiar Romance words and thought it wasn't right that Russian should have so many -ción and -idad type words (resembling Spanish, which I speak somewhat). It turned out to be Portuguese (very happy to have seen this one, I'm not alone!). I told my 1/2 Portuguese 1/2 English cousin this and he laughed.

    My feeling is that both are very "buzzy" languages, which is how I mixed them up.

    Nowadays I can tell the difference between Russian and Portuguese, having listed to Portuguese a bit more now. But the very first time I remember hearing it I thought it sounded like Scottish Gaelic.

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    1. Your message actually holds a clue to a more sophisticated answer. Northern Portugal and Galicia were home for Celtic Tribes. They have many influences in culture and architecture, even genetic. So... that's the most accurate assessment. The accent in Portugal can be connected to Scottish Gaelic or Irish, exactly because they already had that Celtic accent, before the Romans came.

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  11. I totally agree about the "Portuguese Portuguese" sounding similar to Russian. But the Brazilian Portuguese doesn't sound like that, no way. It's more about the accent, not about the language itself. :)

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  12. Humans "cook" up a language in so many different ways. :)

    To some who haven't been exposed to both Russian and Portuguese languages, the two may seem a bit familiar at first, especially if the speakers are speaking at 1,000 miles a minute. However, once you get to hear them properly, you will hear certain nuances that will soon make you scratch your head thinking "why did I think they were the same in the first place???"

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  13. I, too, watched a video and thought it sounded like Russian, only to discover it was Portuguese. It's so nice to know I'm not alone.

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  14. I'm from Rio, currently learning Russian (absolutely in love with the language*), and I totally get it. A few weeks ago I was having trouble with a Russian tongue-twister, until I noticed that sounded EXACTLY like real words in Portuguese with a heavily slurred "caricature" of a Portugal accent (with a couple of "ы" sounds sneaked in.)

    It's a little much to generalize that "the languages sound the same;" but it's definitely true of parts. Other Russian words or constructions sound, to me, like Italian, ("информация") or even Japanese ("Хорошо!")

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  15. Check out this video of a monolingual Irish speaker. Some people have compared it to the sound of Slavic languages, too!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UP4nXlKJx_4

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  16. Всем привет, я с пикабу. Конкретно заявляю, что русский звучит как русский и никак иначе!

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    1. Russian is similar to a LOT of languages. It is part of the Slavic language tree after all.

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