Подушка какая Мягкая.

 

 

Подушка какая Мягкая.

Podushka kakaya Myagkaya.

What a soft pillow.

 

 

Russian is such a beautiful language euphonically, as Professor John E. Malmstad pointed out in an introductory Russian course I took at Columbia University. (Professor Malmstad was co-translator of the symbolist novel Petersburg by Andrei Bely.)

I took both French and Spanish as a high school and college student. I studied both intensively.

It was fun to compare the two Romance languages, both similar in their origins and vocabulary while at the same time (as is always the case with languages) both unique; distinct. Like persons, you like and admire, each one, for the things that make them unique.

It seems to me that Spanish is closer to the original Latin than French. I took two years of Latin in high school. I found Spanish grammar easy to learn.

A notable feature of studying Spanish to me was that spelling is very regular and simple. There are hardly any exceptions. A consonant, for example is either doubled or it is not – doesn’t change for different words.

Which brings us (to quote James Joyce) by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Russian. Russian is very similar to Spanish with respect to pronunciation. Spelling is entirely regular.

And, a notable, major feature of both languages — connected or related to regularity of spelling — is that a given word and spelling dictate the pronunciation. There are no exceptions. Words in both Spanish and Russian are pronounced exactly as they are spelled.

Every language has its own sound, sonority, a unique cadence and rhythm which, once you begin to learn the language, is music to the ear. Now you can “hear” the language, which the untutored can’t.

The musicality of spoken Russian, including the simplest phrases, is undeniable.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   November 2018

 

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