Word Stress in Russian

Information about word stress in Russian at russianstress.info


Similarities between Russian and Spanish

Russian and Spanish have many unexpected similarities.

General facts

Both Russian and Spanish are Indo-European languages. They are spoken in vast regions of the world. One is spoken at the very East of Europe, the other is spoken at the very West. Both are official UNO languages.

Both Russian and Spanish have been interesting for people in the USA to learn. Cold War in the past, Latino immigrants today.

Phonetics

Both Russian and Spanish have five vowels. Spanish has a, e, i, o, u. The corresponding letters in Russian are а/я, э/е, ы/и, о/ё, у/ю. The correspondence is pretty close. However, vowels in Russian are pronounced clearly only when stressed. When unstressed, some vowels are reduced. For example, unstressed я and е are pronounced like и, and unstressed о is pronounced like а.

Russian's renown as a language full of consonant clusters is, in my opinion, unfair. It is actually a soft language. Consonant clusters aren't that abundant and it is not difficult to learn to pronounce them. Vowels inserted to avoid consonant clusters are pretty common. As in Spanish (and unlike Germanic languages such as English and German), many Russian syllables end in vowel and words which alternate a sequence of one or two consonants with a vowel are all over the place.

It is a interesting fact that many international words are identical in Russian and in Spanish. For example, the word culture: "cultura" in Spanish and "культура" in Russian, are pronounced the same. Consider the same word in other languages: culture (English and French), Kultur (German), kulturë (Albanian), kultur (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish), cultuur (Dutch, Flemish), kulttuuri (Finish), cultúr (Irish). The languages in which "culture" has a final a are: Brazilian Portuguese, Catalan, Spanish, Galician, Italian, Latin, Marchigiano, Portuguese, Romanian, Sicilian, Valencian, Venetian, Basque, Bulgarian, Czech, Latvian, Polish, Slovak (source: Logos Dictionary).The pattern here is: Germanic languages don't put the final a, while Romance and Slavic languages do. A similar phenomenon can be seen in words such as "system" (Spanish "sistema", Russian "система") and "guitar" (Spanish "guitarra", Russian "гитара").

Grammar

Both Russian and Spanish have grammatical gender. This isn't a great coincidence, because many languages have gender. What really is remarkable about this is that in both languages, letter "a" is used as a femenine noun ending.

Other interesting similarity between Russian and Spanish is the distinction between animate and inanimate nouns in the accusative. A noun is said to be in the accusative when it is under the action of a verb. For example, in the sentences "I see John" and "I see the ball", John and the ball are in the accusative. This is how these sentences look in Russian and in Spanish:

I see the ball. I see John.
Spanish Veo la pelota. Veo a John.
Russian Я вижу мяч. Я вижу Джона.

Let's examine the sentence "I see the ball". In Spanish, the ball is "la pelota". Russian has no articles, so "the ball" is translated simply as "мяч". Notice that the translations of "the ball" are put after the verb "see" without changes.

Now, let's examine the sentence "I see John". In Spanish, "John" is still "John", but the translation of "I see John" isn't simply "Veo John" but "Veo a John". Why? Because John is animated, and, in Spanish, animated things take an "a" in the accusative.

In Russian, "John" is transliterated as "Джон", but, again, it isn't enough to write "Джон" after the verb in order to translate the sentence. You must append an "а" to "Джон". Why? Because Джон is animate.

Yet another similarity: in both languages, the first person plural form of a verb - the form used with "we" - has a letter m.

Words

This is a list of words similar both in sound and in meaning or in structure and meaning. Not all are equivalences. Sometimes it happens that a word somewhat reminds some other word. In no particular order:

  1. нас: nos
  2. вас: vos
  3. мёд: miel
  4. дать: dar
  5. каждый: cada
  6. ты: tú
  7. такой: tal, tan
  8. видеть: ver
  9. день: día
  10. кричать: gritar (English cry, German schreien)
  11. идти: ir
  12. луна: luna (In Russian, the stress is on the а!)
  13. ночь: noche
  14. это: esto
  15. умереть: morir
  16. торт: torta
  17. влюбиться: enamorarse (в-люби-ть-ся = en-amor-ar-se)
  18. тётя: tía
  19. деньги: dinero
  20. короткий: corto
  21. слушать: escuchar
  22. море: mar
  23. менее: menos
  24. молоть: moler
  25. и: y
  26. ни...ни: ni...ni
  27. гусеница: oruga ("gusano")
  28. погасить: apagar
  29. солнце: sol
  30. гнездо: nido
  31. пастух: pastor
  32. труба: tubo
  33. разум: razón
  34. плата: pago (¡plata!)
  35. вместо: en lugar de (в-место)
  36. обитатель: habitante