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Russian cases question

Cases are very difficult for English speakers to understand, let alone use correctly.


I am wondering how important they are to understanding spoken language. For example if I say "большыe" when I should say "большая," yes it's wrong, but people will still know I mean "big." In English, when someone uses "who" when they should use "whom," or "bad" when they really mean "badly," I have no difficulty understanding them.


My question is, when I use the wrong case, which I do most of the time, will people still generally understand my meaning--even if it sounds funny--or are there situations where the wrong cases will greatly change the meaning of a sentence?

Feb 13, 2015 3:31 AM
Comments · 10

Hi Ted,


When it comes to communication vocabulary is king. As long as you know enough words then you should be able to express yourself and understand others. Think of an English equivalent: "Me want eat". It's terrible English but it's completely understandable. However, if the gramar was perfect but missing the word eat, i.e. "Me want er....", well, the point would not get accross.


Perhaps we could answer your question a little better if we knew your motivation for asking it. Certainly Russian grammar can be intimidating for the English speaker, but at the end of the day, it's not too hard you just have to slowly work through it and get used to it. You can still start using and enjoying the language well before mastering all the cases and other grammatical points.


Certainly when I first started learning Russian I was a little confused by the cases, and I was impatient to master them but it was unnecessary. I was having meaningful conversations well before having learned all the cases.


So relax, and enjoy learning Russian. Learning all the cases is important, but you can still happily learn and use the language before you get there. All the best in your studies!

February 13, 2015

Don't scary Ted! It is just in some cases. Of course, sometimes you can have problems, but in general, you’ll be understood. Remember that native speakers not only know the language but feel it.

So, as well as you in English they can build the pattern even if you make some mistakes.
In my school, I work with volunteers from Italy and Poland. We teach English together. They’ve been learning Russian for 2 years. When they make mistakes, I can understand them.

Surely, if you learn Russian for work you need to improve, but it is not a disaster for socializing. 

February 13, 2015

It depends I want to understand you or not))))
For example. My wife (she is Russian to) always use cases correctly but I often don't understand her and especially when she touches upon a question about money))))

Don't worry! Of course everyone will understand you! Im sure.

February 16, 2015

Sorry that second example should be "I want er....".


Clearly Russian grammar is going in one ear, and English out the other! XD

February 13, 2015

Yes, it can change the meaning and it is hard to listen to speech with wrong endings and prefixes. Listening to such speech I feel like listening a robot but not a person.

February 13, 2015
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Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language