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Cultural differences in two languages I need to find out the culcural differences in the Russian and the English languages basing on a text and its translation. I have no idea how I should explain the differences and what I should do in order to find them. Please, could you advice me some books on this theme? I am eager to learn more about the ways/approaches to finding cultural differences between the languages.
Oct 26, 2017 8:42 PM
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Answers · 2
I'm not quite sure what the question/assignment is. Are you supposed to compare the cultural differences between the two languages generally and then illustrate them in a particular text that is translated into both languages? If so, then I suggest thinking about what issues you yourself find very different in English as a native Russian speaker. As a native English speaker who is learning Russian, one basic difference between the two languages that jumps out to me is gender. In English, generally only things that are living have a gender whereas in Russian, every noun has a gender. It seems that most abstract concepts in Russian are neuter (which makes sense to me) but why is a pencil masculine, a pen feminine and an apple neuter? Gender not only affects the case endings of nouns in Russian, but also that of adjectives and pronouns. Moreover, gender even affects the endings of verbs in the past tense in Russian. Another significant cultural difference is that English distinguishes between "a book" and "the book" yet Russian omits "a" and "the." How easy or not is it for you to learn when to distinguish these concepts/words in English? These are just two of several major differences between the two languages. I am an anthropologist and language and culture are always intertwined. For example, in the American Indian Algonquian language family, nouns are distinguished according to whether they are animate or inanimate. However, objects in the environment like streams and rocks are considered animate along with animals and humans. Think what this says about the Indians' cultural view of the natural world and how completely different this is from any European language! It is often only when we encounter differences in other languages that we become aware of the cultural assumptions that are embedded in our own native language. It's a great assignment!
October 26, 2017
I don't know any resources but you could ask for our help on specific parts of your texts. You could analyse the sentences where the translation is not literal, ask yourself why the translated version is different, and ask for other views.
October 26, 2017
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Language Skills
English, French, Gaelic (Irish), German, Japanese, Kazakh, Russian
Learning Language
English, German