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Resources For Studying Slavic Languages

Studying foreign languages familiarizes one with the history, geography, culture, and traditions of another country. It helps to better understand and interact with people from different countries. This guide recommends sources available at the UO & more.

Indo-European Language Tree: Slavic Branch

Slavic Branch of Indo-European Langauge Tree

Welcome to Slavic Languages Study Guide

Slavic languages are included in the Indo-European language family. They are historically considered to be close to the Baltic languages. The similarity between these two groups—Slavic and Baltic—is reflected in the theory of proto Balto-Slavic language which in the process of development was separated and divided into Proto-Baltic and Proto-Slavic. Find out more about this from an Encyclopedia Britannica article by Viacheslav Vsevolodovich Ivanov and Wayles Browne.

Slavic languages are presently divided into three main branches: East Slavic languages (Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian), South Slavic languages (Bulgarian, Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, Serbian, and Slovenian), and West Slavic languages (Czech, Polish, and Slovak). There is also Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic, a language used by the Eastern Orthodox Church during church services.

But how do you learn the languages above? Outside of classes, there are many ways to develop your language skills, such as listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Here are some examples of ways to do this.

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Music: Listening to music is a very fun way to immerse yourself in a language. While you might not understand all of it at the beginning, it is a fun way to track your progress by going back to songs you listen to years later. 

Listening to recordings for beginners: This is good practice when you are first learning a language, it is good not to overwhelm yourself with overly complex speaking. 

Podcasts, radio etc.: At a higher level, listening to anything in the language of your studies will be beneficial to you. 

Films and other media: Connecting images and actions to words and phrases can offer a different way for your mind to make connections. It can also develop your visual memory. Adding subtitles to your media in any language can also help with comprehension as well as add to your vocabulary. 


Books, online newspapers, and other textual materials: This will help solidify good grammar. It will also enhance your general comprehension of the language, and your reading comprehension. It may be a good idea to have a bilingual text to read at a lower level, so you can easily look at words that you do not know in your native language. It is also important, especially as a beginner, to read out loud in order to improve your skills. 

Writing skills

Practicing writing can aid in your ability to remember words, as well as your penmanship, especially if the language you are learning has a different alphabet. It’s also a good way to practice forming sentences and improving your grammar skills.

Speaking skills

Speaking will come in time. It is important not to be afraid to make mistakes while conversing. Repetition and memorization of songs and phrases is excellent for improving your oral skills. If you are a beginner, it may be a good idea to ask a native speaker to assist you with pronunciation.

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