Today I had one of my two weekly Russian classes. As I said to the teacher before we started, it's a torture both for me and I think for her as well! I think that I am good at languages - I speak four already. One would assume that it'll not be such a big issue to learn covnersational Russian. I don't have higher aspirations that that! Just to be able to communicate in every day life. Well, I am not sure I'll manage any time soon! Of course, it is much more difficult to concentrate now then it was years ago, when I was studying the other languages. But still! I am putting in the effort. I study. I write the exercises twice. To no avail, so far. This language is SO difficult!!! A Russian colleague confirmed the other day that Russian is probably the second most diffucult language, after Chinese! He was saying this to console me probably, but I am more disappointed since then!
Just to give you a flavour of what I have to face! Firstly, there are two forms of plural for the nouns (I am not sure this is true for all the nouns, but it does not matter...). The first form of plural applies when you are talking about 2, 3 or 4 things, people, etc - or number of things, people etc. that end in 2, 3 and 4, for example 24, 43, .... The second form of plural applies when you are talking about 5, 6, .... up till 20 and then about 30, 40, .... anything ending in 5, 6 or zero. What is the logic behind this???????? It beats me, really! And to make things worse, the terminations of the nouns are not consistent. The words change form in different ways!
Today I learned that there are 6 (SIX!!!!!!) cases for the nouns! In Russian there is still dative case, which was dropped from the Greek language long ago. I'll accept that, as I can understand the meaning and use of the dative (I am still assuming the underlying philosophy will be the same as in Greek, I may fall from the clouds next Monday, when Daria - my teacher - will explain what the Russian dative case is...). The worse part is that there are two cases which depend on the preposition after the verb and before the noun!!!!! In other words, if you put "with" before the noun, then the form is different from the form when you put "in" before it!!!!!!
And the last example, if you are not already convinced: there is only one past tense - I felt some relief when I heard it, as in Italian and in French the past tense is especially difficult. But the terminations of the verb in the past tense do not depend on the personal pronoun! They depend on the gender of the person!!!!!!!!!! In other words, the expression "I thought" has two forms, depending on whether "I" is female or male! What is the logic behind that!!!!
Anyway, it's a real struggle!