Death by cases – the Russian grammar

Accusative or Prepositional

Here’s my background in terms of language – my mother tongue is Filipino, I have learned English since pre-school and I took Dutch classes for 15 months. I speak these languages everyday but none of them really ever bothered me so much with grammatical cases.

So what are grammatical cases? I leave you to Mr. Wikepedia to answer that. This much I know, the Spanish language uses genders (like the Dutch het/de), the German language use gender and four cases. The Russian language uses Cyrillic, has gender and use six cases!!! And I have only learned (barely) three cases – the easiest is nominative and the two other, which have almost sent me to a nut house, are prepositional and accusative.

Here’s the short story when constructing a proper Russian sentence. You have to know your pronoun and your verb of motion, proper preposition, gender of the word, etc.

Here is an example which I have understood clearly today:

дети (subject) идут (verb) в (prepositional) школу (noun). они (pronoun) будут (verb) делать (verb) уборку (noun) в (prepositional) школе. (noun)

Translation: The children are going to school. They are going to clean the school.

In the example below, you basically have to ask the following questions:

Who? (subject and pronoun)
What are they doing, is it past, present or future? (verb)
Where are they going (location, activity, etc)
Are they going to walk or take transportation? (prepositional)
Are they going to an open or close space?(prepositional)
What is the gender of the noun (male, female, neutral or plural)
Does the noun have a soft sign or a hard sign? (for proper writing and pronounciation)

All these hangs on each other. As you may notice, school (школa – female) had been changed twice in these sentences, школу and школе.


Well it is. So confusing and frustrating that it almost reduce me to tears earlier today.

What I am actually trying to say is, I have been here for two weeks and I feel like I have learned so little. I even studied it for a few weeks in Holland and yet I have to re-learn the lessons (and finally understood them clearly) and cannot even have a proper conversation on the street.

I have underestimated the Russian language completely.

Now my concern is, how am I going to sustain my study back home? I have a tutor yes, but will he be capable (and patient enough) to clearly explain to me all these things?

Of course the best way to move ahead is to go back to Russia.

So we all know now where my vacation days will be spent. Maybe I should work during my weekends so that I can go back here as soon as possible.