The Royal Forums Coat of Arms

Go Back   The Royal Forums > Non-Reigning Houses > The Imperial Family of Russia

Join The Royal Forums Today
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
  #181  
Old 01-20-2009, 09:25 PM
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 795
Fact: It is noted in the journal from the Ipatiev House that the Tsarina twice spoke in German to her daughters, and was told by Avdayev that it was forbidden.
Fact: The workbooks of the Grand Duchesses showed that they studied German "in a serious manner".
Fact: Gilliard's time tables, on display at The University of Lausanne, show the Grand Duchesses scheduled for German lessons once a day while in Tobolsk.
Fact: The Empress wrote in her diary: Tonight I helped Tatiana with a German lesson.
But nowhere does it say that they spoke it perfectly.
__________________

__________________
  #182  
Old 01-20-2009, 10:46 PM
Anna was Franziska's Avatar
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Richmond, United States
Posts: 823
Fact: the family never used German. This is proven by those who were close to them. So what if somebody took lessons. I took lessons. Look at my sixth grade German workbook with my name on it, how I wrote German words in it, yet I know no German. I don't know how many times I have to say or stress lessons do NOT equal speaking, or even really knowing. You even proved this yourself when you said Nicholas didn't understand German. We all know he studied it for years growing up, so you contradict your own post!

The name of the thread is what languages did they SPEAK. And again, you're only trying to come up with some grasping at straws reason why AA used German instead of Russian, English or French and if it weren't for the AA issue, you would not be here and you know it.
__________________

__________________
  #183  
Old 01-21-2009, 02:14 AM
Anna was Franziska's Avatar
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Richmond, United States
Posts: 823
I've been looking around, and all I see is that Nicholas probably was able to read Danish and speak it to some degree, according to Radzinsky and Massie. I have also seen references to Nicky being able to read Swedish but not speak it.
Regardless of what Chat says, there is a difference between being able to read a language and speak it. My Mom used to have a German maid who could read books aloud in English but didn't understand a word she said. Also one of our posters here, Menarue, has told us that though she can read and translate several languages, speaking can be a different story. Many people can read languages but not speak them. Those who actually do know and speak several languages are aware of this.

I found this in a google search about Nicholas and his mother and languages:


From a very early age, Maria Feodorovna was known as Minny in the family. This is also how she would sign her letters. She was fluent in Danish; French; German; and Russian. Not so much in English because it was not a world language on the Continent the way it is now. Her older sister, Alexandra, known as Alix, took lessons in English from Miss Mathilde Knudsen, known as “Miss Knudsen” immediately before her marriage to Bertie. Maria Feodorovna, on the other hand, had a French-speaking Belgian governess by the name of Mlle. Sidone de L’escaille, at Det Gule Palæ in Copenhagen. Mlle L’escaille became Maria Feodorovna’s life-long friend and confidante. Her task was to teach French etiquette and how to be a lady in society.

Maria Feodorovna’s parents, King Christian IX and Queen Louise, spoke a mixture of Danish and German, which was quite the common thing in Denmark at the time. Her mother came to Denmark at the age of three. She was of the House of Hesse-Cassel. Maria Feodorovna would speak German to her mother but following the Danish defeat over Germany in 1864, German was banned. So mother and daughter did not communicate in German after 1864. A German word that was used very frequently in the Danish Royal Household at the time was “bitte,” which means “please.”

Maria Feodorovna’s diaries are in Danish. However, when she was in house arrest in Crimea, she would write one paragraph in Russian if she had a Russian-speaking person in mind; Danish if she had a Danish-speaking person in mind; French when she referred to a French-speaking person, and so forth.

At the age of sixteen, Maria Feodorovna’s first letter to her future father-in-law, Tsar Alexander II, was in French.

For her son, Nicholas (Nicky), and her daughter-in-law, Alexandra (Alicky), she would use Russian and English. Alicky, although German by birth, was brought up by Queen Victoria, which was why she was fluent in English. On her marriage to Nicky, Maria Feodorovna asked Alicky to call her ‘Mother Dear,’ not ‘ Aunty Dear.’

Maria Feodorovna’s letters to her older sister, Alexandra (Alix) were in Danish. Absolutely. Please note here that whenever Alix wanted to enquire about, or send greetings to, Tsar Alexander III, known as Sasha, Alix would always write it in French.

When Maria Feodorovna arrived in St. Petersburg to marry Sasha, she converted to the Russian-Orthodox faith. In Denmark, her Christian names were Marie Sophie Frederikke Dagmar. Dagmar is a Gothic name and was very popular in the Nordic countries at the time. Because the patronymic would be Christianovna because of her father and since Christianovna does not exist in Russian, Tsar Alexander II decided that her Russian name was to be Maria Feodorovna. Dagmar was so Nordic that it did not exist in Russian either.

Maria Feodorovna had already taken lessons in Russian in Copenhagen before leaving for St. Petersburg in 1866. Whenever she wrote a letter to Sasha, she would begin the first paragraph or two in Russian, which Sasha praised her for. Sasha and Minny would speak Russian to one another on everyday affairs. When they discussed more complicated issues, Sasha insisted on doing so in French in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

To her sisters and brothers on the thrones of Europe, she would always write in Danish. It is interesting that her sister-in-law, Queen Olga of Greece, married to her brother Vilhelm, who ascended the throne of the Hellenes as George I, was fluent in Danish. Olga, a Russian-born Grand Duchess, was known within the family as Oli.

From the very day that Maria Feodorovna left Denmark in 1866 and until the death of her father, Christian IX in 1906, father and daughter would write in Danish.

It is interesting that Alexander III and Marie F. used French as the mutual language when discussing something too complicated for her Russian skills, and apparently he had no Danish. French being the language of the court was useful for everyone, regardless of what languages they spoke, to use as a common language everyone knew when there were barriers. How awkward it must have been to have a communication barrier with your own spouse!
__________________
  #184  
Old 01-21-2009, 10:11 AM
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna was Franziska View Post
Fact: the family never used German. This is proven by those who were close to them.
Fact: The journal at the Ipatiev house shows that Alexandra used German with her daughters.
__________________
  #185  
Old 01-21-2009, 11:26 AM
Anna was Franziska's Avatar
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Richmond, United States
Posts: 823
Quote:
Fact: The journal at the Ipatiev house shows that Alexandra used German with her daughters.
It is no 'fact' that Alix used German in the Ipatiev, since we have no proof the guards knew what language was being used. It may even have been French. Anyone who has to take letters to an official in town to have them translated isn't knowledgeable in languages to make such a distinction. Alix was known and hated as "The German woman/German spy" so naturally any language she spoke other than Russian would be taken for German by those who didn't know much about languages. As we've discussed many times before, just because somebody says something does NOT make it a 'fact'. A lot of people say a lot of things, written or not. Some are true, some lies, some errors. While it may be a fact someone says or writes something, this does not make what they said or wrote a 'fact.' You need to learn that difference.

Also the Bolsheviks were certainly not above blatantly lying. They did lie about what happened to the family.

Chat, do you really not believe in AA anymore? Just asking! If you've changed your view since your most recent PMs to me only a few days ago where you still spewed all the reasons she was AA and how stupid I was not to believe it, this is indeed news. My guess is you haven't actually changed your mind at all, and this is merely an attempt to deny the real reason you're in this thread and get the mods to blame me instead of you. I won't be responding to you anymore here on this thread on this topic.

If anyone has anything to say about Nicholas speaking Danish, Swedish or Italian, please post what you know. Thanks.
__________________
  #186  
Old 01-21-2009, 12:41 PM
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna was Franziska View Post
It is no 'fact' that Alix used German in the Ipatiev, since we have no proof the guards knew what language was being used. It may even have been French. Anyone who has to take letters to an official in town to have them translated isn't knowledgeable in languages to make such a distinction. Alix was known and hated as "The German woman/German spy" so naturally any language she spoke other than Russian would be taken for German by those who didn't know much about languages. As we've discussed many times before, just because somebody says something does NOT make it a 'fact'. A lot of people say a lot of things, written or not. Some are true, some lies, some errors. While it may be a fact someone says or writes something, this does not make what they said or wrote a 'fact.' You need to learn that difference.
And since you have nothing to back this up with, I believe that Avdayev knew the difference between German and English without being able to speak the languages.

Quote:
Also the Bolsheviks were certainly not above blatantly lying. They did lie about what happened to the family.
No doubt about that.

Quote:
Chat, do you really not believe in AA anymore? Just asking! If you've changed your view since your most recent PMs to me only a few days ago where you still spewed all the reasons she was AA and how stupid I was not to believe it, this is indeed news
I am interested in the facts, not the fiction that you have provided on several boards during the years. And every time the facts point towards AA being AN, you get paranoid. Have you really so little faith in the DNA?

Quote:
My guess is you haven't actually changed your mind at all, and this is merely an attempt to deny the real reason you're in this thread and get the mods to blame me instead of you. I won't be responding to you anymore here on this thread on this topic.
Right, it is your guess. Nothing more, nothing less.
__________________
  #187  
Old 01-21-2009, 02:31 PM
Commoner
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom
Posts: 18
What are we arguing over?

I would be very surprised if Alexandra 'could not' speak, read or write in German (she was a German princess after all), but am happy to accept that she preferred English and was quite possibly more fluent in it (in the sense that it came more naturally to her).

According to Dominic Lieven's biography Nicholas was fluent in English and French as well as Russian, and his German was also excellent.

There seems to be a fair amount of evidence that the daughters learned German, even in Tobolsk, though possibly less evidence of Alexei learning German.

There were good reasons for Nicholas and his children to learn German thoroughly. Quite apart from dealings with Germany, a considerable proportion of the Russian aristocracy (in the Baltic provinces) was German by ancestry and German-speaking.

Whether they were all in the habit of using German is a rather different matter, and all I've read suggests that within the family circle the two languages in normal use were Russian and English. The Russian aristocracy of the time were bilingual in Russian and French, so I would expect Nicholas and family to speak French within the wider court circle at least some of the time (in 'Natasha's Dance: A Cultural History of Russia, Orlando Figes speaks of members of the Volkonsky family changing from French to Russian and back again several times in the same letter!)
__________________
  #188  
Old 01-21-2009, 02:51 PM
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 795
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalafrana View Post
There seems to be a fair amount of evidence that the daughters learned German, even in Tobolsk, though possibly less evidence of Alexei learning German.
If I remember correctly, Alexei did not learn German. According to Gilliard, he was the only one of the children who really mastered French.
__________________
  #189  
Old 01-22-2009, 01:01 AM
Anna was Franziska's Avatar
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Richmond, United States
Posts: 823
I was just reading Lili Dehn's book and found this interesting:

The pro-German tendencies of the Empress were mentioned after our reverse at Brest, when the Emperor assumed command. Everyone was suspicious of her, and, when she spoke English at the hospitals to her daughters and her ladies-in-waiting, the soldiers declared she was speaking German, and this report once started was magnified exceedingly.

Alexandra Feodorovna and Romanov Russia, The Real Tsaritsa witten by Lili Dehn - Part One - Old Russia - Chapter VI

This is an example of what I was trying to say. Russians who didn't know the difference, but had heard all the stories of her being hated as the "German woman" and a "German spy" heard her use a foreign language and assumed it was German, and made a big deal out of it. This proves that it can and did happen, and likely happened again.

Alexandra spoke to her daughters, as well as Anna V. and Sophie B. in English. She spoke French with Lili.
__________________
  #190  
Old 01-22-2009, 02:56 AM
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Los Angeles, United States
Posts: 795
A snippet from Gibbe's testimony after the murders, found in "The Last Days of the Romanovs":

The grand duchesses spoke English and French well, but German badly. Alexis Nicholaevitch did not speak German at all he never had German lessons* His father spoke Russian to him, his mother English or French.
The emperor was very well educated. He spoke (and wrote) English and French to perfection* I could not judge of his knowledge of German.
__________________
  #191  
Old 01-22-2009, 09:03 AM
Commoner
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom
Posts: 18
I wonder why Alexei didn't have German lessons, given that his sisters did.

I ask this because if there were sound reasons for the girls to learn German, there were equally sound reasons for Alexei to learn German (perhaps more so, since he was intended to be a ruler). The obvious possibility is that perhaps at the time of his death he was considered 'too young'. Is there any information as to what age his sisters started learning German?
__________________
  #192  
Old 01-22-2009, 09:43 AM
Furienna's Avatar
Serene Highness
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Örnsköldsvik, Sweden
Posts: 1,200
Yeah, that's a good question.
__________________
  #193  
Old 01-22-2009, 08:16 PM
Anna was Franziska's Avatar
Courtier
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Richmond, United States
Posts: 823
From the memoirs of Anna Vyrubova:

In his book M. Gilliard has recorded that he was never able to teach the Grand Duchesses to speak a fluent French. This is true because the languages used in the family were English and Russian, and the children never became interested in any other languages. "Trina" (Mlle. Schneider) was supposed to teach them German but she had less success with that language than M. Gilliard with French. The Emperor and Empress spoke English almost exclusively, and so did the Empress's brother, the Grand Duke of Hesse and his family. Among themselves the children usually spoke Russian. The Tsarevich alone, thanks to his constant association with M. Gilliard, mastered the French language.

Pierre Gilliard:

With the exception of Olga Nicolaievna, the Grand-Duchesses were very moderate pupils. This was largely due to the fact that, in spite of my repeated suggestions, the Tsarina would never have a French governess. No doubt she did not wish anyone to come between herself and her daughters. The result was that though they read French, and liked it, they were never able to speak it fluently.

GILLIARD NOTE: Her Majesty talked English with them, the Tsar Russian only. The Tsarina spoke English or French with the members of her suite. She never spoke in Russian (though she spoke it pretty well ultimately) except to those who knew no other language. During the whole period of my residence with the Imperial family I never heard one of them utter a word of German, except when it was inevitable, as at receptions, etc.

Anastasia Nicolaievna, on the other hand, was very roguish and almost a wag. She had a very strong sense of humour, and the darts of her wit often found sensitive spots. She was rather an enfant terrible, though this fault tended to correct itself with age. She was also extremely idle, though with the idleness of a gifted child. Her French accent was excellent, and she acted scenes from comedy with remarkable talent.

Colonel Kobylinksi, who was with the Romanovs and in charge of the family from the time they were imprisoned in Tsarskoe Selo, when they traveled to Tobolsk and the entire time they lived there until they were transferred to Ekaterinburg.
He said of Alexei:

He spoke Russian, French and English and didn't know a word of German.


He said of Alexandra:

She used to speak Russian, English and French. I never heard a German word from her.
__________________
  #194  
Old 01-22-2009, 09:47 PM
Furienna's Avatar
Serene Highness
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Örnsköldsvik, Sweden
Posts: 1,200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalafrana View Post
I ask this because if there were sound reasons for the girls to learn German, there were equally sound reasons for Alexei to learn German (perhaps more so, since he was intended to be a ruler). The obvious possibility is that perhaps at the time of his death he was considered 'too young'. Is there any information as to what age his sisters started learning German?
Yes, how old was Alexei, when he was assasinated?

Maybe it also had something to do with the fact, that he had a poor health? I don't know, it's just a thought...
__________________
  #195  
Old 01-23-2009, 05:27 AM
Commoner
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom
Posts: 18
Alexei was born on 30 July/12 August 1904, so not quite 14 when he was killed.

It did occur to me that poor health might have something to do with his not having German lessons, but why should that be so?
__________________
  #196  
Old 01-23-2009, 07:16 AM
Furienna's Avatar
Serene Highness
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Örnsköldsvik, Sweden
Posts: 1,200
I don't know, maybe they were afraid to put too much pressure on him? But as I said, it was just a thought.
__________________
  #197  
Old 01-23-2009, 07:20 AM
Marengo's Avatar
Administrator
Royal Blogger, TRF Author
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Posts: 14,251
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furienna View Post
I don't know, maybe they were afraid to put too much pressure on him? But as I said, it was just a thought.
Perhaps they only wanted to start German lessons when he had a certain age, and by 1914 it wouldn't be very wise to learn such a language due to anti German sentiments & WWI.
__________________
TRF Rules and FAQ
  #198  
Old 01-23-2009, 01:26 PM
Aristocracy
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: London, United Kingdom
Posts: 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anna was Franziska View Post
Duh. As I explained in a post a page or so back, we're not talking about western Europeans who live in close proximity to several languages and are exposed to them frequently. We're talking about Russians, a hundred years ago, living in remote regions, hundreds of miles from even Moscow and St. Petersburg. These people would be far less exposed to languages than the Americans of today, they didn't even have TV, internet, or common international travel. Also add the fact that most of the Bolsheviks were poor and uneducated, some even illiterate.

Duh indeed. In that case why did you mention Americans at all? Russians would have far more in common with their European neighbours than with Americans who didn't learn any languages and some of whom still don't appear to. Your viewpoint of Eastern Europe at the beginning of the 20th century seems rather bizarre to say the least. The Bolsheviks weren't all the utter ignoramuses you seem to think they were and they didn't all come from dirt poor backgrounds either. Revolutionaries come from all sorts of backgrounds. I'm not saying that everyone in Ekaterinburg was bilingual but don't forget that some of the guards weren't even Russian!
__________________
  #199  
Old 01-23-2009, 01:31 PM
Aristocracy
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: London, United Kingdom
Posts: 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnastasiaEvidence View Post
The girls did NOT study German. There's no evidence of the girls having schoolbooks in German.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnastasiaEvidence View Post
Ferrymansdaughter, you and ChatNoir say that there was German schoolbooks that the children wrote in. I've asked to see photos of it and ChatNoir said that he can't get any photos of them. Nothing more than hearsay. ...
Yes, I'm saying that the schoolbooks in German did NOT exist! .
Okay I'm getting just a tad fed up with this. This is NOT hearsay; we know about these books from the COURT RECORDS. I don't know how many more times to say this but maybe one of the Mods could explain to you that t if the court records and newspaper accounts of those trials say that these books were entered into evidence, then they DO exist.
__________________
  #200  
Old 01-23-2009, 04:28 PM
Russophile's Avatar
Heir Apparent
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Portland, United States
Posts: 4,077
From my Darling Peter Kurth with his permission:
The German workbooks were properly submitted to the second Hamburg tribunal
in 1964 and acknolwedged as authentic by both sides in the dispute. They
were bought at auction by Ian Lilburn, a friend of Prince Frederick and
later of AA herself, who was the only person to attend EVERY session of the
second trial - as an advisor to Mrs. A., he wound up with the rather grand
title of "plantiff's historian" or some such. He was never reimbursed (nor
expected to be) for the cost of the notebooks; neither were they ever
returned to him -- the notebooks, presumably, are still among all the
records of the trial. A point of interest: Lilburn spent a great deal of
money on these items, but not because anyone needed to prove that the tsar's
daughters were tutored in German, as they certainly were -- even Gilliard
acknowledged and identified the German tutor at court, Herr Kleinenberg, who
presumably wasn't hanging around Tsarskoe Selo twiddling his thumbs. No --
the AA party bought the notebooks without being allowed to examine them in
advance, on the off chance that the young Anastasia had left a fingerprint
in a smudge of ink. But she hadn't. In the same collection were her Russian
lessons, dating I think from 1916 (the German lessons continued through the
imprisonment in Tobolsk, taught by Alexandra and sometimes by Tatiana). The
books demonstrate that formally, at least on paper, GDA was a lousy student
-- which also was never a secret -- her grammar and orthography rife with
errors.
__________________

__________________
Closed Thread

Tags
alexandra, imperial family, nicholas ii, romanov languages


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Children of Tsar Nicholas II ("OTMAA") Josefine The Imperial Family of Russia 336 08-20-2014 01:04 AM
Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918) and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix) (1872-1918) gaoshan1021 The Imperial Family of Russia 520 08-15-2014 10:04 PM
Lord and Lady Nicholas Windsor and family: July 2005- iowabelle British Royals 241 05-29-2014 09:34 PM
Native Languages vs. Second Languages Noelle9982 Royal House of Denmark 22 02-05-2013 12:59 AM




Additional Links
Popular Tags
birth charlene chris o'neill crown prince felipe crown prince frederik crown prince haakon crown princess letizia crown princess mary crown princess mette-marit crown princess victoria current events dutch royal history engagement fashion grand duchess maria teresa grand duke henri hohenzollern infanta elena infanta sofia jordan kate middleton king abdullah ii king carl xvi gustav king felipe king felipe vi king harald king juan carlos king philippe king willem-alexander luxembourg ottoman picture of the month pom president komorowski prince albert prince albert ii prince carl philip prince constantijn prince felipe prince floris prince pieter-christiaan princess princess aimee princess alexia (2005 -) princess anita princess ariane princess beatrix princess catharina-amalia princess charlene princess laurentien princess letizia princess mabel princess madeleine princess margriet princess mary queen letizia queen mathilde queen maxima queen paola queen rania queen silvia queen sofia royal russia sofia hellqvist spain state visit sweden wedding william



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:42 AM.

Social Knowledge Networks

eXTReMe Tracker
Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2014
Jelsoft Enterprises

Royal News Delivered to your Email!

You can get the latest Royal News right in your inbox.

unsusbcribe at anytime with one click

Close [X]