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  #1  
Old 03-14-2008, 07:54 PM
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Languages spoken by Nicholas, Alexandra and Family

Did Alexandra learn Russian?
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Did Alexandra learn Russian?
How fluent she was, I don't know. I remember references in Massies N & A and "A Lifelong Passion" that Alexandra had Krillic <sic> lessons for writing in Russian.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:46 PM
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I think she spoke some Russian, but they Nicholas and she communicated in English. She only wrote to him in English and vice versa.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Did Alexandra learn Russian?
Yes, she spoke Russian.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by COUNTESS View Post
I think she spoke some Russian, but they Nicholas and she communicated in English. She only wrote to him in English and vice versa.
English? I thought she was German? But maybe he never learned German, while he did learn English?

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Old 03-14-2008, 09:02 PM
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I am sure she spoke German, but her grandmother, Queen Victoria, had them around a great deal and she spoke English to them, although she could, certainly, speak German. All their letters are in English, in their own hand. I have no idea why Nicholas spoke English so well. His mother was Danish and his father was Russian/German. Today, everyone speaks English, but in those days French was often the common spoken language. It was in Russia. Nicholas spoke French, but Alexandra did not.
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:26 PM
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Alexandra learned Russian, but never spoke it very well. She spoke English and German most of the time; her daughters and son learned French, although I can't remember which of them was supposed to have mastered the language very well.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:04 PM
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English? I thought she was German? But maybe he never learned German, while he did learn English?
Grand Duchess Alice brought along some English maids with her to Hesse. Alix, her daughter, had an English nanny.

Alix took some of her mother's English maids and nannies with her to Russia and it was from these maids that OTMAA got the majority of their first experience of learning English.

In fact, on a joint sailing trip with Edward and Alexandra with the Wales children, Edward realized that the young Russian tsarevich and grand duchesses were speaking Cockney, thanks to their English maids and was horrified.

In Massie's book, he describes Alix as speaking mostly English with Nicholas and speaking Russian with a very heavy accent.
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Old 03-15-2008, 10:44 AM
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Pikul also mentioned Alexandra Fedorovna mastered the Russian much faster than expected. However, she used the Russian language when it was really really necessary.
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:17 PM
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I am sure she spoke German,
Fate of the Romanovs lists that Alix spoke German to OTMAA and the guards warned her not to speak that several times.
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Russophile View Post
Fate of the Romanovs lists that Alix spoke German to OTMAA and the guards warned her not to speak that several times.
Though Alix and Nicolas could speak German, their children didnt and the language was never used in family. Alix thought of herself as an English princess.
From OTMAA only Olga and Tatiana were taught German, but only about a year and they didnt master it at all. They spoke Russian to their father and English to their mother, and sometimes durign the captivity they teased the guards with speaking French to them and among themselves.
Alix would never use a German language in her family after WWI was declared, even her letters to Ernst of Hesse were in English.
When you think about it all, it is possible Alix spoke Enlish to her children, and the guards who knew only Russian, thought it was German. After all those languages have same roots and are similar in a way.
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"My darling sweet dear Papa!!...I hope you have got a good picture of Alexei, and you show it to everybody...
Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot....
Tatiana is as stupid as ever...
I kiss you 1 000 000 times, your hands and feet. I salute you. Anastasia." www.freewebs.com/romanovsisters
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Old 03-18-2008, 06:06 AM
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Well, English and German are not that similar anymore, and they weren't that similar one hundred years ago either. But of course, Russians who didn't speak any foreign language could still have mixed them up.

And I'm sorry, but I have to ask this: What's OTMAA?
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:07 AM
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Acronym used by Tsars daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia was OTMA. When speaking about Imperial children, lots of people use OTMAA - they include Alexei to it.
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"My darling sweet dear Papa!!...I hope you have got a good picture of Alexei, and you show it to everybody...
Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot....
Tatiana is as stupid as ever...
I kiss you 1 000 000 times, your hands and feet. I salute you. Anastasia." www.freewebs.com/romanovsisters
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Old 03-18-2008, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Velkoknezna Maria View Post
When you think about it all, it is possible Alix spoke Enlish to her children, and the guards who knew only Russian, thought it was German. After all those languages have same roots and are similar in a way.
I'd like to know your sources for this comment other than conjecture.
Penny Wilson and Greg King had sources in Russia for their findings. I'm at work, otherwise I'd list the bibliography sources and the passage so you can see that Alix spoke German to her daughters.
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:22 PM
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I have read several book son the matter, but I cant recall the exact names or the authors, because I do not own them and I only borrowed them from library.
But I also read memoirs by various people who knew the family, and they all agreed, that Alexandra never spoke German unless she had to. She was raised by English nannies and English mother and later Queen Victoria, her husband and she always wrote letters to each other in English and all letters from Alexandra to her daughters are in English also.
Why would she spoke German to OTMA, when only Olga and Tatiana knew the basics anyway? I think that what Wilson and King wrote about German conversation with OTMA, is either one of the "legends" or simply mistake of Russian guards.
It was said, that when Alexandra spoke Russian, she had a strong English accent. But common people thought it was actually German accent.....
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"My darling sweet dear Papa!!...I hope you have got a good picture of Alexei, and you show it to everybody...
Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot....
Tatiana is as stupid as ever...
I kiss you 1 000 000 times, your hands and feet. I salute you. Anastasia." www.freewebs.com/romanovsisters
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:51 PM
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Interesting that you vehemently deny Alix spoke German when she was a German Princess.
Interestingly you dismiss a historical biography painstakingly written by two highly accredited authors as "Legend" and put more emphasis on the memoirs of "family members."
I have read hundreds of memoirs of people--famous and not so famous--and I can tell you that there are things that they "selectively remember." I think everyone should be aware of that when studying history.
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:41 PM
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She was German princess, but raised in family where English was the main language, and later had family where English was main language too.
I didnt dismiss anything, I just wrote my oppinion and my reasons for why I think that. Thats what forums are for.
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"My darling sweet dear Papa!!...I hope you have got a good picture of Alexei, and you show it to everybody...
Olga is hitting Maria, and Maria is shouting like an idiot....
Tatiana is as stupid as ever...
I kiss you 1 000 000 times, your hands and feet. I salute you. Anastasia." www.freewebs.com/romanovsisters
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:52 PM
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First we have to dismiss the myth that Anastasia did not learn German. Both Gilliard and her aunt Olga stated that "Anastasia knew no German at all." This lie was unmasked when Ian Lilburn came across Anastasia's schoolbooks at an auction in London, and they clearly showed that Anastasia had serious German lessons. (Which they all had up to Tobolsk. See Gilliard's time tables at the University of Lausanne.) The books also showed that she made fewer mistakes in her German than in her Russian. German was not spoken within the family, but that is not a prerequisite to know the language. As a born and bred Norwegian, I speak fluent German without ever having used it at home.
As for Alexandra, she knew German, but preferred to speak English. She does, however, note in her diary one day that "today I helped Tatiana with a German lesson." Hard to do if you don't speak the language.

ChatNoir
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Velkoknezna Maria View Post
She was German princess, but raised in family where English was the main language, and later had family where English was main language too.
I didnt dismiss anything, I just wrote my oppinion and my reasons for why I think that. Thats what forums are for.
Yes, and it's interesting why you think that.
ChatNoir gave me a bit of information from Alix's diary that she help Tatiana with a German lesson. He mentioned that it would be difficult to help if she (Alix) didn't know German.
Also, Vicky spoke, what? 5 languages by the time she was 3? One of them being German. Alix was in a family that was highly educated. Languages were part of that education.

Whoops! He beat me to the punch! :)
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:18 PM
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I don`t say that Alexandra would never speak German with OTMA, but German definitely wasn`t the language they used in everyday life. The girls took lessons of German. I remember Tatiana and Maria mention it in their diaries. But they were never fluent in it. Remember it was their fourth language after Russian, English and French.
Empress Alexandra was a german princess, but English was the language she thought and wrote in.

From P. Gilliard`s memoires: Her Majesty talked English with them /the children/, 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.
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