The Royal Forums

The Royal Forums (http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/)
-   The Imperial Family of Russia (http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f80/)
-   -   Languages spoken by Nicholas, Alexandra and Family (http://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f80/languages-spoken-by-nicholas-alexandra-and-family-16344.html)

Martha 03-14-2008 07:54 PM

Languages spoken by Nicholas, Alexandra and Family
 
Did Alexandra learn Russian?

Russophile 03-14-2008 07:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Martha (Post 742333)
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.

COUNTESS 03-14-2008 08:46 PM

I think she spoke some Russian, but they Nicholas and she communicated in English. She only wrote to him in English and vice versa.

lexi4 03-14-2008 08:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Martha (Post 742333)
Did Alexandra learn Russian?

Yes, she spoke Russian.

Furienna 03-14-2008 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by COUNTESS (Post 742357)
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?


COUNTESS 03-14-2008 09:02 PM

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.

Leslie2006 03-14-2008 09:26 PM

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.

ysbel 03-14-2008 11:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Furienna (Post 742367)
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.

Al_bina 03-15-2008 10:44 AM

Pikul also mentioned Alexandra Fedorovna mastered the Russian much faster than expected. However, she used the Russian language when it was really really necessary.

Russophile 03-16-2008 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by COUNTESS (Post 742370)
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.

Velkoknezna Maria 03-18-2008 03:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Russophile (Post 742996)
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 didnīt 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 didnīt 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.

Furienna 03-18-2008 06:06 AM

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?

Velkoknezna Maria 03-18-2008 10:07 AM

Acronym used by Tsarīs daughters Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia was OTMA. When speaking about Imperial children, lots of people use OTMAA - they include Alexei to it.

Russophile 03-18-2008 11:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velkoknezna Maria (Post 743378)
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.

Velkoknezna Maria 03-18-2008 01:22 PM

I have read several book son the matter, but I canīt 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.....

Russophile 03-18-2008 01:51 PM

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.

Velkoknezna Maria 03-18-2008 02:41 PM

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 didnīt dismiss anything, I just wrote my oppinion and my reasons for why I think that. Thatīs what forums are for.

ChatNoir 03-18-2008 02:52 PM

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

Russophile 03-18-2008 02:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velkoknezna Maria (Post 743560)
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 didnīt dismiss anything, I just wrote my oppinion and my reasons for why I think that. Thatīs 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! :)

Monna 03-18-2008 03:18 PM

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.


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:47 AM.

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2014
Jelsoft Enterprises