jakc wrote:Russian and Belorussian? Really? I thought those were far too soft sounding for a letter like that!
What do you mean? Polish palatalisation is extreme, i.e. it sounds softer by default.
That may be true but for me Russian sounds very soft and malleable (fluffy, maybe? Everything rolls together when you say it). Maybe it's as Qrczak says, the frequency of palatalised consonants in Russian is much greater than in Polish. In any case I've always had the impression that Russian is a soft language. Though, I'm learning very different new things every day here. It's all very interesting!
edit: Just looking at 0stsee last post. I figure I might mean ‘soft’ in a different context. For me, Russian has the same degree of ‘softnesś as French does in the west. It's the way in which the letters run together when you say them. I know that I'm always stumbling over ‘sz' and cz' and ‘rz' when I read because they're such different sounds to the letters that surround them. Last night I was reading the ‘Tygodnik Polski’ with my father and I tried to pronounce: ‘Wileńszczyzna and it sounds very jagged and uncomfortable to pronounce: ‘Wileń-sz-czy-zna. I suppose that's lack of practice though. Although languages such as Welsh (and French?) eliminate this sort of harshness with mutations, certain nouns change consonants to ease this jaggedness. But learning the mutations itself is a pain.
There's no 'easy' way I suppose. Indonesian is brilliant though...