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Oswald's language abilities and evidence related to his Soviet soujourn (1959-63)


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3 hours ago, W. Tracy Parnell said:

Clearly, he had no Russian fluency when he arrived there. He obtained his ability, which as Jeremy points out, was far from perfect, over time from speaking it every day. Thank you Jim for providing all of these examples of what the critics have been saying all along. LHO could barely speak Russian when he first arrived.

Why does that not gel with the established meditative from even the Report itself----

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He studied the Russian language,156 read a Russian language newspaper 157 and seemed interested in what was going on in the Soviet Union.158 Thornley, who thought Oswald had an "irrevocable conviction" that his Marxist beliefs were correct, testified:

Warren Report Chapt 7

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7 hours ago, Jeremy Bojczuk said:

Mathias Baumann writes:

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...the results from his test in the military were ... quite far from what we would expect from a native speaker (especially if we consider his performance in listening comprehension).

Exactly.

 

Not so fast. You're assuming that Oswald learned Russian as an adult. If, as the H&L theory states, he learned Russian as a child, immigrated to the U.S. at a young age, learned English and spoke that language at school for some time, his Russian wouldn't be so good, would it?

(That's a rhetorical question. Of course his Russian wouldn't be as good as what you'd expect of an adult native speaker of Russian.)

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3 hours ago, W. Tracy Parnell said:

Clearly, he had no Russian fluency when he arrived there.

You haven't done your homework, Tracy.  Multiple Marines witnessed Oswald reading Russian-language materials.   Rosaleen Quinn, the aunt of one of Oswald's Marine buddies, was teaching herself Russian through the Berlitz language system and was interested in conversing with Oswald.  In her Warren Commission deposition, Quinn asserted that “Oswald spoke Russian well.”  The meeting of Oswald and Quinn occurred in 1959.  Also, prior to leaving for the Soviet Union, Oswald was administered an Army exam in Russian proficiency and answered the majority of the questions correctly.

Your statement above is blatantly inaccurate.

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4 hours ago, Jim Hargrove said:

 In Russia, “Oswald” tried to hide his fluency in Russian from almost everyone.  Pulitzer Prize winning author Norman Mailer was among the earliest people to gain access to Russian Intel documents about “Oswald.”   Mailer wrote that when “Oswald” arrived in Moscow by “Deluxe class,” he hired a personal tour guide named Rimma and, “He didn’t seem to know a single word in Russian, so Rimma spoke to him in English.” By the time he got to Minsk, “Oswald” continued to pretend he didn’t speak Russian.  Mailer wrote, “People laughed at him when he talked.  His Russian was so bad people laughed, not mocking, but friendly.  He would try to pronounce words, get them wrong. They would laugh***…. You have cows in America?  You have pigs in America?  He couldn’t understand their words, so they showed him with sign language, made animal sounds, and he laughed.”

A Belarusian scientist named Stanislav Shushkevich was eventually assigned to teach “Oswald” the Russian language.  A few years ago, Shushkevich was extensively interviewed by an American writer.   There were, apparently, only a dozen or so lessons, and the teacher noted that “He didn’t appear to know a lot.  He didn’t appear to want to know a lot.”  Shushkevich added that he “knew very few words” in Russian.

Shushkevich concluded that he real job (he didn’t speak English) was not to teach “Oswald” Russian, but “to see how much Russian Oswald really knew….”

https://www.rferl.org/a/interview-transcript-oswald-shushkevich-belarus-soviet/25172632.html

A detailed interview.

This link also contains a video. Note that these friends and associates comment on how LHO praised Kennedy and considered him "a most sensible president".

***The Russian speaking peoples from the former Soviet countries have also laughed at the naive American belief that LHO was even remotely involved in the assassination.

BTW guys...the Russian word for patsy is Пэтси [pronounced -- patsy]

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The Russian language is more difficult to learn than say our other Latin based romance languages of Spanish, French, Italian for sure.

I know that in the military, they have well developed, complete immersion intense teaching methods that makes learning and speaking new languages proficiently for even later age novices much more possible. But even in this full-on teaching program environment there is a drop out rate versus a 100% success rate due to the difficulty in grasping new languages.

Oswald didn't study the Russian language as a child did he? He never went to a language school did he? Did Oswald listen to Russian language training and study records? I've never read where he did.

For someone to pick up more than a basic casual conversational grasp of such a difficult language as Russian sets Oswald apart imo. Just talking to other working class weekend buddy Russians, flirting with girlfriends, listening to Russian operatic LP's and arguing with Marina for a couple of years does not add up to Oswald's proficiency in my opinion.

The Oswald whom Marina first met and had such a good grasp on her language already she felt he may be Russian himself... had some official training imo.

Edited by Joe Bauer
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40 minutes ago, Karl Hilliard said:

https://www.rferl.org/a/interview-transcript-oswald-shushkevich-belarus-soviet/25172632.html

A detailed interview.

This link also contains a video. Note that these friends and associates comment on how LHO praised Kennedy and considered him "a most sensible president".

***The Russian speaking peoples from the former Soviet countries have also laughed at the naive American belief that LHO was even remotely involved in the assassination.

Karl,

Thanks very much for posting the link to the interviews with Shushkevich.  Also, I found the video filled with fascinating insights from those who knew Oswald in Minsk.   For Shushkevich, the best that he can say about Oswald's spoken Russian was that it was "pretty decent" or "passable."  That does not square with the Oswald who allegedly read long and complex works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Turgenev or who dazzled Monterey Institute graduate Dennis Ofstein with his command of spoken Russian.  As you observe above, all three of the acquaintances appearing on camera believed that Oswald was incapable of killing President Kennedy.  These are not "conspiracy theorists," but rather people who had spent their lives living the realities of actual conspiracies in the Soviet Union.

James

Edited by James Norwood
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28 minutes ago, Joe Bauer said:

Based on my personal lifetime experience and observation, learning a new language ( proficiently ) starting in your late teens and early twenties is a really, really tough basic intelligence challenge versus doing so from a very young age. And the Russian language is more difficult to learn than say our other Latin based romance languages of Spanish, French, Italian for sure.

German seems more difficult in my thinking, partly because to me half of the pronunciation involves something akin to clearing your throat of flem.

French more often involves the easier task of simply protruding one's lips outward into an exaggerated kissing position and making "oouuu" sounds mixed with tongue flicking sounds as much as possible  ... Ex. "Ooouu la la" , "Mon Doudou Lamour" etc.

Holding one's extended pinky finger up near one's face while doing so also adds the correct effect. Wearing a beret slightly tilted even more.

Everyone knows Italian is half sign language. The more exaggerated the better. Just some animated pointing of the hands, fingers and arm salutes while sharing salami, cheese , bread and wine can get a less than proficient speaker what they made need or want even without a great grasp of the actual verbal language.

I know that in the military, they have well developed, complete immersion intense teaching methods that makes learning and speaking new languages proficiently for even later age novices much more possible. But even in this full-on teaching program environment there is a drop out rate versus a 100% success rate due to the difficulty in grasping new languages.

Oswald didn't study the Russian language as a child did he? He never went to a language school did he? Did Oswald listen to Russian language training and study records? I've never read where he did.

For someone to pick up more than a basic casual conversational grasp of such a difficult language as Russian sets Oswald apart imo. Just talking to other working class weekend buddy Russians, flirting with girlfriends, listening to Russian operatic LP's and arguing with Marina for a couple of years does not add up to Oswald's proficiency in my opinion.

The Oswald whom Marina first met and had such a goo grasp on her language already she felt he may be Russian himself... had some official training imo.

Joe,

Thank you for your insights into the process of learning a foreign language.  You really get to the heart of the matter when you raise the following questions:

"Oswald didn't study the Russian language as a child did he?  He never went to a language school did he?  Did Oswald listen to Russian language training and study records?"

When it comes to the evidence, the answer to all three questions is a resounding "no."

Someone playing devil's advocate might argue that certain individuals are uniquely gifted in acquiring a new language.  To that assertion, I would respond that if Oswald had a knack for foreign languages, there would be a paper trail left from his teachers and fellow students who witnessed those skills.

There is an alternative explanation to Oswald's Russian language proficiency other than official training.  And that is simply that he was a native speaker of Russian.  It is the study of the evidence of the two Oswald's that offers a window into how this young man was fluent in Russian.

James

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1 hour ago, James Norwood said:

There is an alternative explanation to Oswald's Russian language proficiency other than official training.  And that is simply that he was a native speaker of Russian.  It is the study of the evidence of the two Oswald's that offers a window into how this young man was fluent in Russian.

I'm willing to explore this possibility. This from H&L;

HARVEY first appears in Benbrook, TX, in June 1947

You have no idea as to Harvey's age, so let's say he's 6 years old at this point (based on average height, refer previous posts in this thread)

H&L have the Marguerite Imposter as not speaking Russian. There has to be communication between the two during 1947 and most likely much earlier.

So by 1947, you have this young boy proficient in Russian and the language of his native country, plus a sufficient grasp of english to communicate with the "mother".

We can now work out when Harvey learned Russian. It would have to be in Kindergarten.

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5 hours ago, James Norwood said:

You haven't done your homework, Tracy.  Multiple Marines witnessed Oswald reading Russian-language materials.   Rosaleen Quinn, the aunt of one of Oswald's Marine buddies, was teaching herself Russian through the Berlitz language system and was interested in conversing with Oswald.  In her Warren Commission deposition, Quinn asserted that “Oswald spoke Russian well.”  The meeting of Oswald and Quinn occurred in 1959.  Also, prior to leaving for the Soviet Union, Oswald was administered an Army exam in Russian proficiency and answered the majority of the questions correctly.

Your statement above is blatantly inaccurate.

I know all about those statements James. His ability was in the eye of the beholder. To the Marines, most of whom presumably had no Russian speaking ability at all, he seemed to be reading and speaking Russian. Same with Quinn-what was "well" to her is relative. The real test was when he arrived in Russian and met up with native speakers. Jim's post above describes what they thought.

I would like to do an article on LHO's Russian ability. A comprehensive study is sorely needed. But I am swamped right now.

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Oh, good grief!

According to the 1964 testimony of Lt. Col. Allison G. Folsom, Lee Harvey Oswald answered four more questions right than wrong in a Russian language exam administered to him while he was still in the Marines.  The overall score was rated “poor,” which is the same rating he was given in a series of tests including English reading and vocabulary.

Before ever setting foot in the Soviet Union, Oswald scored as well in a Russian-language exam as he did in tests of his English.  Are we to believe this, as the Warren Commission told us,  was merely because he was “motivated” to teach himself Russian?

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31 minutes ago, Jim Hargrove said:

Oh, good grief!

According to the 1964 testimony of Lt. Col. Allison G. Folsom, Lee Harvey Oswald answered four more questions right than wrong in a Russian language exam administered to him while he was still in the Marines.  The overall score was rated “poor,” which is the same rating he was given in a series of tests including English reading and vocabulary.

Before ever setting foot in the Soviet Union, Oswald scored as well in a Russian-language exam as he did in tests of his English.  Are we to believe this, as the Warren Commission told us,  was merely because he was “motivated” to teach himself Russian?

Good grief indeed Jim.

According to Lee Harvey Oswald, he could speak Russian at the level equal to 1 year of schooling.

Before ever setting foot in the Soviet Union, Oswald in some way learned how to speak Russian and stated so himself (and wrote it and spoke it as well). Are we to believe that*, as Jim Hargove tells us, merely because he refuses to believe it?

Edited by Mark Stevens
*=Hargroves theory
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You are going to tell me that Oswald became fluent in Russian by talking to his tour guides for something like 13 months?

Because that is how well Oswald spoke Russian according to what Titovets told me when I interviewed him in 2014.

I don't have a dog in this fight, but its striking when, in their mania to discredit Armstrong,  WC critics team up with WC apologists like Parnell. To the point of using a phony application to a phony college which was part of a phony discharge.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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7 hours ago, Joe Bauer said:

 The Oswald whom Marina first met and had such a good grasp on her language already she felt he may be Russian himself... had some official training imo.

Also....Marina knew a lot more English than she let on and that was believed by the Commission and the public ----

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I happen to know differently-because Marina has told me the first day I was with her, "Mama, I write to Russian consul. I want go back to Russia. I like America. But Lee no get work."

                                                                                                           Marguerite Oswald testimony...  http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/russ/testimony/2_10_64_AM.htm  

Additionally ---Marina's English was a lot better than Marguerite let on.

Marina worked. She sold perfume at Joske's [then Titche's] at Town East Mall in Mesquite. A lady I knew worked with her.                                            

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