Ничего́ (nothing) one of these seemingly basic words that you learn in the first months of learning Russian. However, it is also one that appears in a number of idioms and expressions that are not immediately obvious to the learner.
1. Ничего for doing well
Ничего is a popular response to the question “Как дела́?” It is a neutral answer, roughly equivalent to “alright.” Another answer with a similar meaning is “Норма́льно” or “Потихо́ньку.”
2. Ничего (стра́шного) for no worries
Ничего can also be a response to “Извини́те” (I’m sorry) or any other apology or explanation.
– Я забы́л поли́ть цветы́ (I forgot to water the flowers).
– Ничего́ стра́шного (That’s OK).
3. Ничего́ себе! for surprise
Ничего себе is used to express surprise or amazement. Many people oppose what they see as unjustified use of borrowed interjections like “ва́у” (wow) and prefer to use expressions like ничего себе or у́х ты!
– У мое́й ба́бушки бы́ло пя́теро дете́й (My grandma had five children).
– Ничего себе! (Oh wow!)
Ни фига́ себе is a colloquial and some would say vulgar variant of this phrase. There are many other similar expressions, some quite vulgar, that follow the same syntactic pattern and convey amazement.
4. Ничего for approval
Ничего can also mean that something or someone is alright or cool. “А до́мик у них ничего” (Their house is not too shabby). When used about a person, this usually refers to their looks. “А сосе́дка-то вполне́ ничего́” (Our neighbor is quite alright).
5. Ничего не поделаешь for acceptance
Ничего́ не поде́лаешь is used to express resignation and acceptance of the situation. Literally, the phrase means “there’s nothing we can do.”
Ничего не поделаешь, пришло́сь встре́чать Но́вый год в аэропорту́. – We had no choice but to celebrate the New Year at the airport. [As you may know, New Year’s is the biggest holiday of the year in Russia, and you don’t want to miss out on it.]
Are there any other expressions with ничего you can think of? This seemingly simple word is used in ways that may be unique to Russian and not obvious from its primary meaning, so I hope this post is useful. I would like to finish it with a song that makes extensive use of this word.
The age of the “Social Network” is upon us. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, have popped up over the last ten years or so and dramatically changed our lives. These sites have greatly impacted our lives and they have been responsible for many things such as: increase in narcissistic behavior (i.e. selfies), entertainment, sharing photos and experiences with friends/family, overthrowing governments, and so on. The point is this: social networking is powerful, here to stay, and flourishing everywhere. It is interesting to note that the same social networking sites that flourish in one country may be obsolete in another. This post is about the social networking sites that are popular right now in Russia.
1.VKontakte (VK) is currently the most popular social networking site in Russia with just around 53 million users. VKontakte is the largest social network in Europe and it allows its users to send messages, create groups, share photos/audio/video, and so on. Nearly 25 percent of its members are under the age of 18. The odd resemblance to Facebook makes me wonder about who is really behind this project :-)…
The second most popular site is 2.Odnoklassniki (classmates). This site deals with helping current and former classmates and friends connect with one another. What I found interesting about this site was that you had to be at least seven years old to have an account.
3.Moi Mir (My World) is next on the list. It is run by mail.ru and attracts older people. Like Odnoklassniki, people go there to socialize. Nearly 70 percent of its members are women and over 50 percent are over the age of 45.
4.Facebook is phenomenal on the world’s stage, however, in Russia it is still climbing to the top. It does well in terms of number of subscribers but not in terms of activity. For that matter, 5.Twitter averages a great deal more posts per month than Facebook – Twitter averages about 12 times more posts per user per month.
Rutube is Russia’s version of Youtube and it is immensely popular. For those learning to speak Russian, you might really enjoy all of the videos on every topic imaginable. You must be able to read a bit to navigate the site but it is well worth it.
Although there are so many social media sites to visit in your own country, it can be fascinating to check out those in another. For those of you that grew up in another country and emigrated, these sites can really help you when you are homesick or just trying to reconnect with people. You might agree that there has never been an easier time to connect with people – the world is getting smaller by the second