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Give or Take: Russian Verbs with -давать Posted by on Nov 14, 2019


It may be useful to learn words in related “families,” so let us look at several verbs that share their root with дава́ть [dɐˈvatʲ], to give. I will include the imperfective and perfective forms of the verb and any related nouns for each verb. This post does not cover every verb or every possible meaning…

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Russian Recipe: Beet Salad with Garlic and Walnuts Posted by on Nov 6, 2019

beet salad

When we talk about Russian cuisine, the same dishes keep coming up—Olivier salad, borsch{t} (arguably of Ukrainian provenance), pelmeni, etc. This time, let’s make a lesser-known—but delicious!—dish popular in Russia: a beet salad. You may remember that beets (свёкла) feature in some other Russian dishes, such as the already mentioned borsch, vinegret, and “herring under…

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Russian Spooky Folk Characters Posted by on Oct 31, 2019

Frog Princess painting of a frog turning into a woman

It’s Halloween again! This holiday is not as ingrained in Russian culture as it is in some Anglophone cultures—children don’t usually go trick-or-treating, and you won’t see many eerie decorations in people’s front yards (especially since most people live in high-rises). However, children usually learn about it in their English classes, and there may be…

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6 Slang Words for Your Face in Russian Posted by on Oct 24, 2019

woman smiling

It has recently occurred to me that Russian has multiple ways of referring to someone’s face, especially in a critical manner. Learning some common synonyms of лицо́ (litso, face) will help you understand colloquial Russian more easily because they come up a lot in informal speech. This post will use International Phonetic transcriptions for each…

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Autocomplete Question: “Why Is Russian Life Expectancy So Low?” Posted by on Oct 17, 2019

elderly couple on a bench

We are continuing our Autocomplete Questions series — these are questions that pop up in your search bar when you start typing. This time, I put in “Why is Russian…” and one of the questions read “Why is Russian life expectancy so low?” Let’s tackle this question in this post. Some Statistics First, how low…

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4 Business Failure Verbs in Russian Posted by on Oct 7, 2019

woman counting money

You might have heard the news that the Thomas Cook travel agency has gone under. The company had purchased two Russian subsidiaries (доче́рние предприя́тия), Intourist (Интури́ст) and Biblio-Globus (Би́блио-Гло́бус), but their management has assured their customers that the Russian-based companies would not be affected. This may be a good opportunity to look at some vocabulary…

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5 Russian Books That Were Banned in the Soviet Union—Part II Posted by on Sep 30, 2019

bookshelf with books

Last time, we looked at several Russian books that, for various reasons, never saw the light of day in the Soviet Union or sometimes in their author’s lifetime. Some of these books were initially snuck out and published abroad and only came out in Russia in the late 1980s or early 1990s. 4. Мастер и…

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