Russian Language Blog

Проблема с iPod…ом? [Problem with the iPod?] Posted by on Oct 26, 2008 in Uncategorized

It was my favorite case already from the start. And no other case has ever been able to take its place as number one in my heart. Yes, I’m talking about «творительный падеж» [instrumental case]. Back when I first made my acquaintance with the six splendid cases of Russian language – yes, let’s all repeat them just for fun: «именительный» [nominative], «родительный» [genitive], «винительный» [accusative], «дательный» [dative], «предложный»  [locative] and the best one of them all – the glorious «творительный» [instrumental]. I remember when we first fell in love, it feels like it was yesterday, but it really wasn’t, it was over four years ago now, back in the days when I shared a flat in Saint Petersburg with another Swedish girl. Her name was Kajsa. And you should’ve seen the wide smile on my face when our teacher at the university told me that in the sentence for that in Russian was: «Я живу с Кайсой» [I live with Kajsa]. Wow! I had never seen grammar do such a thing to a word before; it practically swallowed the whole ending! And even better when the noun was a male one: «Я встречаюсь с Магнусом» [I’m dating Magnus (yeah, as the Russians would put it – «было дело»)]. But no matter how grand the instrumental case is for all words Russian, it can cause some trouble when paired with a word not so Russian. As the word ‘iPod’ (what language is that, by the way?) for example. As in the very real situation when I had some trouble with my iPod this past week, it wouldn’t synchronize with my iTunes at all, and so I decided to pop by the Apple store when I was at the mall and see what the boys there could do about it. But I was faced with the dilemma of… just how do you put that in Russian? I figured I’d just use my imagination, and see what I’d come up with so to speak, as I’m not a beginner of Russian after all… And that’s why I stepped up to the young man at the counter and said: «Извините, у меня проблема с моим айподом» [Excuse me, I have a problem with my iPod]. I got his attention; now what? «Он не хочет синхронизировать с айтюнсом» [It doesn’t want to synchronize with iTunes]. The young man asked to take a close look at my iPod, so I handed it over, and then he plugged it into his computer, did something with it. A couple of minutes later he showed me that it was now working. I thanked him and left the store, blissfully happy after having affirmed the politeness of Apple’s staff and confirmed the convenience of the instrumental case. Then, later in the evening, my boyfriend (Russian and not afraid to show it) told me that such foreign words don’t change according to the Russian cases. That may be correct; nevertheless I think that’s pure madness. Why not share the beauty of Slavic cases with the rest of us? Don’t you agree?

Just how much do I love my little pink iPod? Find out here!

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  1. eric:

    i’ve been reading your blog for several months now and i just wanted to say that i love it. i hope that you get many comments like mine because i want you to be encouraged to continue. thanks -eric

  2. Anyse:

    Well, next time you have this problem, all you need to do is to press the “menu” and the “> ii” button simultaneously for “a few seconds. He should have “shown” you what he did so that, were this to happen again, you wold not have to go back there to have “him” do it again! Byt the way, this is called a “reset.” You could find out more about it through reading your new iPod manual or online at the Apple Store.

    I have the iPod 80G and love it. I bought the first iPod (5G) in 2001 and have had a few since then. I till have my “old” iPod 40.

    Take care.


  3. Alan Kirkby:

    It’s 40 years since I took my Russian O-level and in that time I’ve never had a chance to put it to use. However it’s a bit like riding a bike – you don’t forget. Except I have forgotten what the different case endings are used for so could you spell it out for me and any other lapsed Russian scholars trying to pick it up again after a long break?

    Many Thanks
    Alan Kirkby

  4. Anya:

    This is for Alan Kirkby:

  5. VW:

    I’m a college student taking intermediate level Russian classes. I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago, and I love it! Please keep writing 🙂

  6. stas:

    I think someone whose native language is Russian would say it a bit differently than you, “Он не хочет синхронизироваться с айтюнсом.” Why?.. The problem with your i-Pod – not i-Tunes, and -ся points it. The young man in the store understood you, nevertheless, but just from the context.

    And foreign words change with Russian cases just perfectly, believe you me. At least in a speach. Just try to be among Russian expats anywhere in the world. The best place would be Brighton Beach in New-York city. It’s a place where you can hear dialogs in grocery store like this one below:

    – Мне три паунда чиза, пожалуйста.
    – Вам целым писом или послайсить?

    Ну не прелесть ли такой язык?..