Archive for May, 2010

More Russian Onomatopoeia or Is It? Posted by on May 31, 2010

It occurred to me that the best way to get a grip on lots of Russian «звукоподражания» [onomatopoeia] is by reading children’s books. After all, onomatopoeia is used by Russian parents and grandparents to teach their little ones the first words. It’s much easier to say «би-би» [honk-honk] than «машина» [car]; «чу-чу» [chuga-chuga] is…

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And the winner is… Posted by on May 30, 2010

…«Мастер и Маргарита» [“The Master & Margarita”]! What are the stickers lying next to the book for? Read the post and find out! It was a close race on the poll “Russian literature is better than sex” on our Facebook page, but eventually it was clear to everyone what book had won! The final list…

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Russian Onomatopoeia is Fun Posted by on May 25, 2010

Indeed, «русский язык – велик и могуч!» [Russian language is great and powerful.] It has such wonderfully lengthy and unpronounceable words as «Интернационализироваться» – to undergo a process of internationalization «Одиннадцатиклассница» – female 11th grader «Восьмидесятичетырёхлетний»- someone or something who’s 84 years old, presumably the grandfather of the said 11th grader And «водогрязеторфопарафинолечение» –…

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«Свой человек»: Unraveling a Possessive Pronoun Posted by on May 21, 2010

«Свой» [one’s; his; her; their] is a «притяжательноеместоимение» [possessive pronoun] just like «мой» [my], «твой» [your (singular)], «наш» [our], «ваш» [your (plural)], «его» [his], «её» [her] and «их» [their]. Not all languages have this possessive pronoun – shout out to all you proud native speakers of English! – and that’s why it is not always…

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Billion-Strong Russia Posted by on May 19, 2010

The kind of stuff one can find on Internet without even trying never ceases to amaze me. For example, today I started off at and drifted over to the brand-new «президент.рф» site, located on one of the first «нелатинский домен» [domain that does not use Roman alphabet]. While at президент.рф, I discovered that…

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Are You a Cultured Person? Posted by on May 16, 2010

The other day I was teaching my son not to throw the trash on the ground. «Мусорить плохо» [It’s bad to litter], I said and then added «и некультурно» [lit.: and it is uncultured]. That’s when he asked me what «культурный» means. Good question! Growing up in Russia, I’ve heard the phrase «культурный человек» [a…

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Part III: «Казань – литературная» [The Literary Kazan’] Posted by on May 14, 2010

I’m afraid I only managed to photograph «памятник Мусе Джалилю» [the monument to Musa Jalil] – «татарскому поэту–патриоту» [to the Tatar poet and patriot] – from behind while in Kazan’… Even though Tatar literature isn’t really a part of ‘all things Russian’ in the strictest of senses – why be so strict, anyway? «Татарстан» [Tatarstan]…

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