Archive for November, 2012

How to Tell Time in Russian Posted by on Nov 29, 2012

Image source: wstryder via Flickr I always thought one of the most useless sections in my old English-Russian разговорник (phrase book) was the one that taught how to tell time. After all, years ago most of us wore часы (watches). But now that we rely on cell phones to tell the time, the topic once again becomes…

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A time to sow, a time to reap, a time to add fertilizer… Posted by on Nov 27, 2012

That Ecclesiastes quotation (minus the fertilizer part) is traditionally translated from Hebrew to Russian as время насаждать, и время вырывать посаженное (“a time to put in the ground, a time to tear up that which was planted”) — though the familiar English phrasing we all know from the Byrds song can be directly rendered as…

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Shopping, Lines and Discounts Posted by on Nov 23, 2012

Image Source: crd! via Flickr! Today is the Black Friday in the US or Чёрная пятница. If you prefer to save, not spend, then ignore распродажи (sales) and instead learn how to talk about шоппинг (shopping) in Russian. SHOPPING By the way, the word шоппинг is a new one in Russian language. How did we manage to describe the process of…

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“I am the very model of a conjugation paradigm…” Posted by on Nov 20, 2012

As every student of Russian knows, learning verb conjugations can be a bit daunting. Grammarians claim that Russian has only a горсточка неправильных глаголов (“a handful of irregular verbs”) — but for a foreigner, there are countless verbs that might as well be irregular because of their conjugational oddities, even if a linguist would insist…

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How to Count to a Billion in Russian Posted by on Nov 15, 2012

Image source: Wikimedia Commons Do you know how to count to a million in Russian? Recently, we posted about counting до двадцати (to twenty) in Russian. And a while ago we talked about counting to 100. But суровая действительность (the harsh reality) dictates that we learn numbers well beyond the first сотня (hundred). Here’s why. Budgeting for…

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The care and feeding of pets (but especially rats!) Posted by on Nov 13, 2012

Может быть, вы думаете завести какого-нибудь питомца? (“Maybe you’re thinking about getting some kind of pet?”) But perhaps a cat or a dog wouldn’t fit into your образ жизни (“lifestyle”) — or your apartment. In that case, allow me to recommend the lovable серая крыса (lit., “gray rat”), commonly known in English as the “Norway…

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Russian Phrases for a Road Trip Posted by on Nov 9, 2012

Image Source: Flickr Summer, the official road trip season, is over. But the big holiday season не за горами (is just around the corner) meaning more поездки (road trips). Which is a great reason to learn words and phrases for the road. Of course, if you happen to go on a road trip in…

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