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Archive for September, 2015

Yakov Smirnoff: Russian Funny Man! Posted by on Sep 30, 2015

Yakov Naumovich Pokhis, better known as Yakov Smirnoff, is a comedian born in the Soviet Union in 1951. After emigrating to the United States in 1977, he changed his last name to Smirnoff after the vodka. During the 1980’s and early into the 90’s, Smirnoff saw his brand of humor taking off and resonating with…

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Storytelling in Russian Posted by on Sep 24, 2015

We often connect with others over discussing our favorite films, plays, and books. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to describe that great Russian movie or novel to your friends? Let us look at some ways of talking about themes and plot. Themes First of all, what is the story about? Some ways of…

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The Billion Dollar Spy, Part II Posted by on Sep 23, 2015

Part II: Adolf Tolkachev had been the most successful spy the CIA ever had in Moscow during the late 1970’s through the mid 1980’s. Tolkachev was an engineer working on new and next-generation radar systems for the military. He was also a father and a husband that put, not only his life on the line…

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The Billion Dollar Spy, Part One Posted by on Sep 22, 2015

Mystery? Intrigue? Danger? All trademarks of the “spy world.” During the Cold War, Russia, as well as most of the rest of Europe, had extensive manpower devoted to intelligence gathering, counterintelligence, and so on. Todays blog will center on a Russian spy of sorts, actually he was an engineer with access to many of the…

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Changing Your Ways – Variations of Менять Posted by on Sep 17, 2015

We have looked at expanding your vocabulary by adding prefixes to verb roots. Now I would like to suggest looking at variations of a very popular verb – меня́ть. This verb means to change (perfective – поменять). Из-за плохо́го поведе́ния ему́ за во́семь лет пришло́сь меня́ть шко́лу 11 раз. (Because of his poor behavior…

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Sewing in Russian Posted by on Sep 10, 2015

Perhaps some of our readers like to make their own clothes. If that’s the case, let’s review some of the basic sewing vocabulary to help you talk about your craft in Russian. Although sewing (шитьё, to sew – шить) is in the title of the post, other methods of making clothes include вяза́ть (на спи́цах) and вязать крючко́м…

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Translating Russian Что: What, When and Why Posted by on Sep 9, 2015

The feeling of confusion about a particular word is undoubtedly familiar to any foreign language learner. Thanks to one of our readers, one of this pesky Russian words have been brought to my attention. What might that word be? Ironically, it is none other than the word “what” itself :-). Translation of the word что…

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