Archive for June, 2016

Five Confusing Phrases of English Origin in Russian Posted by on Jun 29, 2016

sausages and bread on a plate

We know that English influences many languages, including Russian. Numerous words from the domains of science, technology, commerce, and entertainment are borrowed from English. At the same time, some Russian words have English origins but are used in ways unheard of in English. We already covered business words of English origin whose meaning is different…

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Russian Verbs With Prefixes: -явить Posted by on Jun 28, 2016

hands holding small photographs

Our previous posts about verbs with prefixes were met with enthusiasm, so this time, let us look a group of important verbs with the root -яв-. The general meaning of this root is “to be or to make evident.” Являться One of the most frequent verbs from this group is являться, which is a formal…

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Six Quintessentially Russian Concepts – Part II Posted by on Jun 22, 2016

man lifting weights

We are continuing from last week’s post on certain Russian expressions and underlying concepts that are specific to Russian reality. Нормально Нормальный as an adjective means “normal,” but it’s used in some unique ways. First, нормально is a common response to “Как дела?” (“How are you?”) Second, нормальный is used to express covert approval of…

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Six Quintessentially Russian Concepts – Part I Posted by on Jun 16, 2016

men armwrestling

See Part II of this article here. Every so often, an article will pop up online talking about culture-specific or untranslatable words in other languages. In this post, I will not be claiming that the words I discuss are “untranslatable” — yet they are used in Russian in ways that may not be obvious from…

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Russian Verbs With Prefixes: Держать Posted by on Jun 13, 2016

holding hands

Remember that time we covered verbs with prefixes on this blog? Let’s combine various prefixes with the popular verb держать, to hold, to form new words. I can only list several of the many verbs, so feel free to add in the comments! The base verb is держать, which normally means to hold something. Мама держит…

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Biblical Phrases in Russian Continued Posted by on Jun 9, 2016

mountain goat

Last time, we looked at some common Russian phrases that have a biblical origin. There was some interest in the topic, so let’s add a few more phrases — this time, let us concentrate on noun phrases. Just as last time, I cannot interpret these phrases theologically, but we can look at how they are used…

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Biblical Phrases in Russian Posted by on Jun 7, 2016

wheat field

Many of the phrases we use in Russian — and in English — actually come from or are inspired by (the corresponding translation of) the Bible. I am not qualified to give a theological interpretation of such phrases. You can follow the links for each phrase to see the larger context in English or in…

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