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The 200 ‘Rouble’ Question: Why is it «двести» and not «дваста»? Posted by on Aug 25, 2010

David Roberts is English, lives in Liverpool and has always loved languages but loved science even more, and that’s why he did Chemistry at University and worked for many years as a research chemist. He got vaguely interested in Russian when doing an optional subsidiary course on “Scientific Russian”, but didn’t get very far. Then several…

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Reading «Мастер и Маргарита»: Chapter 12 Posted by on Aug 24, 2010

Chapter 12 – «Явление героя» [“The Appearance of the Hero”, or an even better English translation might be: ”The Hero Appears”] – is where we, the readers of “Master & Margarita”, finally come to understand what the novel’s title means. In this chapter an enigmatic «гость» [mas. guest] comes into the room of «Иван Бездомный»…

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«Ненастоящие друзья» [False friends]: part II Posted by on Aug 18, 2010

Not everything in a foreign language is difficult. If you feel like calling the vehicle above «мотоцикл» [motorcycle] in Russian, then that’s okay and even correct. But that doesn’t mean you can go ahead and assume that a bicycle is «бицикл» in Russian because really the word for it is «велосипед» [bicycle]. Today’s post is…

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Reading «Мастер и Маргарита»: Chapter 10 + 11 Posted by on Aug 12, 2010

And this week «мы читаем Булгакова у бассейна» [we’re reading Bulgakov by the pool]. «Да, да, знаю, знаю» [yes, yes, I know, I know] – it has been almost two months since we all started reading «Мастер и Маргарита» [“Master & Margarita”] together and we haven’t made it further than chapter ten. «Честно говоря» [honestly…

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«Ненастоящие друзья» [False friends]: part I Posted by on Aug 5, 2010

If you think the Russian name of Moscow’s famous Red Square is «Красный сквер», then you may have fallen victim to what is known as ‘faux amis’ – false friends. I know I have been a victim of faux amis many, many times both while learning Russian as well as English. For several years while…

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You say it best when you say «ничего» [nothing] at all Posted by on Jul 30, 2010

Let’s put an end to this kind of boring (and pointless and not to mention plainly weird) conversations frequently used in textbooks on Russian language! Wouldn’t it be much more fun if the policeman had said: «Ну что это?» [Well what is this?] and John at that had answered: «Я вообще не понимаю. Я типо…

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Reading «Мастер и Маргарита»: Chapter 8 Posted by on Jul 26, 2010

«Давайте принесём Булгакова на пляж!» [Let’s bring Bulgakov to the beach!] Russians – like most people that live in geographical regions where the longest season of the year is «зима» [winter] – can’t afford «пренебрегать летом: солнцем и теплом» [impfv. to neglect (also: to scorn; disdain; disregard; ignore) the summer: the sun and the warmth]…

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