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5 Words You Need To Understand Russian News — Part I Posted by on Jul 2, 2019

US Capitol buidling

If you read news stories in Russian, there are certain words that pop up again and again. Understanding these key concepts will help you grasp the writer’s and audience’s assumptions and the overall angle of the article. This post will cover the first two, and Part II will cover the rest. 1. Власть Власть corresponds…

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Word Stress Patterns in Russian Posted by on Jun 26, 2019

old Soviet Smena camera

Word stress (ударе́ние) is probably one of the most challenging things about the Russian language. Where the emphasis falls in a word is highly variable in Russian, and there is no single rule set, unlike in such languages as Spanish. To put things in perspective, this is also the case in English. If you speak…

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All Work and No Play: Russian Verbs Related to Работать Posted by on Jun 24, 2019

hands holding 100-dollar bills

Работать, to work, is one of the of first verbs one learns in Russian. It very useful in its primary sense, but it also has some interesting “relatives” — derivative verbs that have a slightly different meaning. This post will look at five of them, given in pairs of imperfective and perfective. Подраба́тывать/подрабо́тать The prefix…

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Talking About Chernobyl in Russian Posted by on Jun 17, 2019

Pripyat entrance sign

The Internet has been abuzz lately with discussions of the HBO Chernobyl miniseries. The show is based on the real story of an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Powerplant (Черно́быльская А́томная Электроста́нция, ЧАЭС), and its release has reignited interest in the catastrophe, its causes, and how its been covered by witnesses, survivors, first responders, writers…

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Things That Don’t Go Together in Russian Cuisine Posted by on Jun 10, 2019

oatmeal

I recently attended a conference in Italy, and I thoroughly enjoyed the advice the locals gave us on following the culinary conventions, such as no cappuccino after 11 AM. This inspired me to write this post, which will look at some food-related “taboos” in Russia. This is all in good humo{u}r, and, of course, not…

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10 Fun Facts for Russian Language Day Posted by on Jun 6, 2019

people sitting in an auditorium

June 6 marks Russian Language Day (День ру́сского языка́). This date was chosen because that’s when Alexander Pushkin (Алекса́ндр Пу́шкин) was born — a writer and poet credited with shaping contemporary Russian (совреме́нный ру́сский язы́к) by blending the “high” literary genres with the vernacular. To mark this occasion, let me share ten fun facts about…

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What Do You Call Young People in Russian? Posted by on Jun 3, 2019

three young women

There are several ways of referring to young people in Russian, some more informal than others. This post will help you learn some common ones and when each is normally used. Де́вушка This popular word refers to a young woman. Note that де́вушка should not be confused with де́вочка, girl. Unlike in English, where calling…

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