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Why You Should Learn to Read Russian Vowels Posted by on Feb 7, 2019

letter A

The Russian alphabet is one of the first challenges a prospective student runs into. We have posted some advice for learning the alphabet on this blog, but if you don’t know where to start, start with the vowels. Learning to read and pronounce Russian vowels is a manageable task that has many benefits. Only 10…

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3 Iconic Food Brands from Russia Posted by on Jan 31, 2019

food

There are certain brands that have widely recognized in Russia, in large part thanks to their clever—or ridiculous—advertising. Of course, this list will vary for different people, but I’d like to share, in no particular order, some famous Russian food brands. Note that when I say “Russian,” I mostly mean “widely known and marketed in…

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Describing States of the Body in Russian Posted by on Jan 22, 2019

plush toys in bed with a thermometer

You might have noticed that, to talk about physical sensations or afflictions in Russian, you often use an impersonal construction, where the person not feeling well is technically not the subject of the sentence. Here are some of the most common patterns for these sayings. Dative noun + predicative expression First, what’s a predicative expression?…

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Царь, царевич, or Royal Titles in Russian Posted by on Jan 17, 2019

crown

Are King Arthur and King Solomon both “коро́ль” in Russian? Why are both принц and князь used to say “prince,” and what’s the difference? This post will look at some royal titles in Russian and give examples of famous bearers of these titles. Коро́ль/Короле́ва The term “коро́ль” (king) is believed to come into Slavic languages…

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Why Are (Most) Russians Bad At Speaking Other Languages Posted by on Jan 9, 2019

liquor store

Several people who visited Russia told me they were surprised to discover that relatively few people spoke or understood English, even in the service industry in large cities. Generally speaking, the educational system and the environment in Russia contribute to this state of affairs. Largely Monolingual In a 2014 survey by the Levada Center pollster…

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Poll: Most Russians Miss USSR Posted by on Jan 2, 2019

elderly man

The Russian pollster Levada Center recently published thought-provoking, if unsettling, findings: Most Russians said they missed the Soviet Union. We will look at the detailed results of this survey and some possible explanations. You can read the pollster’s report in Russian. More People Miss the USSR The main finding of the poll (опро́с), conducted in late…

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Move With The Times: Uses of Современный (“Modern”) In Russian Posted by on Dec 27, 2018

laptop and tablet

One of the words that is used a lot in Russian is совреме́нный. This word, which literally means “modern” or “contemporary,” is extremely versatile and can express meanings ranging from timeliness to technological advanced to being hip. Let us look at these related but distinct senses. Happening these days This is a neutral sense of…

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