Russian Language Blog

It Is Time to Take Stock: “Время подводить итоги” Posted by on Dec 23, 2010 in language, Russian for beginners

Russians are not alone in their «двойственный» [dichotomous] approach in the weeks before the New Year. On the one hand, it’s time for frantic and quite overwhelming preparations for the holidays, attending parties, buying gifts… On the other hand, it is time for slowing down, reflecting on «старый год» [the year that’s about to end] and «загадывать желания» [make wishes] for «новый год» [the new year].

Here at the Russian Blog 2010 has been a big year full of changes. We got a new look, new authors, and lots and lots of new readers. And that’s the most important part for us – our readers. Thank you for sticking around, reading through our lengthy posts, and letting us know your thoughts, both in the comments on the blog and on our fanpage.

We wrote about a lot of things last year – grammar, current events, literature, weird Russian sayings, delicious food, Russian holidays… «Самые популярные» [the most popular] posts of the year included

  1. The post titled somewhat provocatively Russian Literature is Better Than Sex… was destined to become the most read post of the year on our blog. Yes, our readers are that much into Russian literature!
  2. The post that proves once and for all that Russia is THE land of mad social scientists got the number 2 spot.
  3. Here’s an excellent and well-read post about 10 quintessential experiences every tourist to Russia must try – simple, mostly free, and not covered in any tourist guidebook (which means you’ll have the best stories to tell when you get back home).
  4. What do phrases like «я в сотый раз повторяю» [I’m repeating it for the hundredth time], «с вас двадцать три рубля» [you owe twenty-three rubles] and «я в Москве лишь на одни сутки» [I’m in Moscow for just one day]? Yes, they all use «числительные» [numbers] in them. Our post on «количественные» [cardinal] and «порядковые» [ordinal] Russian numbers was very popular.
  5. Apparently we have quite a few fans of «буква Ё» [letter “Ё ё”] who also find «ёжики» [small hedgehogs] adorable. Otherwise, how to explain the popularity of the post about a Soviet animation classic short, “The Hedgehog in the Fog”.
  6. Make learning Russian days of the week fun by reading about other words and phrases related to them. Personally I think what really made this post so popular was a tip on how to win big in a lottery (it’s under «пятница» [Friday]).
  7. When our elders tell us that our generation has it too easy, don’t roll your eyes. We really do, at least when it comes to Russian letters. On the other hand, some of the nixed letters were truly funky looking, something that would’ve come in handy to entertain friends by writing their names in Russian. [David, congrats on this awesome post making the top ten!]
  8. Do Russians celebrate Halloween? And if there’s trick-or-treating going on, do kids get all those super-sweet Russian chocolates in fancy wrappers? Do guys dress up like «крокодил Гена» [Genna, the cartoon crocodile] and girls – as «Царевна-лягушка»? [the frog princess]? Do they carve Putin-look-alike pumpkins? These are not the questions addressed in this post. Well, except for the first one.
  9. Sometimes one has to travel to Russia without much notice (say, you snagged an awesome deal on plane tickets). You only have about a month to get ready; two weeks if you splurged for an expedited visa. That’s when you need to perform linguistic triage and learn only the top Russian phrases on which to get by and even thrive (oh, and the numbers to pay for museum admissions and the alphabet to read street signs). This was a very popular post as well so either you all know how to get super-sweet travel deals (please-please share), hosting an exchange student from Russia, or are trying to impress your boyfriend/girlfriend.
  10. Of course, once you get a taste of Russia and its language, it’s hard to stop. Even Russian grammar doesn’t seem all that scary or boring at the promise of reading «Война и мир» [War and Peace] in Russian (see #1 on the list). Who knew Russian «части речи» [parts of speech] can be this much fun to learn?!

But maybe you liked some other post(s)? Let us know!

And that’s the “reflections” part. Moving into the New Year, we have quite a few ideas for the posts. At the same time, we are dying to know what kind of stuff would you rather have us write about? Sports, cartoons, math, literature, grammar, more grammar and even politics and religion – we will gladly write about any of these as long as that’s what you want to read. So let us know either in the comments here or on our fanpage.

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  1. Minority: here’s one more funny take of “5 minutes”, but it’s in a better quality 🙂

    Hope 2011 will be even better for your blog than 2010 😉

    I love our humour, so may be you’ll try to tell about it?
    And, may be, something about stereotypes? 🙂 What do foreigners think about us, what do we think about foreigners 🙂 And even what do we think foreigners think about us (for example, about bears in Siberian cities.. ))

    • yelena:

      @Minority Minority, I think those are excellent ideas! I love the one about the stereotypes. And I have this awesome picture I took in St. Petersburg of a small brown bear drinking on a park bench 🙂 Will work on this in the new year.

  2. Beth:

    Thank you so much for writing this blog – it helps me to remember why I am learning Russian after a bad day at university!
    You never fail to cheer me up, interest me and make it seem so simple and easy – thank you!

    • yelena:

      @Beth Thank you, Beth! It’s so nice to hear that our posts help you learn Russian. Really motivates me to write more and write better!