October 8th, 2008

The Russian word for farewells is прощания. (The singular form of the word is прощание.) There are different ways of saying farewell, and they all depend on the situation. When my family was leaving for the US, our friends and family were afraid that we would not be able to come back, but they tried to stay calm and high spirited by saying «Желаем вам всего наилучшего» meaning “We wish you all the best”. When we arrived in Arizona, my family was very tired and we went to sleep fast that night. My aunt showed us the rooms and said «Спокойной ночи и до завтра» “Good night and till tomorrow.” The next morning we enjoyed a breakfast of waffles and orange juice. It was only 6:30AM when my aunt stood up and said «Боюсь, что мне пора на работу» “I'm afraid I should be going to work.” Surprised at how early my aunt was leaving, my mom said «До вечера» meaning “Till evening,” and my aunt ran out the door.

Once in a while my mom called my grandmother in Russia and talked about family matters. At the end of the conversation, my mom always said «Передавай привет папе» meaning “Send my regards to Dad,” and my grandmother said «Хорошо, пока!» meaning “Okay, bye!” Whenever my grandfather talked to my mother on the phone, he became emotional because he missed our family very much, so he stayed off the phone and communicated through my grandmother. When someone says пока, this is usually a term used when talking to family or friends. However, when talking to strangers, co-workers, or other unrelated people, it is more polite to use the phrase «До свидания» “Goodbye” instead.

В ресторане

October 7th, 2008

Last year my family went to a restaurant for my birthday. Upon arrival we picked a table. A waitress approached us immediately. We said to her «Принесите, пожалуйста, меню» “Bring the menu, please”. I had trouble picking a dish on the menu because everything looked very good so I said to the waitress «Что вы посоветуете?» meaning “What do you recommend?” I eventually ordered a tasty pasta dish with grilled chicken, cheese, and pasta sauce. «Обожаю сыр и курицу!» “I love cheesе and chicken!” Next, the waitress said «Что вы будете пить?» “What will you have to drink?” and everyone ordered their drinks.

Before we started eating, my family offered a toast to me by saying «За твоё здоровье и благополучие!» “To your health and happiness!” All of us enjoyed our dinner while sharing family stories and past experiances. At the end of the night my mom said to everyone «Всё было очень вкусно» “Everything was delicious” especially the salad which had fresh garlic croutons. We made our way to the exit after paying the bill and came home happy and tired.


October 6th, 2008

The Russian word for tomato is помидор, as in «На балконе я посадил помидоры» “I planted tomatoes on the balcony.” Russians make great use of their apartment living space, so I've seen all sorts of plants being raised on balconies in the summer time in Moscow.

Of course, once you talk about tomatoes, you have to talk about tomato sauce. How would you go about putting together a phrase like that in Russian? In English it is common to put two nouns in a row with the first modifying the second, like in "city park." Russian mostly doesn't do that: normally the first word has to be put into adjective form. To make the adjective, you start with the stem of the noun, add an adjectival suffix and case endings. For instance:

NounAdjectiveExample phrase
столстоловыйстоловая ложка tablespoon
чайчайныйчайная ложка teaspoon
чайный гриб tea mushroom
городгородскойгороской парк city park

With that in mind, a clever student might predict that "tomato sauce" in Russian would be «помидорный соус». But alas, even though there is such a word as помидорный, the Russians almost never use it in regards to the sauce. Instead they usually say томатный соус. If you think that implies that there must also be a word томат, you would be exactly right, but the noun томат is used much less often than the noun помидор. Thus one says «Я обожаю помидоры» “I adore tomatoes” using the one root, but one says «Меня обрызгал скунс, пришлось отмываться томатным соусом» “I got sprayed by a skunk and had to take a bath in tomato sauce” using the other root. Actually, they don't natively have skunks in Russia, so that won't be a big issue for you.

dedie Tomate
esel tomate
frla tomate


October 4th, 2008

The матрёшка is a traditional Russian doll that has been in the Russian culture for many centuries. These dolls are an important part of the Russian culture and I believe that most Russian families own at least one Russian doll. It has become so popular that today, these dolls are sold in the US portraying American characters. The Russian doll is a series of hollow dolls that decrease in size and are fitted into one another as they get smaller. They are hand crafted, colorful, and are rich in fine detail which adds to the beauty of the final product.

In my Russian home, my parents had a collection of the dolls which stood in an elaborate cabinet behind a glass door. My mom said to me «я люблю нашу коллекцию матрёшек», “I love our collection of the Russian dolls”. I feel proud to own these dolls today because they show our culture.


October 3rd, 2008

The Russian word for motorcycle is мотоцикл. Motorcycles are commonly used by many people in Russia. When I was 6 years old, my grandfather bought his first motorcycle. He came home that day very jolly and invited everyone to look at it. He said «Посмотрите на мой мотоцикл!» “Look at my motorcycle!” The new motorcycle gave my grandparents the opportunity to take more trips to places that they could not have traveled to before. It also gave me an opportunity to experience my first ride in a motorcycle. When my grandfather first bought his motorcycle, he asked me if I wanted to go for a ride with him. He said to me «Ты хочешь прокататься на мотоцикле?» “Do you want to take a ride on the motorcycle?”. Initially, I was unsure and felt anxious but eventually I agreed and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The breeze felt wonderful and I felt as if I was on a very fast bike that required no energy to make it run. After that first ride, I took every opportunity to ride the motorcycle with my grandfather. I said to all my friends «Я люблю ездить на мотоцикле с моим дедушкой!» “I love to ride on the motorcycle with my grandfather!”