Ласточка

September 2nd, 2013 — posted by Don

Outside my apartment here in Kazan every morning and evening a flock of swallows flies around catching the twilight bugs. They are swift flying, split-tailed avians. Every once in a while one flies into my balcony through an open window and, confused by all the glass, can't figure how to get back out. I walk up from behind, gently wrap it in my hands and release it through the one open window. The Russian word for swallow is ласточка.

SgPl
Nomласточкаласточки
Accласточкуласточек
Genласточки
Preласточкеласточках
Datласточкам
Insласточкойласточками

A swallow looks like this.

Вот летит ласточка! There goes a swallow!
— В чём живут ласточки?
— В гнёздах, сделанных из грязи.
“What do swallows live in?”
“In nests made of mud.”
Питаются деревенские ласточки насекомыми: мухи, кузнечики, сверчки, стрекозы, жуки и другие летающие насекомые составляют 99 % их рациона. (source) Barn swallows feed on insects: flies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles and other flying insects make up 99% of their diet.
— Ты любишь ласточек?
— Люблю смотреть, как они летают по двору, но их чириканье напоминает звук плотоядных птиц из фильма «Чёрная дыра».
“Do you like swallows?”
“I like to watch them fly around the courtyard, but their chirping reminds me of the sound of the carnivorous birds from the movie ‘Pitch Black’.”

Just as important as the birds themselves in Russia is the chocolate candy named after them, which looks like this.

So what is a ласточка?

Ласточка - это конфета с помадным корпусом, глазированная шоколадной глазурью. A ‘Lastochka’ is a fondant candy with a chocolate glaze.
В «Ласточке» — помада «Крем-брюле» с добавлением какао-порошка, цитрусовой подварки и сливочного масла. A ‘Lastochka’ has a crème brûlée fondant with cocoa powder, citrus extract and butter added.

This is a wonderful candy. There is another one on the market called серенада ласточки “serenade of the swallow” that looks like this.

This is almost the same in flavor to the ordinary ласточка, although the label specifies orange extract instead of citrus extract.

The Russians make wonderful candy. The only thing about Russian sweets that makes me scratch my head is their affection for meringue cookies. And those nasty waffle cookies. Hate them.

Акварель

August 28th, 2013 — posted by Janell

Watercolor is Акварель in Russian.The word both means the watercolor paints and an actual watercolor painting. The word theoretically has a plural, but really it's mostly used in the singular.

SgPl
Nomакварельакварели
Accакварельакварели
Genакварелиакварелей
Preакварелиакварелях
Datакварелиакварелям
Insакварельюакварелями

У меня есть акварель. I have watercolors.
Он рисует акварелью. He paints with watercolors.
Научи меня писать акварелью. Teach me how to paint with watercolors.
У неё нет акварели. She doesn’t have watercolors.

Акваарель may come from the French word ‘aquarelle.’ Watercolor is a medium of art in the form of painting such as oil painting, charcoal, markers or colored pencils. One of the traits of watercolor is that it appears more transparent than marker or regular paint because it is “relatively pure with less fillers obscuring the color”. There are many different techniques for water-coloring from how you use the paints to how you lay them on the paper and what you do with the paper. Wet on Wet refers to the act of wetting the paper itself and then laying down the watercolor instead of working on a dry surface. Usually the surface used for water color has to be thicker to stand some of the rougher techniques used in watercolor.

As with many forms of art, watercolor can be used in therapy for patients as a way to express their selves if they feel they cannot with words alone, or a way to relieve stress in a positive way. For more information on watercolor such as its history or usage here is where I found most of my information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watercolor_painting.

Улица

August 26th, 2013 — posted by Don

The Russian word for ‘street’ is улица, which has got to be related somehow to улитка ‘snail,’ but I haven't figured out a way to connect them in an engaging fashion. It is declined like this.

SgPl
Nomулицаулицы
Accулицу
Genулицыулиц
Preулицеулицах
Datулицам
Insулицейулицами

Both Russian streets and American streets can be named after people. So in the US you can have Washington Street or Lincoln Street Street. In Russian when you name a street after someone, the name goes in the genitive case and comes after the word улица. You don't normally capitalize улица, except of course at the beginning of the sentence.

Где улица Баумана? Where is Bauman street?
Поверните налево на улице Пушкина. Turn left on Pushkin Street.
Как доехать до улицы Михаила Миля? How do you get to Mikahil Mil street?

Note that when you translate the street into English, the name must be transliterated from the nominative form, not the genitive form.

Many Russian last names resemble adjectives in form, like Достоевский or Толстой. They must decline like adjectives.

Как пройти к улице Достоевского? How do you get to Dostoevski Street?
Улица Толстого сегодня закрыта. Tolstoy Street is closed today.

Now, what if the name of the street isn't a person's name, say, something like Trade Union Street or Kremlin Street? Then there are a couple of ways to go about it. The first way is to turn the noun into an adjective and put it in front of the noun; of course, the adjective agrees with the noun in gender, number and case.

Где Профсоюзная улица? Where is Trade Union Street?
Геологический музей находится на Кремлёвской улице. The geology museum is located on Kremlin Street.


(BTW, I currently really like the map at zurbarzar.ru, and I also love the program 2гис for both maps and linking with reviews.)

Sometimes the adjective will come after the noun, and it will still agree with the noun.

— Где улица Москвовская?
— Что за дурацкий вопрос. Вы на улице Московской и стоите!
“Where is Moscow Street?”
“What a stupid question. You’re standing on Moscow Street!”

I seem to notice a tendency on internet maps to put the «ул.» in front of the adjective; Google maps seems to have made that editorial decision. However in speech the Russians seem to accept the adjective either before or after the noun... at least I haven't been corrected so far.

Искусство

August 21st, 2013 — posted by Janell

The word искусство means art. It declines like this:

SgPl
Nomискусствоискусства
Accискусство
Genискусстваискусств
Preискусствеискусствах
Datискусствуискусствам
Insискусствомискусствами

Мне нравится искусство. I like art.
В искусстве нет больше ничего оригиналього. There is no original art anymore.
Полюбуйся искусством. Enjoy the art.
Он рассказал о своем искусстве. He talked about his artwork.

Art can be the representation of the imagination, expression of the emotion, or recording or a memory, that is usually tangible visual or audial. There are many styles of art from drawings, sculptures, photography to dancing and music. All of these are expressions of the artists that they want to share in their own way. Art has a plethora of genres, from realism and surrealism to geographical art or abstract. Art has many different eras: Renaissance, Classical, Romantic, Contemporary and Modern. Art varies in style from country to region down to the individual. Art can help distress a person or simply let them positively express their creativity.

In 1757 Ivan Shuvalov created the Russian Academy of Arts then known as the Academy of the three noble arts. The focus was on neoclassical styles and prepared its students for furthering their education in European schools. As of 1947 the head office is in Moscow. One of the most recognized art traditions that come from Russia are the Matryoshka dolls. Those are also referred to as Russian nested dolls. They are the small wooden dolls that open from the middle horizontally which have inside of most of them are a smaller doll until they get to the smallest one. Vasily Zvyozdochkin carved the first Russian Matryoshka set in 1890 from a design by Sergey Malyutin.

Ставить/поставить

August 19th, 2013 — posted by Don

The verb ставить/поставить means ‘to put,’ and specifically it means to put something somewhere in a vertical position. It conjugates like this:

Imperfective Perfective
Infinitive ставить поставить
Past ставил
ставила
ставило
ставили
поставил
поставила
поставило
поставили
Present ставлю
ставишь
ставит
ставим
ставите
ставят
No such thing as
perfective present
in Russian.
Future буду ставить
будешь ставить
будет ставить
будем ставить
будете ставить
будут ставить
поставлю
поставишь
поставит
поставим
поставите
поставят
Imperative ставь(те) поставь(те)

The item you move is the direct object of the verb. But what about the place where you put the item? That is actually a bit complicated. If you are putting an item on a flat surface, then use на + accusative.

Игорь поставил бутылку на стол. Igor put the bottle on the table.
Вера поставила будильник на полку. Vera put the alarm clock on the shelf.

If you are putting something into another relatively small item, then use в + accusative.

Мы поставили джем в холодильник. We put the jam in the refrigerator.
Я рассеянно поставил чашку чая в шкаф. I absent-mindedly put a cup of tea in the cupboard.

However, if you are putting something in a room of your apartment, though, use в + prepositional. (Кухня is a на word, so for it you can use на + prepositional as well.)

Мы поставили новый диван в гостиной. We put the new couch in the living room.
Я поставлю новую кровать в спальне сына. I’ll put the new bed in my son’s room.
Мы поставим новую стиральную машину в ванной. We will put the new washing machine in the bathroom.
Поставь холодильник на кухне. Put the refrigerator in the kitchen.