Latest comments

In response to: Кирпич, часть первая

Sabi [Visitor]
"Кирича" etc => "Кирпича"

Don responds: Thanks! Typo fixed!
PermalinkPermalink 06/22/14 @ 00:25

In response to: Translating humor, part II

Marc [Visitor]
After the integration of Dombass in the Russian federation a new state was created: Dombassia.
The citizens are now called "dumbasses"

It's the next step after all :p
PermalinkPermalink 05/31/14 @ 04:19

In response to: Уходить/уйти

Alex [Visitor]

>In Russian if you mention the place you are leaving, you must *always* use the ‘from’ word with its noun. For this verb you use the typical ‘from’ equivalents. For example:

But if you use "покинула" instead of "ушла", you never use "from".
Таня ушла из университета
Таня покинула университет

The latter is close to "left forever" though, but not always.
PermalinkPermalink 05/11/14 @ 02:16

In response to: Translating humor, part II

Richard [Visitor]
Hm, this was tougher than I thought it would be.

"After the welcoming home of Crimea by Russia a new state arose - Ratropolis.
The citizens will be known as 'squealers'..."

Any critiques more than welcome!
PermalinkPermalink 04/30/14 @ 18:18

In response to: Крыса

Natasha [Member]

What an intriguing question! I did some research and talked to a few native speakers, and it appears as though this is not the case for rats in Russian. The word крыса is used for both male and female rats. A small or baby rat would be called крысёнок. Hope this helps! Thanks so much for the comment!

PermalinkPermalink 04/07/14 @ 12:48

In response to: Крыса

Richard [Visitor]

Since Russian has different words for male and female cats, is this also the case for rats?
PermalinkPermalink 03/31/14 @ 16:33

In response to: Translating humor, part I

Richard [Visitor]

An interesting post!

Of course humour relies on more than just linguistics. It also relies on culture. People who have a shared cultural history and cultural values are able to create humour using this cultural subtext. The comedian and his audience share an implicit understanding of what is funny and what the boundaries of humour are.
Some cultures joke about sex, some about religion, some about drinking, some about none of the above.

Human beings are united by our love of humour but are divided by our cultural definitions of humour.

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."
~ W.C. Fields
PermalinkPermalink 03/31/14 @ 16:26

In response to: Translating humor, part I

Shady_arc [Visitor]
I wonder if you could use "How is your (thesis) proposal?" here? Will anyone make the connection and even understand what the ambiguity is?

Don responds: Ah, now that is clever! But it might take a subtle reader to riddle it out.
PermalinkPermalink 03/31/14 @ 03:23

In response to: «Я покажу тебе Кузькину мать!»

David Taylor [Visitor]
неучадчником should be неудачником!

Don responds: Thanks! Typo corrected.
PermalinkPermalink 03/20/14 @ 08:13

In response to: «Я покажу тебе Кузькину мать!»

Richard [Visitor]

It's always good to learn some idiomatic phrases. Also, as a political junkie I really enjoyed this post!

Никсон: "И это типичная капиталистическая кухня!"

Хрущёв: "Но где же серебро??"

Никсон: "Я не мошенник!"

Хрущёв: "Я покажу тебе Кузькину мать!!!"

Sorry, couldn't resist, I love political humour! :-D

Anyway, I have a question re the sentence "Ты всегда будешь неучадчником!" Literally, this would translate as "You'll always be an ignoramus!"
I found "неуч" in my dictionary with the English translation "ignoramus", however I wasn't able to find "неучадник". Is it safe to assume that the meaning is the same as "неуч" or is there a slightly different connotation due to the ending "-адник"?

Don responds: Typo corrected. Неудачник is the intended word.
PermalinkPermalink 03/12/14 @ 18:36

In response to: Вести

Mark Sowul [Visitor] ·
I know this verb is an oddball, but они "ведвелут"?

Don responds: Oops, thanks! Typo corrected.
PermalinkPermalink 03/11/14 @ 06:26

In response to: Ассортимент

Simo Vihinen [Visitor]
I had to pop by and leave another comment! Great article about the word ассортимент! I think you have a small typo: "сухофркуты в ассортименте".

Don responds: Thanks! Typo corrected.
PermalinkPermalink 03/05/14 @ 17:14

In response to: Мусор

David Taylor [Visitor]
In Moscow I heard the word «мильтон» used for 'cop' or 'fuz' and they could fine you on the spot for using it. Is this still the case?

Don responds: Oof, I have no idea. Perhaps one of our readers from Russia could respond?
PermalinkPermalink 03/02/14 @ 04:10

In response to: Мусор

Richard [Visitor]
Hi Shady_arc,

Those are some great words to apply to TV programs! Они - слова, которые я не знал! Спасибо!

Может быть слово хлам могло использоваться в этом контексте?

It's amazing how many different ways human beings can talk trash! ;-)
PermalinkPermalink 02/28/14 @ 15:22

In response to: Мусор

Shady_arc [Visitor]
"мусорный ящик" is not a common expression in Russian, just like "trash box"/ "garbage crate". Letterbox for trash comes to mind :).

A real term is "мусорное ведро" (at home) or "урна" (on the streets: often next to benches or building entrances).

As for garbage on TV, I would use "бред", "шлак", "чушь", "всякую гадость" and so on, depending on the meaning implied.
PermalinkPermalink 02/28/14 @ 02:18

In response to: Водить

Sahyd_arc [Visitor]
"Я вчера водил своих девушек на престижную дискотеку. Ахти, как им там понравилось!" → "Ахти" should not be used here. First, it has a negative connotation "alas". Second, it is downright archaic and used only in "не ахти как"(~"not really good").

"И как им там понравилось!" would work just fine.

Don responds: Sahyd, thanks for your comment. I've decided to change the ахти to вау, which I've heard from the lips of a 22-year old kid who always seems to have beautiful girls around him. He originally inspired the sentence. Like many twenty-somethings (and thousands of Muscovites) he occasionally throws in anglicisms. BTW, I enjoyed the discusion of вау and other interjections here.
PermalinkPermalink 02/28/14 @ 02:12

In response to: Мусор

Richard [Visitor]
Hi Don,

Thanks for your response.

Re the use of мусор, I was just curious about how the word is used in the purely figurative sense. I chose TV as an example because it's so annoying; I can only hope that Russian TV shows are of better quality than what we have here! LOL

Thanks for the links about едь. From what I read, it seems that the consensus of opinion is that it's a vulgarism which should be avoided by educated people. I guess Natasha stated it best when she called it substandard Russian.

PermalinkPermalink 02/24/14 @ 21:13

In response to: Мусор

Richard [Visitor]
An interesting post, Natasha!

A couple of questions come to mind:

1.) Could "мусор" be used in a broader figurative sense, i.e., apart from referring to the local constabulary?
In Canada we often say that something we don't like is "garbage". For example: "There's nothing but garbage on TV!"
На русском языке, может быт: "Есть только мусор по телевидению!" Is that a correct usage of "мусор"?

2.) You mentioned that "едь" is substandard Russian. Is "едь" simply incorrect grammatically or is it slang? If it is slang is it considered profane in any way? Is it used by a certain age group or social group? Sorry for all the questions, I'm just curious.

Don responds: Hi, Richard. This is Don, responding for Natasha.

  1. Although it would be perfectly grammatical in Russian to say that someone is watching garbage on TV, it is not a common thing to say. If you google the phrase "мусор по телевидению" (with quotes), you will find very few hits. Compare that with the results for the corresponding English phrase.
  2. «Едь» is non-literary, uneducated Russian, not slang and not profane. Absolutely everyone understands it immediately when they hear it. If you know your imperative formation rules very well, then in fact you would predict that едь is the imperative form. But sometimes the expected form in a language is replaced entirely by an unexpected form; then we say that form is suppletive. Thus in English we would expect the past tense of "go" to be be "goed," but instead we get the suppletive form "went." In the Russian literary language the verb ехать and all its prefixed derivatives use suppletive variations of езжай for the imperative. Occasionally one will also hear «ехай». The Russians themselves sometimes have questions on this issue. See the discussions on and for a bit of amusement.

PermalinkPermalink 02/20/14 @ 12:50

In response to: Путешествовать

Richard [Visitor]

1.) How does the perfective prefix "по-" change the meaning of this verb? Knowing Russian verbs of motion I have a feeling the answer won't be a simple one! :-)

2.) Just an observation. It looks like "путешествовать" comes from the noun "путь" meaning "path" or "way".

Don responds: Richard, the по- here simply adds the idea of ‘for a while.’ On this occasion there is no complex directional meeting.

BTW, good observation. Пут- does indeed mean path/way, and the root of the second part is шед- ‘go’, which we see in the past tense of идти, which is шёл. (The connection between ид-/шед-/ход- is actually quite interesting, but would take too much time to go into here.)
PermalinkPermalink 02/17/14 @ 08:21

In response to: Сгущёнка

MMM [Visitor]
Вот вполне приемлемая формулировка правила употребления предлогов с/со: "Предлог "со" фонетически закономерен перед словами, начинающимися с сочетаний [с, з, ш, ж] + согласная или с согласной [щ]: со ста, со славой, со звездой, со шкафа, со жгутом, со щами, со зверем, но с зайцем. Перед словами, начинающимися сочетанием "сс", употребляется предлог "с".
Также предлог "со" употребляется перед формами с начальными сочетаниями [л, ль, р, м] + согласная: со лба, со мной, со льдом, со ртом; также перед сочетаниями [в] + согласная: со вторника, со всеми, со второго."

Не советую вам так опираться на мнение носителей языка. Мы допускаем слишком много ошибок, о которых сами не знаем.

Don responds: Melodi, thanks for the comment! Your rule is generally good for foreigners.
PermalinkPermalink 02/08/14 @ 10:50