Душа

September 18th, 2013 — posted by Janell

Душа is the Russian word for soul. This is how it declines:

SgPl
Nomдушадуши
Accдушудуши
Genдушидуш
Preдушедушах
Datдушедушам
Insдушойдушами

У меня есть душа. I have a soul.

Very often Russians will use the word душа where Americans would use the word ‘heart.’

Он красил с душой. He painted with heart.
Я благодарю вас от всей души. I thank you with all my heart.

The phrase «по душе» means ‘pleasant’ or ‘pleasing.’

Эта книга была мне не по душе. I didn't care for the book.

What is a soul exactly? A soul is the non-physical essence of a person. Across the globe the meaning and existence of the soul varies. For the Christians the soul is the spiritual side of a person that must be saved by Christ in order to go to heaven. The Egyptians believed that a person had three souls, each of which went separate ways after the person died. Many believe that the soul can be contacted through the help of mediums or other spiritual forms of contact. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusalka and the book Russian Folk Belief By Linda J. Ivanits there is a creature called the Rusalka it is the Russian version of a mermaid. It is believed that when a young woman dies of violent circumstances or commits suicide their soul turns into one of these creatures. Around the soul are terms and phrases: soul mate, window to the soul, lover of the soul, soul music, to sell one’s soul to the devil, etc., that show the soul affects many aspects of life even if the major folklore around the soul has become irrelevant. One must be careful that they do not confuse the word душа the word for soul with the word душ the word for shower!

Кот

September 16th, 2013 — posted by Don

Russian has a word кот which means a male cat, in other words what we in English would call a tomcat. It's an end-stressed word, which means it always has the stress on the first syllable of the grammatical ending, if there is one, and on the last syllable of the word if there is not a grammatical ending:

SgPl
Nomкоткоты
Accкотакотов
Gen
Preкотекотах
Datкотукотам
Insкотомкотами

Here are a few sample sentences:

Под окном дрались два кота. Two tomcats were fighting under the window.
Ты видишь того кота? Я вчера видел, как он прогнал двух немецких овчарок. Do you see that tomcat? Yesterday I saw him chase off two German Shepherds.
Господи, наш кот опять нассал на кухне. Надо его кастрировать.* Good Lord, our cat has pissed in the kitchen again. We should neuter him.
Кот подкрался к мыши и прыгнул на неё. The cat snuck up on the mouse and pounced on him.

The Russians have a phrase that means “very little” which is related to cats, and that is «кот наплакал», literally “the tomcat cried.” For instance,

— Сколько у тебя денег?
— Кот наплакал.
“How much money do you have left?”
“Next to none.”
— Сколько осталось водки?
— Кот наплакал.
“How much vodka is left?”
“Scarcely a drop.”

* Warning: don't use the word нассать in polite company. It's pretty crude.

Кошка, часть 2-ая

September 9th, 2013 — posted by Don

The generic Russian word for cat is кошка. It declines like this.

SgPl
Nomкошкакошки
Accкошкукошек
Genкошки
Preкошкекошках
Datкошкам
Insкошкойкошками

In the US we summon cats with "here, kitty-kitty-kitty." In Russia you summon a cat by saying «кис-кис». In the summer I was at Raifa Monastery and experimented. Sure enough, the cats did *not* respond to the American version, but they immediately responded to the Russian version.

— Ты любишь кошек?
— Люблю.
“Do you like cats?”
“I do.”
Кис-кис! Ах, какая ты ласковая! Хочу привезти тебя домой, но мама просто не разрешает. Here, kitty-kityy! Oh, you are so sweet! I want to take you home, but Mama won't let me.
Нашу кошку всегда мучит соседская собака. The neighbors’ dog is always tormenting our cat.
— Где Даша?
— Она во дворе играет с кошками.
“Where is Dasha?”
“She's in the courtyard playing with the cats”

Last summer one of my students was recovering from a laparoscopic procedure in Kazan's Hospital #18. He was horrified to see a cat wandering through the ward. I mentioned that to my friend Flyura, and she just laughed and said,

В каждой русской больницe есть кошки. Они вообще такие ласковые, что прямо подходят и залазят тебе в сумку. Every Russian hospital has cats, and they are usually so friendly that they'll just come right up and crawl into your purse.

Мультфильм

September 4th, 2013 — posted by Janell

Cartoon or Мультфильм in Russian is an animated show or movie. It declines as such:

SgPl
Nomмультфильммультфильмы
Accмультфильммультфильмы
Genмультфильмамультфильмов
Preмультфильмемультфильмах
Datмультфильмумультфильмам
Insмультфильмоммультфильмами

У меня есть мультфильмы из Японии. I have cartoons from Japan.
Мы рассказали о мультфильмах. We talked about cartoons.
Я узнала об этом предмете из мультфильма. I learned about the subject from the cartoon
Она умерла в мультфильме. She dies in the cartoon.(Translated as a historical present)


In America there are a lot of animated shows that are for younger audiences such as Winnie the Pooh, Alice in wonderland and many other works by Disney. But there are also cartoon shows for adults that are usually comedy based such as Archer or Venture bros. Every country has its own form of drawing styles and techniques that are represented in the animations that they have or do. Japan has coined the term anime for their productions, many of which have become international. Japanese artist studios collaborated with Russian studios to create the animated film First Squad or Первый Отряд. Cartoons have various elements that real life motion pictures may not be able to express. “The magic of Disney” relies on the animation most of the time to present the wonders it wants to convey. In Japanese culture people are very reserved and most of the time conceal their emotions, however when one watches their anime many of the characters are given various facial expression and exaggerated body language to represent the emotions in a way that cannot be conveyed in real life.

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.