Который, часть первая

October 6th, 2014 — posted by Don

The word can be translated as who, whom, whose, that or which, depending on the context. Grammatically we call it a relative pronoun. In first- and second-year Russian the use of который seems quite complex, but after a year or two of practice, you look book and think, “Why did I ever think that it was difficult?” Because the use of the word is complex for beginning students of Russian, we will break up the discussion of the word over several days. Here are its endings.

* copies nom. if inan.; copies gen. if anim.

The rule for using который is this:

  • Который takes its number, gender and animacy from the noun it refers to in the main clause; and
  • Который takes its case according to the grammatical rule it plays in its own clause.

Let's take a look at a sentence that means, “I know a woman who lives in Tula.”

Notice that который takes its gender and number from the word it refers to in the other clause, but that it has a different case from девушку. That's because который always takes its case from the grammatical role (in this case, the subject) that it fills in its own clause. Let's take a look at a few more sample sentences.

Я знаю парня, который покупает новую машину каждый год. I know a guy who buys a new car every year.
Мы поговорили о девушке, которая была здесь вчера вечером. We chatted about the girl who was here yesterday evening.
Чьи это деньги, которые лежат на подоконнике? Whose money is that which is lying on the windowsill?
Кто выпил вино, которое было в холодильнике? Who drank the wine that was in the refrigerator?


October 3rd, 2014 — posted by Natasha

The Russian word морж means 'walrus'. It declines like so:

  Sg Pl
Nom морж моржи
Acc моржа моржей
Gen моржа моржей
Pre морже моржах
Dat моржу моржам
Ins моржом моржах


Here are a few sample sentences:

С такими усами он был похож на моржа. He looked like a walrus with that moustache.
Я видел большого моржа во время своей поездки в Арктику. I saw a big walrus on my trip to the Arctic.
В Центральном парке стоял морж в цилиндре и с моноклем. A walrus wearing a top hat and monocle was in Central Park.
Я — морж. I am the walrus.


October 2nd, 2014 — posted by Natasha

The Russian verb pair худеть/похудеть means 'to lose weight'. It conjugates like so:

Imperfective Perfective
Infinitive худеть похудеть
Past худел
Present худею
No such thing
as perfective present
in Russian.
Future буду худеть
будешь худеть
будет худеть
будем худеть
будете худеть
будут худеть
Imperative худей(те) похудей(те)

Here are some examples:

Ты отлично выглядишь! Ты похудела? You look great! Did you lose weight?
Я хочу похудеть. I want to lose weight.
Он каждый день тренировался с Ричардом Симмонсом и от этого похудел. He exercised with Richard Simmons every day and lost weight.


October 1st, 2014 — posted by Natasha

The Russian word пчела means 'bee'. It is end-stressed in the singular and root stressed in the plural. It declines like so:

By Emran Kassim via Wikimedia Commons

Russia actually has an abundance of bees. Just a little while ago Russia sent some of their bees over to America to help revive the dwindling bee population. These Russian honeybees are really helping to boost bee populations around the world along with Italian honeybees.

Here are some example sentences:

У меня пчела в волосах! There's a bee in my hair!
Достань соты из улья, но осторожно, а то пчёлы ужалят. Get the honeycomb out of the beehive, but be careful or the bees will sting you.
У меня аллергия на пчёл. I'm allergic to bees.
Когда его ужалила пчела, он опух, как воздушный шар. When the bee stung him, he swelled up like a balloon.


September 30th, 2014 — posted by Natasha

Бомж-пакет is a Russian colloquialism. Now, Google Translate, in its primitive wisdom, translates this word into English as "bum-bag", which is a very literal translation, but doesn't really capture the essence of the word. It's actually used as slang for instant noodles, what Americans would refer to as "ramen." Instant noodles have been the infamous staple of the college student and bachelor diet. From what I've read, the word aims to poke fun at instant noodles, equating it to hobo food essentially. It's actually kind of surprising that instant noodles are popular in Russia, I never would have guessed. Instant noodles in Russia come in a variety flavors, such as, mushroom, mixed vegetable, chicken, and so on. Again, this word is slang, though it's not extremely vulgar, you might not want to blurt it out in a business meeting.

Here are some examples:

—Что ты ел вчера вечером?
— Бомж-пакет.
“What did you eat last night?”
“Hobo ramen.”
— Ты умеешь готовить?
— Только бомж-пакеты.
“Do you know how to cook?”
“Just hobo ramen.”