September 25th, 2014 ? posted by Natasha

The Russian word ????? can be translated into English 'bigwig', 'big shot', 'head honcho', so on and so forth. It can also mean 'cone,' but we'll be focusing more on the 'big shot' context today:


Here are some example sentences:

????? ?? ???????! ??????! ???????? ?????! The bigwig is coming this way! Quick! Hide the vodka!
? ??? ??? ??????
? ??? ?????? ?????, ?? ??????? ?????.
?Who the heck is that??
?That's Gordon Gekko. He's a big shot.?
? ???? ??????????? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ??????? ?????! He looks like a big shot in that cashmere suit!
? ??? ??????
? ??? ????? ?? ???????, ????? ??????.
?Where are the bigwigs??
?They're out on the balcony smoking cigars.?


September 24th, 2014 ? posted by Natasha

The Russian word ?????? means 'bean,' as in the beans that are eaten by people. It declines as such:

  Sg Pl
Nom ???o?? ??????
Acc ?????? ??????
Gen ???o?? ???????
Pre ?????? ???????
Dat ?????? ???????
Ins ??????? ????????

Interestingly enough, the word ?????? is really only used in reference to beans that Russians eat. ??? is another word for beans, but it usually refers to beans that Americans eat, which it can also mean farm animal feed. It's theorized that the use of ??? instead of ?????? was the result of a translation snafu way back when. Most Russians prefer ?????? in general though for the smaller beans that you eat, such as, kidney, pinto, and black. When ?????? is used in the plural it refers to different types of beans, not individual bean seeds. The word is used only in the singular to refer to beans that are used as food.

Here are a few sample sentences:

? ???????? ??????, ??? ?????????! I hate beans, they're gross!
?????? ????????, ??? ???????? ????? ?????. Beans are good for you. They contain a lot of protein.
????? ?? ??? ??????, ?? ????? ??????. When he eats beans, he farts a lot.
??? ????a ??? ??????? ??????! She ate three platefuls of beans!

Don comments: Thanks for the entry about beans, Natasha. I nearly decided to edit out your line about ?????? being used for the beans Russians eat and ???? more commonly for the beans that Americans and animals eat, but then I realized that I've heard the word ?????? used a lot in Russia, but I don't think I've ever discussed ???? there. So I've decided to leave the entry as it is, and hopefully some of our readers will chip in their two cents. I suppose I should note that technically there is a difference between ?????? and ????. If you are in an anal-retentive mood, you can see a discussion of it here (mirror).


September 23rd, 2014 ? posted by Evgeny

The Russian word ????? means ?squirrel?. It declines like so:


Here are some sample sentences.

????? ?????? ???????. Squirrel chews sunflower seeds.
??? ?????? ??????? ?????.

My dog caught a squirrel.

??? ??????? ???????? - ??? ?????. His favorite animal is a squirrel.
??? ????? ??????? ? ??????. She often talks about squirrels.
????? ?? ????? ?? ????, ?? ??? ??????? ???????. When he came out to the yard, he was surrounded by squirrels.

There are quite a few species of squirrels that live in Russia. There is even the Siberian flying squirrel, which is the only species of flying squirrel found in Europe. Ironically, ????? was also the name of one of the dogs that were launched into space on board of Sputnik 5 on August 19th, 1960. They were the first dogs in space. After circling the Earth in a space craft, they safely made it back down as national cosmonaut heroes of the former USSR. This year, a new cartoon was released about the two dogs, originally called ?Belka and Strelka: Moon Adventures?. However, since not too many people outside of Russia are familiar with who they are, the title was changed to ?Space Dogs?.


September 22nd, 2014 ? posted by Don

Sometimes when you study a foreign language, especially one as difficult as Russian, you just want to show off your new-found skills and knowledge, and for Russian one of the great words you can use for that purpose is ??????????????????????. It means ?sights.? That's right, sights. In English it?s one syllable. In Russian it?s eight syllables. Here is how it is pronounced:

When you are trying to learn to pronounce a polysyllabic monstrosity like that, there is a little trick that will help you get it right. If you would like to learn the trick, play this bit of audio:

In terms of declension ????????????????????? is a standard third declension noun:


Although we usually translate it as ?sights,? you could also translate it as ?attractions? or ?places of interest.?

????? ???? ????????????????????? ? ??????? What interestings sights are there in Kazan?
????? ?????????? ????????????????????? ? ?????? ???-?????. The most interesting sight is the Qol Sharif mosque.
? ????????? ?????? ??? ??????????????????????. Norilsk doesn't have any interesting sights.
? ????? ????? ?????????? ????????????????????? ? ??????????
? ????? ???????????? ???? ?????????? ????.
? ????? ??? ??????????
? ??, ??? ???? ?? ??? ??????????.
?What?s the most interesting sight in Vancouver??
?There?s a nude beach near the university.?
?You really think that?s interesting??
?Yeah, there?s stuff worth looking at there.?

??????, ????? ??????

April 2nd, 2014 ? posted by Don

The Russian word for brick is ??????. It is an end-stressed noun, so it declines like this:


Generally speaking, if you are discussing the substance out of which something is made, then you usually use ?????? in the singular.

????? ???????? ?? ???????? ???????. The museum is made of red brick.
?????? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ?? ??????? ???????????? ???????? ??????????. Around the house there was a sturdy wall of Accrington brick.

Of course, if you are counting the bricks the word can occur in the singular and the plural.

????? ??????? ??? ???? ?????????. ?? ?????? ???? ??????? ?????? ???? ?????? ??????. After the tornado every was destroyed. Only one pitiful brick was left of our house.
????? ????????? ?????, ????? ??? ?????? ??? ???????. We only need two more bricks to finish the wall.
? ???????? ??????? ???? ?? ???????? ????? ???????? ? ????? ?????. I built a bookshelf from twenty-six bricks and six boards.

There is more to be said about this word, but that will have to wait till the next couple of entries.