Latest Comments

In response to: Upgrade progress

Bernard Cross [Visitor]

Q marks instead of Cyrillic using Internet Explorer, but OK with Mozilla Firefox

 Permalink 01/04/15 @ 07:53

In response to: Upgrade progress

Ben [Visitor]

Yep, question marks!!
Windows 8.1 + Firefox


 Permalink 12/07/14 @ 05:09

In response to: Год (часть первая)

Onions [Visitor]

‘Americans read a year like 2012 as “two thousand twelve” or “twenty twelve,” whereas the Russians say literally the “two thousands twelfth year,” which comes out:

две тысячи девятьсот девяносто двенадцатый год’

…which means ‘two thousand nine hundred ninety twelfth year’ !!!
2012 = две тысячи двеннадцатый!
You spelled it correctly in the following sentence :)

Don responds: Thanks! Typo corrected.

 Permalink 11/27/14 @ 02:06

In response to: Upgrade progress

julia [Visitor]

I can only see question marks instead of cyrillic letters.
I’m using Windows 7, Firefox

 Permalink 11/25/14 @ 13:22

In response to: Рыло

Sarahjane [Visitor]

I heard this word for the first time last week here in Moscow. The ex[ression was something like, “не суй своё рыло, куда тебя не просят!” Fortunately said by a friend in jest. :)

 Permalink 11/25/14 @ 04:55

In response to: Upgrade progress

Clifton [Visitor]

RWOTD ?? ???????? ??? ????
On a blackberry playbook I still see only??????????

 Permalink 11/22/14 @ 08:41

In response to: Упорство

Richard [Visitor]


Вот видео, которым Вы и ваша подруга могли бы наслаждаться.

Жизнь может быть хорошей или плохой, обычно оба, и упорство важно! Я тоже очень рад, что ваша подруга выбрала упорство!

I learned a new word today in your post, so thank you! I think I resemble the guy in your first sample sentence. I have no real talent for languages but I just keep plugging away at Russian and one day I’ll be fluent!


 Permalink 11/21/14 @ 15:19

In response to: Upgrade progress

ALEX [Visitor]

DAAAAAAAAAAA………..ONLY ????????????? I CAN SEE(((((((((((((((((((

 Permalink 11/20/14 @ 18:28

In response to: Угол, часть вторая

karen mulhern [Visitor]

thank you for these easy understand lessons in vocabulary and grammar. Very helpful!

 Permalink 11/20/14 @ 12:22

In response to: Сон

Richard [Visitor]

Some people believe that Gogol’s story “Нос” ("The Nose") was meant as a dream - “Сон". Whether Gogol meant it to be taken as a dream or not, it’s a great tale!

 Permalink 11/20/14 @ 07:16

In response to: Коса

Mikhail [Visitor]

“Коса” is also a word for spit (long, narrow peninsula). Also, in geophysics we use this word for an array of hydrophones, floating behind the seismic surveyor ship.

 Permalink 11/19/14 @ 03:45

In response to: Держать язык за зубами

Larry [Visitor]

been trying to learn Russia for a while, this helps, just wish it had audio to help with pronunciation.

 Permalink 11/16/14 @ 11:51

In response to: Upgrade progress

A. [Visitor]

I do not see Russian texts, but only question marks:

? ????? ???????? ????? ?? ????? ????? ??????? ? ???????. I saw a big walrus on my trip to the Arctic.

 Permalink 10/31/14 @ 15:17

In response to: Бумажник

marguerite [Visitor]

I need to hear the word.

 Permalink 10/25/14 @ 07:49

In response to: Upgrade progress

Pier [Visitor]

Yes, the usual questions marks instead of Russian
Cyrillic characters.
I’m using a PC, Windows 7 64bit, Google chrome.

 Permalink 10/24/14 @ 13:34

In response to: Белка

Richard [Visitor]

Это интересное видео о Белки и Стрелки на Би-Би-Си:

 Permalink 10/18/14 @ 14:32

In response to: Кирпич, часть вторая

Liz WiId [Visitor]

Love your blog. Thanks for putting it out there for us.

Minor quibble: “exaggerating” has two ‘g’s’ … one ‘r’.

Don responds: Thanks! Typo corrected.

 Permalink 10/15/14 @ 11:53

In response to: Морж

Richard [Visitor]

Hm, my dictionary says that моржи can also refer to people who take cold-water plunges in winter. In North America we call these polar bear swimmers. In Canada polar bear plunges are very popular, especially on New Year’s Day.

 Permalink 10/14/14 @ 12:42

In response to: Upgrade progress

Claudia Furlan [Visitor]

the same problem to me, kak jal!
I’m using Mac Book pro, Safari Versione 6.1.6 (7537.78.2)
Please please try to fix it

 Permalink 10/13/14 @ 02:16

In response to: Вишня

Shady_arc [Visitor]

I’d say the most typical expression for suits is “малиновый пиджак” (crimson jacket). In early 90s New Russians were famous for wearing these. However, in the late 90s it has already become bad taste in clothing, so, in reality, I have never seen one. “Вишнёвый костюм” does not sound familiar.

That’s why it is important to know them as “малиновые пиджаки” since they only exist in jokes now. Not for long, probably.

 Permalink 10/10/14 @ 03:16

In response to: Который, часть первая

Mark Sowul [Visitor]

Isn’t it чьи эти деньги?

Don responds: Mark, most often it is «Чьи это деньги?» “Whose money is this?” with unchanging это. It is also possible to say «Чьи эти деньги?» “Whose is this money?” with adjectival это that will agree with the subject, but this is much less common.

 Permalink 10/09/14 @ 03:27

In response to: Кирпич, часть вторая

Richard [Visitor]


I agreed with your last paragraph right up till when you touted the benefits of religion. There is religious theory and then there is religious praxis. In my experience it’s quite often the religious believers who are the most aggressive, the most violent, the most intolerant, the most hateful.

The bible and the koran contain pretty little phrases promoting tolerance and universal love. However when put into practice the result is an ossified ideology of hate and intolerance.

For the record, I consider “communism” (the USSR was never communist, nor China, hence the quotation marks) and the various varieties of fascism to be religions. Smash the old set of rules and replace them with a new set of rules; replace the old saviour, the old shepherd, with a new Leader and there you have a new religion.
No, my friend, religion is not the answer. Religion is part of the problem.

I have faith, faith in Humanity, faith that we can come together without the need for invisible beings and selective morality enforced from on high. Morality comes from within each of us, it doesn’t come from a book and it doesn’t come from the twisted words of a supposed prophet. Morality certainly does not come from a fear of being judged in a next life; that is a very disingenuous “morality". Morality, love and tolerance come from within each Human Being, some more than others.

In peace,

P.S. Have you ever read Jacque Ellul’s “The Technological Society"? I think you might enjoy his thoughts on technology, materialism and conformity.

 Permalink 10/08/14 @ 09:51

In response to: Который, часть первая

Richard [Visitor]

Are relative clauses containing который always separated by commas from the main clause?

Also, one small typo. “Whose money is that which is lying on the windowsill?". Could it also be, “Whose money is that lying on the windowsill?", or would that require the verb лежать as a participle?

Don responds: Richard, thanks for pointing out the typo. It has been corrected.

Yes, when который is part of a relative clause, it is always set off by commas. (When который is used as an interrogative adjective then it is not set off by commas.)

 Permalink 10/06/14 @ 02:39

In response to: Upgrade progress

Aatami [Visitor]

I can only see question marks instead of Cyrillic characters! My OS is Win 8.1 and browser the most recent IE. What to do?

 Permalink 10/01/14 @ 01:26

In response to: Upgrade progress

rob [Visitor]

love the site, but those Russian letters still all look the same to me???!!!! using windows 8

 Permalink 09/24/14 @ 14:14

In response to: Upgrade progress

rob [Visitor]

love the site, but those Russian letters still all look the same to me???!!!!

 Permalink 09/24/14 @ 14:13

In response to: Белка

Andrey [Visitor]

Небольшое уточнение. Белка и Стрелка были не первые собаки в космосе. Первой собакой была Лайка. Но к сожалению она не вернулась на Землю. Поэтому, Белка и Стрелка это первые собаки, которые были в космосе и вернулись назад. Так будет правильней.

 Permalink 09/24/14 @ 11:08

In response to: Upgrade progress

Clifton [Visitor]

On a blackberry playbook I get question marks instead of cyrillic.

 Permalink 09/23/14 @ 21:10

In response to: Upgrade progress

Mujgo [Visitor]

I’m also just seeing question marks instead of cyrillic.
I’m using Windows 8.1 64bit, tried with Firefox and Chrome. When I read the site over feedly it works, though.

 Permalink 09/23/14 @ 15:42

In response to: Достопримечательности

Dennis [Visitor]

Great job in adding the audio instruction to what was already a great studying tool.

 Permalink 09/22/14 @ 15:30

In response to: Upgrade progress

Antonovich [Visitor]

Windows 7 64-bit

IE 9.0.8112.16421 64-bit - displayed
Yandex.Browser 14.7.1916.15705 (bab24c4)- displayed

No Cyrillic chars displayed.

Opera Developer 19.0.1326.0
Google Chrome 37.0.2032.120 m
Firefox 32.0.2

 Permalink 09/20/14 @ 19:47

In response to: Upgrade progress

mb [Visitor]

No Cyrillic chars displayed.
Windows 7 sp1 IE 10

 Permalink 09/15/14 @ 01:49

In response to: Upgrade progress

Edwige [Visitor]

I’m of those who see only questions marks instead of Russian characters :-( I’m using a PC, Windows 7, Firefox.

 Permalink 09/14/14 @ 00:04

In response to: Upgrade progress

Lara [Visitor]

everything appears to be replaced by question marks!!! terrible :)

 Permalink 09/05/14 @ 10:08

In response to: Guest book & general comments

Наташа [Visitor]

Кстати, отличный блог.

 Permalink 08/23/14 @ 14:26

In response to: Кирпич, часть первая

Sabi [Visitor]

“Кирича” etc => “Кирпича”

Don responds: Thanks! Typo fixed!

 Permalink 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

 Permalink 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.

 Permalink 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!

 Permalink 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!


 Permalink 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?

 Permalink 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

 Permalink 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.

 Permalink 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.

 Permalink 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.

 Permalink 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.

 Permalink 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.

 Permalink 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?

 Permalink 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! ;-)

 Permalink 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.

 Permalink 02/28/14 @ 02:18