Categories: "Conjunctions"


by Evgeny  

The Russian word Коса means ‘scythe’ or ‘braid’. It declines like so:


The word Коса has two very different meanings - 'scythe' and 'braid'. Both have a lot to do with Russian culture. The agricultural tool scythe has been used by Russian peasants centuries ago and is still used today in some villages to mow wheat, grass and anything else that needs to be mowed. When it comes to a braid, it has been known as a traditional Russian female hairstyle for just as long. Russian women would grow their hair out and braid it. The longer the braid, the prettier the hair was considered. I think that it is has been the most popular hairstyle for quite some time because of it's simplicity and practicality.

Here are a few sample sentences:

Ее коса была такой длинной, что почти касалась пола. Her braid was so long, that it almost touched the floor.
У смерти в руках была коса. Death had a scythe in its hands.
Он косил траву косой. He was mowing grass with a scythe.
У моей подруги две длинные косы. My girlfriend has two long braids.
Косари стояли с косами в руках. The mowers stood with scythes in their hands.

As far as braids go, the most famous коса in recent history was the one worn by Юлия Тимошенко, the Ukrainian politician who was at the forefront of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. Here you can see her picture. She was not just a model of Slavic beauty, but a political force to be reckoned with. I strongly recommend the Wikipedia link to her biography and the discussion of the Orange Revolution.

Угол, часть вторая

by Evgeny  

The Russian word Угол means ‘corner’ or ‘angle’. It declines like so:

Preоб угле
в углу
на углу

The word угол can have a different meaning, depending on the context it is used in. For example, in geometry it can be used when talking about an angle of a triangle or some other geometrical figure. It can also be used when giving directions and talking about street or building corners. However, the word Угол was used in a very unique context by a forward of Tula's soccer team "Arsenal", who said that the he received the ball «на угол головы», which means: “on the corner of his head.” Apparently some people’s heads have corners...

Don comments: For a discussion of the multiple prepositional forms, see the previous entry on угол.


by Evgeny  

The Russian word Звонок means ‘bell’, ‘ring’, ‘call’ or ‘buzzer’. It declines like so:

  Sg Pl
Nom звонок звонки
Acc звонок звонки
Gen звонка звонков
Pre звонке звонках
Dat звонку звонкам
Ins звонком звонками

The word звонок can have a different meaning, depending on the context it is used in. For example, a door bell and a phone call are both translated as звонок. Also, there is an event called “последний звонок” (“last bell/buzz”), which is a celebration for high school students that are graduating. It is similar to american graduation ceremony and takes place between the last day of classes and the beginning of final exams. During the celebration, a small bell is rung quite often. It symbolizes a buzzer that sounds at the beginning and at the end of classes, letting the students know that a class period just started or ended.

Последний звонок прозвенел. The last bell has rung.
Его разбудил звонок в дверь.

He was awakened by the doorbell.

Ему был разрешен один телефонный звонок. He was allowed one phone call.


by Evgeny  

The Russian word Сила means ‘strength’, ‘force’ or ‘power’. It declines like so:


The word Сила is used quite often in Russia since it can be used in many contexts. For example, there is a popular saying in Russia: «Сила есть - ума не надо», which means roughly, “If you have strength, you don’t need a brain.” It is usually used sarcastically when describing somebody big and stupid, or when somebody tries to achieve something by using brute force. A good example of that is Mike Tyson joining the Union of Russian Writers. Even though he is a legendary boxer known for the power of his knockouts, some people find this absurd and think that he does not deserve to be on the same . His membership was officially announced October 27th, 2014, when his memoir book “Undisputed Truth” was presented in Moscow. He is by far not the most intelligent guy, but his strength and commitment to what he does best got him here.

Here are a few sample sentences:

Сила в знаниях. Power is in knowledge.
У каждого своя сила. Each has their own strength.
Он бежал изо всех сил. He ran as fast as he could.
У моей машины триста лошадиных сил My car has three hundred horsepower.
Он обладал великой силой воли. He had great will power.

Который, часть первая

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?

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