Categories: "Prepositions"

Море

August 30th, 2011 — posted by Don

The word море means sea. It's one of the few nouns in Russian that ends in -е and has a soft consonant before it. Many two-syllable neuter nouns in Russian have a stress shift in the plural. In this case, the noun is stem-stressed in the singular, and end-stressed in the plural. It declines like this:

SgPl
Nomмореморя
Acc
Genморяморей
Preмореморях
Datморюморям
Insморемморями

The seas closest to Russia are:

Балтийское море The Baltic Sea
Каспийское море The Caspian Sea
Азовское море The Azov Sea
Чёрное море The Black Sea
Японское море The Sea of Japan

Notice that the «море» part in Russian is not capitalized.

Russians love to go to the sea of vacation, especially to a sea that is warm and has palm trees. Back in the Soviet period, one of their favorite places was Ялта, a city on the Black Sea that had, relative to Moscow, a warm climate. (By Arizona standards the place is refreshingly cool, but of course this blog is not entitled “Arizona Word of the Day,” so the Moscow viewpoint must predominate.) Море is a на word. In otherwords, when you talk about going to the sea or being at the seashore, you must use the preposition на, not в.

Я люблю Чёрное море. I love the Black Sea.
Ты когда-нибудь был на Каспийском море? Have you ever been at/on the Caspian Sea?
В выходные мы съездили на Аральское море. Страшно видеть, как оно умирает. Last weekend we went to the Aral Sea. It's scary to see it die like that.
Огромное нефтяное пятно движется к Балтийскому морю. (source) A huge oil spill is moving toward the Baltic Sea.

In Modern American English we mostly talk about going “to the beach” in these contexts, so “sea” will often not appear in such translations.

— Что ты делал на выходных?
— Я ездил на море.
“What did you do on the weekend?”
“I went to the beach.”
— Что ты хочешь делать на выходные?
— Давай поедем на море.
“What do you want to do for the weekend?”
“Let's go to the beach.”

От (часть третья)

June 22nd, 2011 — posted by Don

The preposition от is often used with the word лекарство ‘medicine’ to indicate the condition which the medicine is used to treat. It is always used with the gentive case.

— Ой, я уже восьмой день страдаю поносом.
— Тебе нужно лекарство от лямблиоза.
“Oh, I have been suffering from diarrhea for eight days now.”
“You need giardia medicine.”
— Где можно купить лекарство от аллергии?
— В любой аптеке.
“Where can I buy allergy medication?”
“At any pharmacy.”
— Что производит фирма «Новартис»?
— Она производит лекарства от разных болезней, например от паркинсонизма и болезни Альцгеймера.
“What does the Novartis company produce?”
“It produces medicine to treat various diseases, for instance Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.”
— Мне нужен... фу, как называется лекарство от головной боли?
— Героин.
— Что за глупость? Я имею в виду самое обыкновенное лекарство.
— Водка.
— Ты что. Водка головную боль причиняет, не лечит.
— Угу, ты наверно думаешь об аспирине.
— Точно. Мне нужен аспирин.
“I need... Crud. What do you call the medicine that treats headaches?”
“Heroin.”
“Don't be an idiot. I have in mind the most common medicine.”
“Vodka.”
“Come on. Vodka causes headaches. It doesn't cure them.”
“Uh-huh, you probably are thinking about aspirin.”
“Exactly. I need aspirin.”

От (часть вторая)

June 21st, 2011 — posted by Don

The preposition от often means ‘from’ in the sense of ‘due to a negative cause’, and it is always used with the genitive case.

Он умер от инфаркта. He died of a heart attack.
Франция страдает от штормов и наводнений. (source) France is suffering from storms and floods.
Не могу спать от тревоги. I can't sleep due to anxiety.
Дима Билан чуть не потерял зрение от яркого света софитов. (story) Dima Bilan nearly lost his vision because of the bright floodlights.

От (часть первая)

June 20th, 2011 — posted by Don

The preposition от often means from, and it is always used with the genitive case. Specifically if you are coming from seeing someone, then you can use от:

— Откуда ты идёшь?
— От декана.
“Where are you coming from?”
“From seeing the dean.”
— Откуда ты идёшь?
— От Бори.
“Where are you coming from?”
“From Boris's place.”
Когда я вернулся от зубного врача, я сразу же выпил две таблетки кодеина. When I got back from the dentist's office, I immediately took two codeine pills.
Когда вернёшься от бабушки, не забудь поставить кастрюлю в печь на малый огонь. When you get back from Grandma's place, don't forget to put the casserole in the oven on low.

В (degree of comparison)

June 2nd, 2011 — posted by Don

English and Russian both have special comparison forms for adjectives and adverbs, which makes them seem sort of similar. In English the comparative form often ends in -er, and in Russian it often ends in -е or -ее:

The Ferrari is faster than the Toyota. Феррари быстрее, чем Тойота.
Bill Gates is richer than Eike Batista. Билл Гейтс богаче, чем Айке Батиста.
This building is taller than that building. Это здание выше, чем то здание.
Joan Collins is older than Keira Knightley. Джон Кaлинз старше, чем Кира Найтли.¹

But here is a curious thing: if you want to say how many times someone or something is faster, richer, taller or older, then in English there are two constructions you can use. One of them uses an “as...as” phrase without a comparative form, and one of them uses a comparative form with a ‘than’ phrase.

The Ferrari is twice as fast as the Toyota.
The Ferrari is two times faster than the Toyota.

Joan Collins is three times as old as Keira Knightley.
Joan Collins is three times older than Keira Knightley.

This building is five times as tall as that building.
This building is five times taller than that building.

In Russian you always use the comparative form. The word for ‘time’ in this context is раз, which has an irregular genitive plural ‘раз’, and the number must be preceded by the preposition в, which in this context works with the accusative case of the number:

Феррари в два раза быстрее, чем Тойота.
Джон Калинз в три раза старше, чем Кира Найтли.
Это здание в пять раз выше, чем то здание.

Oh, let's try a few more.

Население Москвы в двадцать два раза больше, чем население Тулы. The population of Moscow is twenty two times larger than the population of Tula.
У моей двоюродной сестры в три раза больше зубов, чем у меня. У неё такая красивая улыбка. My cousin has three times as many teeth as I do. She has such a pretty smile.
Бриллианты в сорок раз дороже, чем муассанит. Diamonds are forty times more expensive than moissanite.

¹ If you look at the Wikipedia article on Joan Collins, you will see her name transliterated as Джоан Коллинз, which has an unpronounced ‘а’ and an unpronounced extra ‘л’, which have been added under the influence of English spelling. That is a *bad thing*. Dear Russian Wikipedia authors, please do not fall under the terrible influence of English spelling. You have a marvelous tradition in Russian of spelling things much more closely to their pronunciation. It is why the Russian application of Cyrillic is superior to the English application of the Latin alphabet. Notice that the author of the Kira Knightley article didn't make that mistake. Please maintain your excellent and sensible tradition, and, eight hundred years from now, when we English speakers finally have a sensible spelling reform, you can taunt us with an alphabetic “I told you so!”