Categories: "Institutions"


by Don  

I'm teaching from a new 1st semester Russian book this semester, so I decided to blog about the first word in the vocab list from chapter 1, which turned out to be аптека. Alas, I've already blogged about that word, so I decided to press on to the second word, which is банк. It is a perfectly regular first declension noun if you bear in mind the seven-letter spelling rule:


Back in the Soviet period, normal citizens never had anything to do with banks; if they wanted to save money in an account, they could use сберегательная касса (а savings bank), but such institutions didn't have checking accounts or home loans or car loans or any of those things normally associated with a western bank. Nowadays there are dozens of Russian banks in every Russian city, and probably the ATM machine банкомат is the major way that citizens interact with them. Russia still doesn't do direct deposit. Employees usually get cash on paydays from their accounting departments, and then they have to take them to their banks, if they bank their money at all.

Here are a few sentences with the word банк in them.

Мой брат раньше работал в банке, но его уволили за воровство. My brother used to work for a bank, but they fired him for theft.
Как дойти до ближайшего банка? How can I get to the nearest bank?
Когда я подошёл к банку, меня окружили цыганские дети. When I approached the bank, I was surrounded by Gypsy kids.
Перед банком приземлился вертолёт, из которого вышла Пэрис Хилтон. Она ко мне подошла и очень вежливо спросила, где ближайший МакДоналдс. К сожалению, я не смог помочь ей, так как я вегетарианец. A helicopter landed in front of the bank, and out stepped Paris Hilton. She walked up to me and very politely asked where the nearest McDonald's was. Unfortunately I couldn't help here since I am a vegetarian.

Ресторан, кафе, забегаловка

by Don  

One of the words that Americans tend to misuse is ресторан restaurant. Ресторан is a place where you go with friends to spend an evening together. Entertainment is often provided. The meal stretches out over many hours. МакДоналдс не ресторан. McDonald's is not a restaurant. At the very kindest McDonald's is a кафе. Кафе is a place where you go to eat, but you don't intend on spending much time there. There is another word that even better catches the idea of what MacDonald's is: забегаловка. The root of the word is бег- which means run, and the за- prefix adds the idea of dropping in briefly, so a забегаловка is a place where you drop in for a quick bite to eat. It's sort of what we would call a fast-food place in the US, but a забегаловка may serve alcohol as well.

Back in 1986 there wasn't a single McDonald's in all of Russia, but now every Russian knows them. Interestingly enough, even though the name of the restaurant is officially МакДоналдс, that's not how Russians usually pronounce it. Usually they pronounce it МакДональд, softening the ell and leaving out the ess, or they pronounce it МакДональдс, softening the ell and keeping the ess. And sometimes the thirty-something crowd of Russians is overshadowed by the muse of verbal efficiency and simply call it Мак-Дак.¹

Extra points to anyone who can tell me how they translate McDonald's slogan “I'm loving it” into Russian.

¹ The Мак-Дак name might also be a jokey adaptation that originated among Russians who saw Скрудж МакДак Scrooge McDuck in Утиные истории Duck Tales, which was broadcast on Russian TV in the early nineties.

В ресторане

by Olga  

Last year my family went to a restaurant for my birthday. Upon arrival we picked a table. A waitress approached us immediately. We said to her «Принесите, пожалуйста, меню» “Bring the menu, please”. I had trouble picking a dish on the menu because everything looked very good so I said to the waitress «Что вы посоветуете?» meaning “What do you recommend?” I eventually ordered a tasty pasta dish with grilled chicken, cheese, and pasta sauce. «Обожаю сыр и курицу!» “I love cheesе and chicken!” Next, the waitress said «Что вы будете пить?» “What will you have to drink?” and everyone ordered their drinks.

Before we started eating, my family offered a toast to me by saying «За твоё здоровье и благополучие!» “To your health and happiness!” All of us enjoyed our dinner while sharing family stories and past experiances. At the end of the night my mom said to everyone «Всё было очень вкусно» “Everything was delicious” especially the salad which had fresh garlic croutons. We made our way to the exit after paying the bill and came home happy and tired.