Category: "Mathematics"

Задача

May 19th, 2010 — posted by Tatiana

The spring semester is about to end; many are about to graduate. This time I am amongst these “many” (Yay! :P). After years of hard studying, staying up till the wee hours, trying to cram for a test, I will finally have my degree! I will move on from solving math problems to completing other important tasks and objectives posed in life.

Conveniently enough, in Russian a math problem and any sort of task or objective is just one word, задача. It is a noun of feminine gender; its diminutive is задачка.

SgPl
Nomзадачазадачи
Accзадачу
Genзадачизадач
Preзадачезадачах
Datзадачам
Insзадачейзадачами

— Ты решила последнюю задачу по физике?
— Нет, мне времени не хватило.
“Did you solve the last physics problem?”
“No, I didn’t have enough time.”
В этом году я поставил перед собой задачу бросить курить и начать заниматься спортом. This year I took it upon myself to quit smoking and start working out.
Давайте обсудим задачи этого семинара. Let’s discuss the objectives of this seminar.
На данный момент своей главной задачей я считаю окончание университета. At this moment my main goal is to graduate from the university.
Ну и задачку ты передо мной поставила! Я весь город объездил в поисках этой книжки! What a task you gave me! I drove around the whole city looking for this book!

Because in English “problem” both means math exercise and trouble, I would imagine that English speakers might confuse the meanings of these words in Russian. For example, when talking about solving a physics problem, you don’t want to use “решить проблему” because in Russian проблема has only one meaning – trouble; so your question would mean to "resolve a problem". Therefore, if you want to ask your classmates if they finished their assigned math problems, you should use the word задача.

График

April 30th, 2010 — posted by Don

American business can't exist without charts. We make pie-charts and bar charts as if presenting data in charts somehow makes the data true. (The most amusing idea is that an idea is somehow scientific because it is presented in a chart.) That, of course, is complete foolishness. You can lie on a chart as easily as you can in person or in a letter or by text message. Nonetheless, when ethical people produce them, charts are valuable visual aids to processing data. Thus you should know that the Russian word for chart is график.

For instance, you can have the graph of the function y=x3-9x (which is expressed in programmer's fashion as y=x**3-9*x):

A bar chart in Russian is called a столбиковая диаграмма or a столбчатая диаграмма:

Столбиковая диаграмма наглядно показывает соотношение между различными величинами. Каждое значение представляется в виде столбика, высота которого пропорциональна этому значению. (source) A bar chart visually displays relationships among various values. Each value is represented in the form of a column whose height is proportional to its value.

A pie chart is called a круговая диаграмма or a секторная диаграмма:

В круговой диаграмме каждому элементу последовательности соответствует сектор, градусная мера которого пропорциональна величине элемента. (source) In a pie chart each element of a series has a corresponding wedge whose value in degrees is proportional to the value of the element

Nowadays one of my favorite sites is graphjam.com, which comments on popular culture by putting things in chart form. For instance:

Enjoy!

Минус

July 24th, 2009 — posted by Don

The Russian word for minus is минус, and it can be used out loud in simple subraction statements. Notice the Russians use the future tense будет where Americans use present tense is:

Десять минус четыре будет шесть. Ten minus four is six.
Сто минус один будет девяносто девять. One hundred minus one is ninety-nine.

This is a very informal way of talking. In formal Russian the first example sentence comes out much more complicated:

Из десяти вычесть четыре равняется шести. lit. From ten to subtract four equals to six.

The word can also be used when discussing negative numbers and temperatures:

Всходы выдерживают заморозки от минус 3 до минус 6 градусов. (source) The sprouts can stand freezing weather from minus three to minus six degrees.

When we start out in our Russian studies, it's tough for us Americans to know how to read numerical phrases out loud. In this case they come out like this:

от минус 3 до минус 6 градусов от минус трёх до минус шести градусов

Notice that the word минус doesn't change for case here.

Плюс

July 23rd, 2009 — posted by Don

The Russian word for plus is плюс, and it can be used out loud in simple addition statements. Notice the Russians use the future tense будет where Americans use present tense is:

Два плюс два будет четыре. Two plus two is four.
Три плюс пятнадцать будет восемнадцать. Three plus fifteen is eighteen.

This is a very informal way of talking. In formal Russian it comes out much more complicated:

К трём прибавить пятнадцать равняется восемнадцати. lit. To three to add fifteen equals to eighteen.

The word can also be used when discussing positive numbers and temperatures:

В апреле в Беларуси средняя месячная температура воздуха составляет от плюс 4°С в северной части до плюс 7°С на юго-западе страны. (adapted from this source) In April in Belarus the average monthly temperature ranges from plus 4°С in the north to plus 7°С in the southwest [part] of the country.

When we start out in our Russian studies, it's tough for us Americans to know how to read abbreviations and numerical phrases out loud. In this case they come out like this:

от плюс 4°С от плюс четырёх градусов
до плюс 7°С до плюс семи градусов

Notice that the word плюс doesn't change for case here, and that a normal Russian won't say «по Цельсию» out loud in a context where everyone knows they are talking about degrees Celsius.