Category: "Weather"


by Don  

In February of 1995 my maternal grandmother died. I flew from Washington to Arizona for her funeral, where we all remembered her kindness and love. It is never a joy to deal with death. The pain of losing those we love cannot be overestimated. But after the funeral we headed north from the town of Oracle, and as we drove we saw a double rainbow in the sky. I had the feeling that somehow despite her death, the double rainbow somehow meant that everything would be okay, that she was somehow okay.

The Russian word for rainbow is радуга. It is a regular second declension noun (assuming you know the seven-letter spelling rule):


Радуга — атмосферное оптическое и метеорологическое явление, наблюдаемое обычно в поле повышенной влажности. (source) A rainbow is an optical atmospheric and meteorological phenomenon observed in high humidity areas.
Когда я смотрю на радугу, я всегда вспоминаю бабушку. Она была такая добрая.* When I look at a rainbow, I always remember my grandmother. She was so very kind.
Саш, смотри! Двойная радуга! Sasha, look! It's a double rainbow!
Говорят, что в каждой радуге есть семь цветов: красный, оранжевый, жёлтый, зелёный, голубой, синий, фиолетовый. Сам я не могу отличить синий цвет от фиолетового. They say that every rainbow has seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Me, I can't tell the difference between indigo and violet.

* If you are a careful student of Russian, you may want to write «Она была такой доброй» using the instrumental case. That is proper, grammatical Russian. In conversational Russian, however, predicative phrases with strong emotional coloration sometimes appear in the nominative case. In this context where one is reminiscing about kindness and death, the strong feelings make the nominative possible.

Холодно (часть первая)

by Don  

The word холодный is an adjective; adjectives are used to directly modify nouns:

Я люблю холодный борщ. I love cold borscht.
Вампир ласкал Беллу холодной рукой. The vampire carressed Bella with a cold hand.

Many qualitive adjectives in Russian can be turned into adverbs by removing the adjectival ending and ending -о, thus the adjective холодный ‘cold’ becomes холодно ‘coldly’ (note the stress shift):

Она холодно смотрела на меня и сказал: «Это не твоё дело». She looked at me coldly and said, “That's none of your business.”
— Я с ними не общаюсь!— холодно ответил он. “I'm not on speaking terms with them!” he responded coldly.

But one of the most interesting uses of adverbs in Russian is in impersonal sentences. Do you remember back in high school that you learned a rule of English grammar that says, “A complete sentence must have a subject and a verb”? That's not true in Russian. Some sentences in Russian have neither subject nor verb. More specifically, when a sentence in Russian has no nominative subject, neither expressed or implied, that sentence is called an “impersonal sentence” «безличное предложение». For instance:

Холодно. It's cold.

That's right «Холодно» all by itself is a complete sentence in Russian. If you want to put the sentence into the past you use было (not был, была or были). If you want to put the sentence into the future, you use будет (буду, будешь, будем, будете or будут):

Холодно было. It was cold.
Холодно будет. It will be cold.

You can add modifiers of place to such sentences as well:

Тут холодно. It's cold here.
Там было холодно. It was cold there.
В Гонолулу не будет холодно. It won't be cold in Honolulu.
На Аляске холодно. It is cold in Alaska.
В Москве было холодно. It was cold in Moscow.
В Архангельсе будет холодно. It will be cold in Arkhangelsk.

There are many other words in Russian that can be used this way, among them quite a few that have to do with weather or light or darkness:

В Финиксе было жарко. It was hot in Phoenix.
На улице темно. It is dark outside.
На Гавайях бывает тепло. It is usually warm in Hawaii.
В Вашингтоне летом влажно. It's humid in the summer in Washington.
В Барроу, штат Аласка, всё лето светло. In Barrow, Alaska, it is light out all summer long.
У нас сегодня облачно. It's cloudy here today.

Isn't that great? There are so many things in Russian that are so complicated that it's a joy for us foreigners to find something that's easy to say in Russian!


by Don  

One of the Russian words for cloud is облако. In the singular it is a perfectly regular neuter noun, but in the plural genitive may surprise you:


Some sample sentences:

Посмотри на эти красивые облака. Какой замечательный день! Look at those beautiful clouds. It's such a wonderful day.
Солнце скрылось за облаками. The sun hid behind the clouds.
Самолёт улетел за облако. The airplane flew behind the cloud.
Во сне я стоял на облаке и смотрел вниз на свой дом. In my dream I was standing on a cloud looking down upon my home.

Most simple nouns have one or more adjectives derived from them, and to really master Russian you need to learn them as well. In the case of облако the derived adjective is облачный:

Маша выходит на улицу только при облачной погоде, потому что она не любит потеть. Masha goes outside only in cloudy weather because she doesn't like to sweat.
Такое облачное небо обещает сильные дожди. A sky that cloudy guarantees heavy rain.

Many adjectives have an adverb derived from them that you need to know as well. The adverb formed from облачный is облачно. Adverbs are often used predicatively in Russian:

— Какая сегодня погода?
— Облачно.
"What's the weather like today?"
"It's cloudy."
Вчера было облачно. Yesterday it was cloudy.
Если завтра будет облачно, мы не пойдём в парк. If it is cloudy tomorrow, we won't go to the park


by Olga  

The Russian word for rain is дождь. As a child, I enjoyed rain because it made me feel relaxed when I listened to the rain drops falling. Sometimes it would rain all day long, and during this time I enjoyed drinking hot cups of tea with cookies and taking naps by the open window. My mom watched the forecast regularly, and I was thrilled when she told me, «кажется как будто завтра будет дождь» “it seems like it’s going to rain tomorrow”.

One day I decided to go outside and play in the rain with my sister. We both enjoyed jumping in the puddles and getting wet. I would say to my sister «давай играть под дождём!» “Lets play in the rain!” and she would answer «Да! Давай прыгать по лужам» “Yes! Let’s jump in the puddles!”