Как (часть первая)

by Don  

The Russian word for ‘how’ is как. When you start studying Russian, you first encounter it in “How are you?” phrases:

Как дела? How are things going?
Как живёшь? How are you?

Since the word asks about the manner in which something is done, we call it an adverb. Since it poses a question we call it an interrogative adverb. In the following sentences the word is an interrogative adverb. In English we often use the pronoun ‘you’ or ‘I’ or (if you are really pedantic) ‘one’ in sentences that ask how to do something. Similar sentences in Russian often ask usе an infinitive construction:

Как доехать до университета? How can I get to the university?
Как лучше добраться до Москвы? На поезде или на самолёте? How is it best for one to get to Moscow? By train or by plane?
Как приготовить борщ? How do you make borshch?
— Как можно избежать штрафов за превышение скорости, зафиксированное фото радарами?
— Приобретите себе радарную систему с выведенной из эксплуатации подводной лодки и установите её в своей машине. Её сигнал пересилит сигнал радаров городского движения и вы будете кататься по всему городу, не получая никаких штрафов.
“How can I avoid photo radar fines?”
“Get yourself a radar system from a decommissioned submarine and install it in your car. The signal will overwhelm city traffic radar, and you will be able to ride all over town without any fines whatsoever.”


by Bella  

Soon it will be Christmas, so of course in the US turkey is of everyone's mind almost as much as it is at Thanksgiving. In Russian, turkey is индейка. Going strictly by the sound of the word, I believe there is a connection in the name of our rwotd to the bird's origins in the New World and American Indians. My first tasting of turkey didn't happen until after I immigrated to the States. It's just not that popular a meat in Russia. But my mom, being a talented cook, sure did learn how to roast a mean stuffed turkey.

Моя мама приготовила вкусную индейку.
My mom made a delicious turkey.

Катин младший брат боится индеек.
Katya's little brother is scared of turkeys.

Весь ноябрь Американцы говорят об индейке.
All November long Americans talk about turkey.

Индейка, фаршированная рисом, моё любимое блюдо.
Rice-stuffed turkey is my favorite dish.


Чайник (часть вторая)

by Bella  

I had my mom and great aunt over for tea this evening. This got me thinking about how much Russians love tea. We will have it with meals, after meals, and even between meals. And if you are going over to someone's house, chances are you will be offered tea. There are a couple of things one must have for proper tea. The first of course is чай tea (usually the loose leaves, no teabag), and the second is our word of the day чайник a teapot.


Моя мама дала мне стеклянный чайник.
My mom gave me a glass teapot.

У Маши коллекция интересных чайников.
Masha has a collection of interesting teapots.

Извините, где я могу найти чайники?
Excuse me, where can I find the kettles?

Сколько воды в чайнике?
How much water is in the teapot?

Don adds: Here is a piece of American trivia for Russian readers. Although Americans drink less tea than Russians, there is one song known to absolutely every American child that is called “I'm a little teapot.” The words are:

I'm a little teapot short and stout.
Here is my handle, here is my spout.
When I get all steamed up, I will shout:
“Just tip me over and pour me out.”

Of course there are movements to the song as well. Here's a cute example from YouTube:


by Bella  

I had technical issues today. Which is incredibly frustrating during finals week. This afternoon my компьпьютер began to blink and have mouse issues.

Aren't these the very inventions meant to make our lives easier? Компьютер is Russian for computer. Yep, another one of those wonderful words that are very similar in both languages!

Here's how it declines:


And some examples:

Что с твоим компьютером?
What's with your computer?

Мой компьютер сломан!
My computer is broken!

Знаете ли вы разницу между этими компьютерами?
Do you know the difference between these computers?

Есть ли интернет на вашем компьютере?
Do you have internet on your computer?

In the end it came down to uninstalling and then installing an updated driver, and tada! I am able to blog again. No thanks to tech support for a company that shall remain nameless. :>


by Don  

The Russian noun развод means divorce. It declines like this:


Many uses are very similar to the English use of the word:

После пятого развода Жа Жа Габор написала книгу «Как поймать мужика — как удержать мужика — как избавиться от мужика». After her fifth divorce ZsaZsa Gábor wrote the book “How to catch a man - How to Keep a man - How to get rid of a Man.”
После развода жизнь одновременно стала и легче и сложнее. After the divorce life became simultaneously easier and more complex.
Кристина Агилера и Джордан Брэтман сейчас в процессе развода. Christian Aguilera and Jordan Bratman are now in the process of divorcing.
В один из пяти разводов сейчас включаются материалы из социальной сети Facebook. (adapted from this source) Materials from the Facebook social network are now included in one of five divorces.
Развод моих родителей потряс мою веру в мудрость и доброту человечества. The divorce of my parents shook my faith in the wisdom and goodness of mankind.

One difference is that the phrase «в разводе» is used where in English we say “have/had been divorced”:

Алла Пугачёва и Филипп Киркоров уже пять лет в разводе. Alla Pugachova and Philipp Kirkorov have been divorced for five years now.
— Сколько лет вы в разводе?
— Уже пятнадцать.
“How long have you been divorced?”
“For fifteen years.”

People growing up in the fifties and sixties in the US considered divorce a shameful thing, an admission of personal and moral failure. Nowadays it is so commonplace, I scarcely blink an eye when I hear of divorce. So am I surprised that there is a site named razvody.ru that popularizes news of divorce? No, I'm not surprised. But it does make me think there is something wrong with our attitudes toward relationships.

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