Селёдка под шубой

by Tatiana  

PictureRussians are very big on their холодные закуски “cold appetizers.” Amongst them meat and vegetable salads are very popular. These salads do not necessarily have lettuce in them. In fact most do not. Usually everything in these salads is pre-cooked; more often than not it is boiled. One of the most famous Russian salads is селёдка под шубой, which literally means “herring under a fur coat.”

No holiday table in Russia can go without селёдка под шубой, although I've noticed that my American friends are not too fond of it… to say the least! &#59;) Personally, I am not a big fan of fish (except maybe for smoked salmon my parents make), but I really like this salad, perhaps because it reminds me of my carefree childhood without all the bill-paying and responsibility-taking.

The main ingredients are beets, potatoes, carrots, onions, mayo, herring and some parsley or scallions for decoration. We never add any salt to this salad but the herring makes up for it. After the beets, potatoes and carrots are boiled, they are cut into cubes. Mom pours boiling water over the onions and lets them soak for about a minute. This little trick lets the onions keep their taste but gets rid of the strong odor. After all the ingredients are fully prepared, we layer them, alternating vegetables, mayo, and herring. Then after decorating it with the greens, we leave the dish in the the fridge for a couple of hours. There you have it, the famous Russian селёдка под шубой!

«Приятного аппетита»! "Enjoy"! :)

Число (часть третья)

by Don  

The other day we discussed the usage of число to mean date in the sense of the first of the month, the second, etc. That's pretty straight-forward as far as discussing today/tomorrow/yesterday's date is concerned. But if you want to talk about the date on which something takes place, that's trickier. In that context the date goes into the genitive case, and despite the use of ‘on’ in an English context, no preposition is used in Russian:

Пятого я был в Туле. On the fifth I was in Tula.

In Russian if you want to clarify the date on which something occurs, you can ask the question «Какого числа?» For instance:

— Какого числа родился твой отец?
— Первого мая.
“On what date was your father born?”
“He was born on the first of May.”

Although the «какого числа» question is perfectly grammatical, it's a bit more common to simply use когда. Both approaches are perfectly grammatical. I have the impression that Russian say «какого числа» more frequently than English speakers say “on what date”:

— Какого числа вы родились?
— Я родилась четвёртого апреля.
“On what date were your born?”
“I was born on April fourth.”
— Когда вы родились?
— Я родилась четвёртого апреля.
“When were your born?”
“I was born on April fourth.”

In English we say things like “Christmas is December 25th.” In Russian you always put the date in the genitive, you never leave it simply in the nominative:

Рождество — двадцать пятого декабря. Christmas is December twenty-fifth. or
Christmas is on December twenty-fifth.

For the sake of thoroughness, here is a sample sentence with all thirty-one dates:

Мы будем в Туле первого.We will be in Tula on the first.
Мы будем в Туле второго.We will be in Tula on the second.
Мы будем в Туле третьегo.We will be in Tula on the third.
Мы будем в Туле четвёртого.We will be in Tula on the fourth.
Мы будем в Туле пятого.We will be in Tula on the fifth.
Мы будем в Туле шестого.We will be in Tula on the sixth.
Мы будем в Туле седьмого.We will be in Tula on the seventh.
Мы будем в Туле восьмого.We will be in Tula on the eighth.
Мы будем в Туле девятого.We will be in Tula on the ninth.
Мы будем в Туле десятого.We will be in Tula on the tenth.
Мы будем в Туле одиннадцатого.We will be in Tula on the eleventh.
Мы будем в Туле двенадцатого.We will be in Tula on the twelfth.
Мы будем в Туле тринадцатого.We will be in Tula on the thirteenth.
Мы будем в Туле четырнадцатого.We will be in Tula on the fourteenth.
Мы будем в Туле пятнадцатого.We will be in Tula on the fifteenth.
Мы будем в Туле шестнадцатого.We will be in Tula on the sixteenth.
Мы будем в Туле семнадцатого.We will be in Tula on the seventeenth.
Мы будем в Туле восемнадцатого.We will be in Tula on the eighteenth.
Мы будем в Туле девятнадцатого.We will be in Tula on the nineteenth.
Мы будем в Туле двадцатого.We will be in Tula on the twentieth.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать первого.We will be in Tula on the twenty-first.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать второго.We will be in Tula on the twenty-second.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать третьего.We will be in Tula on the twenty-third.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать четвёртого.We will be in Tula on the twenty-fourth.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать пятого.We will be in Tula on the twenty-fifth.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать шестого.We will be in Tula on the twenty-sixth.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать седьмого.We will be in Tula on the twenty-seventh.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать восьмого.We will be in Tula on the twenty-eighth.
Мы будем в Туле двадцать девятого.We will be in Tula on the twenty-ninth.
Мы будем в Туле тридцатого.We will be in Tula on the thirtieth.
Мы будем в Туле тридцать первого.We will be in Tula on the thirty-first.


by Tatiana  

Photo of cat with spooky eyesSome words in Russian have an interesting quality to them: they can express both positive and negative feelings. «Ужасно» ‘terribly’ is one of these words. It is important to note, though, that in either case the feeling is very strong. Therefore, it will most likely be followed by an exclamation mark.

Ужасно comes from the noun «ужас», which means “horror.” The root produces other words like «ужастик» “horror movie,” so called, of course, because it horrifies you. 88| For example:

— Какое у тебя любимое кино?
— Ну, не знаю, главное, чтобы это был ужастик: люблю, когда страшно!
“What is your favorite movie?”
“Well, I'm not sure, but it's got to be a horror movie. I love being scared!”

Also, «ужас» can express one’s reaction to a misfortune of some sort.

— Меня уволили с работы!
— Какой ужас! Что же ты теперь будешь делать?
“I was fired from work!”
“That's terrible! What are you going to do now?”
Ужас! Я провалил экзамен по математике! Oh, no! I flunked my math test!

In English the adverb ‘awfully’ can be used to mean ‘very’ in both positive and negative contexts. For instance, you can say “She's awfully pretty” in the sense of “She is very pretty,” or you can say “He's awfully stupid” in the sense of “He is very stupid.” Similarly in Russian the adverb «ужасно» ‘horribly’ can mean “very much” or ‘absolutely’ or ‘really’ in both positive and negative contexts:

Мне ужасно понравилась эта книжка! I absolutely loved this book!
Я ужасно устал! I’m awfully tired!
Я ужасно хочу поехать в Европу! I really want to go to Europe!
Я ужасно люблю мороженое! I’m awfully fond of ice cream!

Even though the meanings are quite different, it is usually easy to understand which one is being used according to the situation. However, I hope you all will only need to use this word's positive meaning! :D

Число (часть вторая)

by Don  

The other day we discussed how to say things like “Today is the first.” Sometimes we want to include the month as well, and in Russian when we do that, the month must be put in the genitive case, but the date itself stays in the nominative:

Сегодня двадцать седьмое января. Today is January twenty-seventh. or
Today is the twenty-seventh of January.

Putting the month in the genitive is tricky at first because some of the months are end-stressed nouns; that is, when you put them in an oblique case, the stress shifts to the first syllable of the grammatical ending:

Nominative Genitive
январь января
февраль февраля
март марта
апрель апреля
май мая
июнь июня
июль июля
август августа
сентябрь сентября
октябрь октября
ноябрь ноября
декабрь декабря

A couple more examples:

Завтра будет первое сентября. Tomorrow is the first of September.
Вчера было тридцатое августа. Yesterday was August thirtieth.

Число (часть первая)

by Don  

One of the meanings of the word число is date in the sense of the first of the month, the second, and so forth. Probably the most common usage is this:

Какое сегодня число? What is the date today?
What is today's date?

Since число is a neuter noun, and since words like first and second are adjectives in Russian, the adjective must show up in the neuter singular form when answering the question:

Сегодня первое. Today is the first.

An English speaker will never say “Today is the first date,” but Russians sometimes do include the word число in the response. Of course, when translating that response into English you must leave the word ‘date’ out:

Сегодня первое число. Today is the first.

It is also possible to ask about future and past dates:

— Какое вчера было число?
— Вчера было тридцатое.
“What was the date yesterday?”
“Yesterday was the thirtieth.”
— Какое завтра будет число?
— Завтра будет второе.
“What date is it tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow is the second.”

Back when I first started studying Russian, it irritated me that no textbook ever gave a complete set of examples of how to say today's date. Instead they gave a general instruction with a few examples and just assumed the student could get the rest right. That's awful teaching methodology. A non-Russian student has to deal with the quirks of Russian stress, plus he has to correctly generate the neuter form of the adjective. That seems very easy after you have worked on Russian for several years, but at first it's tricky. Rejoice, therefore, ye Russian novices: here I present a complete table of all 31 dates marked for stress so you may double check your work.

Сегодня первое.Today is the first.
Сегодня второе.Today is the second.
Сегодня третье.Today is the third.
Сегодня четвёртое.Today is the fourth.
Сегодня пятое.Today is the fifth.
Сегодня шестое.Today is the sixth.
Сегодня седьмое.Today is the seventh.
Сегодня восьмое.Today is the eighth.
Сегодня девятое.Today is the ninth.
Сегодня десятое.Today is the tenth.
Сегодня одиннадцатое.Today is the eleventh.
Сегодня двенадцатое.Today is the twelfth.
Сегодня тринадцатое.Today is the thirteenth.
Сегодня четырнадцатое.Today is the fourteenth.
Сегодня пятнадцатое.Today is the fifteenth.
Сегодня шестнадцатое.Today is the sixteenth.
Сегодня семнадцатое.Today is the seventeenth.
Сегодня восемнадцатое.Today is the eighteenth.
Сегодня девятнадцатое.Today is the nineteenth.
Сегодня двадцатое.Today is the twentieth.
Сегодня двадцать первое.Today is the twenty-first.
Сегодня двадцать второе.Today is the twenty-second.
Сегодня двадцать третье.Today is the twenty-third.
Сегодня двадцать четвёртое.Today is the twenty-fourth.
Сегодня двадцать пятое.Today is the twenty-fifth.
Сегодня двадцать шестое.Today is the twenty-sixth.
Сегодня двадцать седьмое.Today is the twenty-seventh.
Сегодня двадцать восьмое.Today is the twenty-eighth.
Сегодня двадцать девятое.Today is the twenty-ninth.
Сегодня тридцатое.Today is the thirtieth.
Сегодня тридцать первое.Today is the thirty-first.

Notice particularly that третье ‘third’ has a soft-sign as the next-to-the-last letter, not an o. Notice also that одиннадцатое has not just one н but two in a row as the fourth and fifth letters.

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