by Don  

Злой is an adjective that beginners trip over for several reasons. First off, it is so short that it looks funny and they can't really believe that it's not longer:

Masc Neut Fem Pl
Nom злой злое злая злые
Acc * злую *
Gen злого злой злых
Pre злом
Dat злому злым
Ins злым злыми

Short forms Comparative
Masc зол злее
Fem зла
Neut зло
Pl злы

Very often beginners memorize the word as meaning “wicked.” That's true as far as it goes:

Сталин был злым диктатором. Stalin was an evil dictator.

However the word very often just means “mean” or “angry”:

Не старайся погладить нашу кошку. Она очень злая и сразу укусит тебя. Don't try to pet our cat. She's really mean and will bite you without warning.
Вчера отбуксировали мою машину из парковки. Какой я был злой! Yesterday they towed my car from the parking lot. I was so angry!

Рождество — 2009

by Don  

The Russian word for Christmas is Рождество, which comes from the verb родить “to give birth.” Here we have the text of the angels' message to Joseph (Matt 1:18-21). The text on the left is from the Russian Synodal Bible, which uses pre-revolutionary spelling. The text on the right is from the King James Bible.

Рождество Іисуса Христа было такъ: по обрученіи Матери Его Маріи съ Іосифомъ, прежде нежели сочетались они, оказалось, что Она имѣетъ во чревѣ отъ Духа Святаго. Іосифъ же мужъ ея, будучи праведенъ и не желая огласить Ее, хотѣлъ тайно отпустить Ее. Но когда онъ помыслилъ это, — се, Ангелъ Господень явился ему во снѣ и сказалъ: Іосифъ, сынъ Давидовъ! не бойся принять Марію, жену твою; ибо родившееся въ Ней есть отъ Дух Святаго; родитъ же Сына, и наречешь Ему имя: Іисусъ; ибо Онъ спасетъ людей Своихъ отъ грѣховъ ихъ. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

С Рождеством Христовым!
Merry Christmas!

Не (часть первая)

by Don  

The word for not in Russian is не. It can be used to negate nouns, verbs, prepositional phrases, and most other parts of speech:

Он не студент. He is not a college student.
Я живу не в Москве. It's not Moscow that I live in.
Он не понимает тебя. He doesn't understand you.

When you want to contrast something by first saying what it is not, you then use the conjunction «а» to introduce the thing it is:

Он не студент, а строитель. He's not a college student but rather a construction worker.
Я живу не в Москве, а в Туле. I live not in Moscow, but in Tula.
Она говорит не по-польски, а по-русски. She is speaking not Polish but Russian.

When не negates a verb, it is pronounced with the verb as a single word and is almost always unstressed, which means it's pronounced [ни] not [не]. Thus «я его не знаю» “I don't know him” is pronounced [я йиво низнаю]. There are a few exceptions where the не becomes stressed when negating a verb, and of those it's particularly important to know that when the past tense of быть is negated, the не becomes stressed and the быть form becomes unstressed. This happens in all past быть forms except the feminine:

В прошлом году он не был в Москве.
В прошлом году она не была в Москве.
В прошлом году оно не было в Москве.
В прошлом году они не были в Москве.


by Don  

The word я ‘I’ is a personal pronoun that declines like this:


In American English there are a couple of problems with the word ‘I.’ First off, in conversational English we often say ‘me’ where we should say ‘I’ in the literary language. Thus kids often say things like “Me and John went to the store” or “It's me” when theoretically we should say “John and I” or “It is I.” The Russians never make that mistake. They always use subject/nominative form in the right place:

Иван и я ходили в магазин. ¹ John and I went to the store.
— Кто там?
— Это я.
“Who's there?”
“It's me.” ²

Other examples:

Не дашь мне тысячу рублей? Could you give me a thousand rubles?
Вокруг меня летал рой пчёл. Мне было страшно, так как я не знал, что пчёлы вообще не кусаются, когда роятся. A swarm of bees flew all around me. I was scared since I didn't know that bees usually don't sting when they are swarming.
В августе на меня наехала машина, и я лежал в больнице целый месяц. In August I was hit by a car, and I lay in the hospital for an entire month.
Со мной работает много иностранцев. A lot of foreigners work with me.
— Почему ты всегда сплетничаешь обо мне?
— Потому что ты всегда делаешь всякие глупости.
“Why do you always gossip about me?”
“Because you always do such stupid stuff.”

¹ Although this sentence is theoretically okay, the Russians usually say it differently. We'll address the better usage in an upcoming entry on the word мы.
² Although theoretically one should say “It is I” in this context, no normal American will do so. Only pedants say “It is I.”


by Don  

The word он is a personal pronoun that declines like this:


The «н» versions of the pronoun occur when the pronoun is the object of a preposition.

Он refers to masculine singular nouns, which can be either people or things, so sometimes it is translated as he/him, and sometimes it is translated as it. In other words, if you are refering to a врач doctor, then the sentence must be translated with he/him, and if you are refering to a грузовик truck, the same sentence must be translated with it:

Где он? Where is he/it?
Я вижу его. I see him/it.
Дети танцевали вокруг него. The children were dancing around him/it.
Мы поговорили о нём. We had a chat about him/it.
Я подошёл к нему. I walked up to him/it.
Перед ним стоял иностранец. A foreigner stood in front of him/it.

In casual conversation it's common in America to say things like “Me and John went to the store,” especially when we are children. Schoolteachers then try to beat us out of that habit and make us say “He and I went to the store.” Because of that influence, English speakers may be tempted to say things like «Он и я ездили в магазин» in Russian. While theoretically one can say that in Russian, no one ever does. Instead it gets rephrased as “we with him” «мы с ним». Of course, it would be ridiculous to translate that as “we with him” in English; you still want “he and I” or just plain old ‘we.’

Мы с ним ходили в кино. He and I went to the movies.
Мы с ним поспорили с вышибалой, и нас выгнали из клуба. He and I argued with the bouncer, and they threw us out of the club.

1 ... 82 83 84 ...85 ... 87 ...89 ...90 91 92 ... 158