by Don  

The next generic verb of motion is идти. Note especially its irregular past tense forms.

to go
Infinitive идти
Past шёл
Present иду
Future буду идти
будешь идти
будет идти
будем идти
будете идти
будут идти
Imperative иди(те)

Идти is more specialized than ходить in that it always talks about motion in progress toward a particular place. Because of that “in progress” bit, we can often translate it as “heading to” or “on the way to”:

— Куда ты идёшь? “Where are you going?
— Иду в библиотеку. “I'm going to the library.”
“I'm on my way to the library.”
“I'm heading to the library.”

Although adverbs of frequency and phrases of frequency (like часто and каждый день) usually trigger an indeterminate verb, if the situation describes something that happens regularly on the way to a place, then you use the determinate verb идти:

Каждое утро, когда я шёл мимо газетного киоска, Нина Петровна здоровалась со мной. Every morning, when I passed by the newspaper stand, Nina Petrovna said ‘hello’ to me.
Когда я иду в библиотеку, по пути я всегда покупаю мороженое у Лены. Whenеver I go to the library, I always by ice cream from Lena on the way.
Когда ты будешь идти по улице Плеханова, ты увидишь справа электростанцию. When you walk down Plekhanov street, you will spot a power plant on the right.

One of the curious uses of determinate verbs is that they can be used to say how long it takes to get to a place. From the English-speaking point of view, that is rather odd. After all, getting to the place implies a completed action, so we should use a perfective verb, right? But from the Russian point of view in these sentences they are indicating how long the process takes, so the imperfective works:

Я шёл до института двадцать минут. It took me twenty minutes to get to the institute.
Как долго будем идти от дома до почты? How long will it take us to get to the post office from home?
— Долго идти от школы до парка?
— Нет, недолго, всего минут десять.
“Does it take long to get from the school from the park?”
“No, not too long, only about ten minutes.”


by Timur  

Having a good крыша over one’s head is one of the core necessities in life. Without a real крыша, people seem to be vulnerable and weak, stripped of basic protection from the unpredictable weather and exposed in every way to the dangers of the suddenly harsh, surrounding world. Anyway, enough with the obvious… the word крыша is translated as roof.

If you do something outrageously dumb, like smoke a cigarette at a gas station, your shocked Russian friend might yell out at you: “У тебя что, крыша поехала?!” The idiom крыша поехала (roof is moving) is an abrupt way of saying that you’re not thinking right at the moment, that you’re out of your mind and have gone crazy.

The term крыша can also be associated with the criminal world. A couple of low-tempered brutes dressed in tracksuits come into a private shop, declare that they are the proprietor’s new крыша and threaten to bring havoc to the place, unless they start receiving a certain amount of money on a regular bases. To put it simply, the thugs are muscling the owner into paying protection money. So крыша can refer to “protection” by a crime organization, and hopefully you'll never have to encounter this word in that particular context.

Photo of roof of Охотный ряд
Image from 4rent.ru

The roof of the Охотный ряд (Hunter's Row) underground shopping mall located in the heart of Moscow, on the Red Square.

Каждую субботнюю ночь кто-то ходит по крыше моего дома. Every Saturday night someone walks on the roof of my house.
Эдвард Р. Мэроу вещал с крыш Лондонских зданий во время воздушных нападений. Edward R. Murrow would broadcast from the roofs of London buildings during air raids.
K Андрею в бар зашел подозрительный господин в черном костюме и заявил, что он будет его новой «крышей». A suspicious looking man walked into Andrei's bar and declared that he will be his new "roof."
Mы должны были встретиться на крыше этой гостиницы в семь часов утра, но она не пришла. We were supposed to meet on the roof of this hotel at seven o'clock in the morning, but she didn't show.

Один, тот же

by Don  

There are several ways in Russian to express the idea of “the same” in the sense of “the same house” or “the same country.” One way is to use один (which is also used as a cardinal number), and another way is to use «тот же». For instance, if you are just starting a conversation, you could say:

Мы с Димой живём в одном доме. Dmitri and I live in the same building.

Oddly enough, in that context you cannot say «в том же доме». What's the difference? Essentially it's this: in order to use «тот же» the noun must have previously been mentioned in the conversation. For instance:

Дима раньше жил в доме № 17 на улице Плеханова. Моя бабушка жила в том же доме. Dmitri used to live in building #17 on Plekhanov street. My grandmother lived in the same building.

Another example. If you are for the first time mentioning your transportation over the weekend, you might say:

Мы с Таней ехали в Санкт-Петербург в одном вагоне. Tanya and I went to St. Petersburg in the same train car.

But if you have already mentioned the train car, then you use the other phrase:

Во втором вагоне шумели два хулигана, но слава Богу в том же вагоне были четверо милиционеров, которые их уняли. In train car number two there were a couple of punks making noise, but thank heavens there were four policemen in the same car who quieted them down.

Of course, the phrases can be used in other cases as well:

Мы с братом влюбились в одну девушку. Не можешь представить себе, как это было сложно. My brother and I fell in love with the same girl. You can't imagine what a mess it was.
Моя сестра была арестована молодым милиционером, и через неделю я был арестован тем же милиционером. My sister was arrested by a young policeman, and a week later I was arrested by the same policeman.

Sometimes один and тот же combine into a single phrase «один и тот же», but we'll save that phrase for another time.


by Timur  

In Hollywood movies, it seems as if all Russian men wear a distinct, funny-looking winter fur hat with two goofy earflaps tied together at the top. If this doesn’t ring a bell, just watch one of the older James Bond films, Rocky IV, Armageddon or The Hunt for Red October. Popularized by Hollywood and made into a stereotype image of the Russian man, this hat is a highly demanded souvenir that almost every other tourist brings back. But aside from the stereotype of these hats, what does a Russian actually wear in winter? For better or for worse (probably for better), it so happens that a lot of Russian men do indeed wear this exceptional headpiece. The winters get a bit cold and the thick fur will keep you warm, especially if you tie the earflaps around your chin.

Шапка-ушанка can be translated as ear-flap hat. The word шапка is translated as hat, while the word ушанка doesn’t really have a real translation. It is used to identify the earflaps and derives from the noun уши, which means ears. In the West, people sometimes simply refer to the hat as ushanka. An ushanka can get a bit pricy if it’s made out of sable or mink, so fox tends to be the choice for those with a thinner wallet.

I’ve mostly stuck with beanies, but I do have to admit that the ushanka is one of the better inventions to come out of the Motherland, and I do own one. It was created in the cold and for the cold. Nowadays, you can occasionally spot Russian ushankas on random, crazy-looking snowborders racing down the steep slopes of the Rockies.

Photo of Arnold wearing an ushanka
Image from movieactors.com

The Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, wearing an ushanka in the film Red Heat.

Another example of the Hollywood stereotype of a Russian. Here we have the drunk cosmonaut Lev Andropov in an ear-flap hat from the film Armageddon.

Here are some example senternces:

Я люблю свою ушанку, потому что мне в ней тепло зимой. I like my ear-flap hat because it keeps me warm in the winter.
В армии и на флоте солдаты и моряки носят эмблемy красной звезды на своих ушанкax. Soldiers and sailors in the army and the navy wear the red star emblem on their ear-flap hats.
Cолдаты и милиционеры носят ушанки в зимнее время. Soldiers and police officers wear ear-flap hats in the wintertime.
Mой дед купил новою шапку-ушанку, потому что его старую съела моль. My grandfather bought a new ear-flap hat because his old one was eaten by moths.


by Don  

Back in July I thought to myself, “I should just open the very first chapter of the Russian textbook I'm currently teaching from and blog on the very first word of the very first vocabulary list.” It turned out that the word was Америка. What the hell? The very first word in the the very first vocab list of a Russian language textbook is America? Is that not ironic beyond words?

Still, it struck me as a challenge, so let's discuss that world-dominating, hated-by-terrorists, hoped-for-by-the-immigrant, subjected-to-the-mockery-of-its-own-citizens noun. In terms of declension Америка is a perfectly regular second declension noun (once you know spelling rule #1), so what can you say about it that would be interesting?

Actually, there is one interesting phrase the Russians use that may surprise Americans, and that's «я не открываю Америку» “I'm not discovering/revealing the New World.” They use it in the sense of “I'm saying the obvious” or “this is no big surprise” or “it's not a big deal”:

Ну, конечно, я вам не открою Америку, когда сообщу, что англичане совсем не умеют готовить пищу. Of course, I'm not telling you anything you don't know when I say that the Brits simply don't know how to cook.
Петя сказал, что Зое нравятся цветы. Конечно, этими словами он не открыл Америку, но я был благодарен за то, что он мне напомнил, а то я бы забыл о её дне рождения. Peter said the Zoya likes flowers. Of course, he wasn't telling me anything new, but I was grateful for the reminder, otherwise I would have forgotten her birthday.
— Я заметил, что мексиканцы очень весёлые пьяницы, а финны пьяные всегда злятся.
— Тоже мне, открыл Америку.
“I've noticed that the Mexicans are very cheerful drunks, whereas the Finns get mean when they drink.”
“Yeah, you're a real genius.”

The «тоже мне, открыл Америку» in the last sentence is a funny one; I have yet to meet a Russian who can quite explain it to me, but it's roughly the equivalent a sarcastic “you're a real genius.”

1 ... 85 86 87 ...88 ... 90 ...92 ...93 94 95 ... 158