by Don  

The word потом can be translated several ways, the first of which is with the word then:

Я пошёл в аптеку и потом в продовольственный магазин. I went to the pharmacy and then to the grocery store.
Мой брат приготовил ужин, и потом убрал квартиру. My brother made dinner, and then he straightened up the apartment.
Путин сначала выдвинул Медведева, а потом его поддержал. (source) Putin first nominated Medvedev and then supported him.

The phrase «а потом?» means “and after that?” or “and then?” It sometimes triggers a rhyming response «суп с котом» “cat soup.” It's a response without a specific meaning. It doesn't mean anything bad will happen. It doesn't mean anything good will happen. It is just thrown in when the speaker is having a cuteness seizure. Or when the speaker doesn't want to be more specific because he is irritated or is being coy or wants to tease the listener.

— Какой у меня будет день! Сначала я пойду в ОВИР за новой визой, потом в ЗАГС, чтобы подать документы на свадьбу, потом надо извиниться перед родителями невесты за грубые слова.
— А потом?
— А потом… суп с котом!
“What a day I'm going have! First I'm going to OVIR for a new visa, and then to ZAGS to fill out the paperwork to get married, and then I have to apologize to my fiancée's parents for offending them.”
“And then?”
“And then… a big blue hen.”

For our foreign readers I should say “a big blue hen” is not a standard English phrase. I simply made up something to rhyme with “and then” to catch the rhyming quality of the Russian phrase.

1 comment

Comment from: Bryan [Visitor]

Haha, a cuteness seizure. I know several people who have those often. It’s kind of funny to think that they might have russki counterparts.

06/12/09 @ 06:52

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