by Timur  

The Russian word for glasses or spectacles is очки. Here are some example sentences:

Врач сказал, что я плохо вижу и должен носить очки. The doctor said that I have bad vision and should be wearing glasses.
Дед имеет четыре пары очков. Grandfather owns four pairs of glasses.
Маша хорошо видит, но иногда носит очки — наверное, потому, что ей нравится, кaк они на ней смотрятся. Masha has good vision, but sometimes she wears glasses. Probably because she likes the way they look on her.

When talking about sunglasses, you have to add the adjective солнечные (sun, solar) in front of glasses. So the word sunglasses is translated as солнечные очки. Once in a while someone might say солнцезащитные очки, meaning anti-sun or sun-protective glasses. Fortunately this tough word combination is not as popular as the simpler солнечные очки. Examples:

На пляже многие люди носят солнечные очки. At the beach many people wear sunglasses.
Он надел свои солнечные очки, как только солнце вышло из-за облаков. He put on his sunglasses as soon as the sun came out of the clouds.

In English the word goggles is used to describe protective eyewear, e.g., swim goggles, lab goggles, ski goggles, etc. But in Russian, they are all simply очки. Examples:

Валера, куда ты дел мои лыжные очки? Valera, where did you put my ski goggles?
Завтра тебе будут нужны лабораторные очки, профессор сказал, что мы будем работать с опасными химикатами. Tomorrow you will need lab goggles. The professor said that we will be working with dangerous chemicals.

The word очки can also mean points; очко is the singular form of the word. Example:

Сабонис забил только одно очко против нас. Sabonis scored only one point against us.

Don's additional comments: when очки means glasses or goggles, the word is only used in the plural. When it means points, it is used in both the singular and the plural.


Other phrases used for sunglasses are «тёмные очки» “dark glasses”, «очки от солнца» and occasionally «чёрные очки» “black glasses.” A Google search this morning found this distribution of hits:

очки от солнца 8,740,000
солнцезащитные очки 578,000
солнечные очки 226,000
тёмные очки 164,000
чёрные очки 41,000

With those numbers you can be pretty sure that all five forms are acceptable. It's possible that the distribution of numbers relects the marketing of sunglasses in Russian more than the conversational use of the phrases.

1 comment

Comment from: LV [Visitor]

I don’t know if you take “requests"; if you do, I would like to suggest the verb иметь as a topic for one of your future posts. According to various textbooks and even the Oxford Russian Dictionary, it refers to “abstract possession", for example иметь место or иметь значение. The above example “Дед имеет четыре пары очков” however suggest that in some cases it can also be used with “concrete possession” (four pairs of glasses), whereas textbooks generally teach that in this case the construction with у … есть must be used.

Don responds: The topic has now been briefly addressed here.

09/12/09 @ 00:53

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