by Don  

One word that gets used a lot more in Russian than in English is киоск kiosk. I think the average American doesn't normally use this word, and I think most of us don't even have a clear idea of what it means. My first encounter with the word in English was at the University of Arizona. There were several brick structures which we called kiosks that had bulletin boards attached to which one could staple announcements for concerts, parties, businesses, etc. That is not what киоск means in Russian. A киоск is a small stand or booth where people sell things. Usually it's a free-standing structure, though it can also be part of a larger one. (It's never just a cart.) These are everywhere in Russia: at train stations, in the subway, anywhere there is a pedestrian street. And they sell all kinds of stuff. To say what kind of stand it is, Russians sometimes put an adjective before the noun:

газетный киоск news stand
сувенирный киоск souvenir stand
цветочный киоск flower stand
книжный киоск book stand
пивной киоск beer stand

Sometimes the description of the stand comes in the genitive case after the noun:

киоск ремонта обуви shoe repair stand

During the Soviet period you could find the oddest things at kiosks. The ones that seemed to have the most variety were the газетные киоски. I remember seeing toothbrushes and red pepper being sold в газетных киосках.

The noun itself is fairly straightforward with no grammatical quirks (as long as you remember the seven-letter spelling rule). Here are some sample sentences:

Я никогда не хотела работать в сувенирном киоске, но я здесь работаю уже пятый год. I never wanted to work at a souvenir stand, but I've been working here for going on five years now.
Рядом с цветочным киоском находится банкомат. There is an ATM next to the flower shop.
Когда я подошёл к газетному киоску, Комсомольксой правды уже не было. When I walked up to the news stand, they were already out of Komsomol'skaya Pravda.
Если хочешь открыть пивной киоск около станции метро, то надо платить крыше, а то киоск подожгут. If you want to open a beer stand near the subway station, then you have to pay protection money, otherwise they'll set the stand on fire.

Here are some shots of various kiosks around Kazan. This first one is basically a beer, snacks, and tobacco place. Its sign reads:


There is a reason that they offer printing services here. Right nearby there is an Architectural University. Universities here don't offer printing services to their students. They often don't have the internet. And students are too poor generally to own printers.

This next one is a flower stand.

And here we have a souvenir stand:

This next one is a shoe repair stand.

And here is a beer stand. The beer stand is interesting because you have to pay for both the beer and the container. If you bring your own plastic bottle in, then you just pay for the beer and they fill your bottle for you.

Last but not least, here is a little auto supply kiosk. They mostly sell oil and antifreeze.


Comment from: Alexander [Visitor]

На первой фотографии слово “Ксерокс” на самом деле обозначает не “Xerox", а “Photocopier” или “Copy Machine". Исторически так сложилось, что в России ксероксом называют то, что на самом деле является копиром (копировальным аппаратом)

Don responds: Согласен. Я из старшего поколения, для которого Xerox по-английски может обозначать любое фотокопировальное устройство, поэтому я так перевёл. Но более современный вариант photocopier. На такой вывеске мы бы скорее всего написали бы photocopies. Я так перепишу текст.

07/28/10 @ 10:54
Comment from: Irene [Visitor]  

Great photos! What is the seven-letter spelling rule?

Don responds: Thanks for the kind words! Take a look at the “Russian trivia” section on the right side of the main blog. There you will find a link to the three Russian spelling rules.

07/16/10 @ 14:10
Comment from: Yegor [Visitor]

The same thing is called “ларёк” as well (very often, 50/50 with “киоск”). Though I guess there should be some difference between the two. Well, may be “киоск” is the one you can enter while “ларёк” serves customers outside. But that’s just a humble opinion.

07/16/10 @ 07:44

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