by Don  

One thing that surprises Americans in Russia is how often you can see people squatting. In the States I think most people lose this ability somewhere by the time they are thirty; constantly sitting in chairs allows the hamstrings and calf muscles to get tighter and tighter, which means those muscles lack the elasticity to maintain the position. (Regular attendance at yoga classes can help you bring that elasticity back.) The prepositional phrases in Russian used to describe this position include the word корточки. It only occurs in the plural, and theoretically in all six cases, though truth to tell I have never seen it in the instrumental, dative, or nominative:


If a person is in a squatting position, one mostly uses the verb сидеть/посидеть 'to be sitting' to capture the image. This verb is a location verb, thus you use with with the prepositional case and the preposition на.

На этой фотографии вы увидите, как мужчина сидит на корточках. In this photograph you will see a man squatting.

When anthropologists discuss this position, they often use the word 'hunkering.' In the fully developed position the buttocks rest on the back of the shins or ankles. Young Russian men often hunker together in summer evenings smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. You aren't really supposed to drink beer on public streets in Russia, but as long as you aren't causing trouble, the police generally turn a blind eye:

To describe getting into that position, you most commonly use the verb садиться/сесть 'to sit down,' although you can also use присаживаться/присесть or опускаться/опуститься. These are motion verbs, so you use them with на plus the accusative:

Дима сел на корточки и позвонил своей девушке. Dmitri squatted down and called his girlfriend.
Один из симптомов повреждения менисков коленного сустава — это невозможность присесть на корточки. (adapted from this source) One of the symptoms of damaged menisci of the knee joints is the inability to squat.
Мне так не хотелось приближаться, но я вдохнула неглубоко через рот и опустилась на корточки рядом с ним. (adapted from this source) I really didn't want to get closer, but I inhaled a bit through my mouth and squatted down next to him.


Comment from: Andrey [Visitor]  

Так сидят заключенные при этапировании в русских зонах. Иногда часами. Для того, чтобы конвоирам легче было за ними следить. Однажды, я видел, как в этапе после четырех часов такого сидения, процентов 30 зеков не могли подняться, и другие зеки брали из под мышки и трясли в воздухе, разгибая им ноги в коленях. А, эти малолетки на фото, просто подражают зекам, желая выглядеть круто.

10/17/10 @ 12:36
Comment from: Alexander [Visitor]

Как правило, на корточках сидят только гопники ( http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%93%D0%BE%D0%BF%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8 , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopnik ). Более-менее культурные люди так делают редко :)

07/28/10 @ 11:00
Comment from: Bryan [Visitor]

Hey, welcome back Don! This entry is pretty cool, seeing those Russian guys squatting like that looks really weird. Just a reminder of those small details that really make cultures different.

07/14/10 @ 13:02

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