by Don  

The Russian word for chocolate is шоколад, which is a perfectly regular noun. Theoretically it occurs in the plural, but it is fairly uncommon to encounter the plural form:


In Russian sometimes people use the genitive form of a noun to mean “a small quantity of” or “some”:

Ты хочешь шоколада? Would you like some chocolate?

Шоколад is one of those words that has an alternative old genitive form that ends in -у. Such a form is called the second genitive. When it is used in the meaning of “some,” we call that usage the partitive genitive. It's entirely possible that you might encounter a sentence like this:

Ты хочешь шоколаду? Would you like some chocolate?

Those second genitives are old-fashioned. You are more likely to hear it from the mouth of a Russian бабушка than from someone under thirty years of age.

When you go to Russia you will encounter all sorts of chocolate that you have never seen before. My favorite one this summer was this one:

The line беречь от женщин means “keep away from women.” I about died laughing when I first encountered it. I wonder what happens when you feed it to women? Perhaps they turn into gremlins?

Here are some sample sentences:

— Володь, что такое эскимо?
— Это мороженое, покрытое шоколадом.
“Vladimir, what is an ‘Eskimo’?”
“It's ice cream covered with chocolate.”
Я просто не могу жить без шоколада. I just can't live without chocolate.
— Ты любишь шоколад?
— Люблю, но у меня появляются прыщики от него.
— Это полнейший бред. У тебя прыщики, потому что ты никогда не моешь лицо.
“Do you like chocolate?”
“I do, but it gives me pimples.”
“That's complete bunk. You have pimples because you never wash your face.”
— Ты слышал, что одесский завод производит сало в шоколаде?

— Слышал, но в действительности это лишь карамель с привкусом сала, а не настоящее сало.
“Did you hear that a factory in Odessa produces fatback covered with chocolate?”

“I did, but really it is only caramel with some fatback flavoring, not real fatback.”


Comment from: r2d2 [Visitor]

I wonder what happens when you feed it to women? Perhaps they turn into gremlins?

It may cause extra weight gain ;-)

08/29/10 @ 03:10
Comment from: Sput [Visitor]

I too am shocked to learn there is a translation for сало - I’ve never seen it, the product, anywhere else so never thought to look it up. Thanks for that!

08/28/10 @ 07:55
Comment from: gamelton [Visitor]

Hi there.

You’ve got already 4 comments awaiting so I decided to add my two cents. :)

First off, “прищик” (pimple) is misspelled, “прЫщик” is correct.

Second, “полнейший бред” to some people might sound rude. Althoug the meaning is right I’d recommend to change it to something more polite like “вздор” or “чушь".

Don responds: Thanks! The typoes are corrected.

I actually wanted “полнейший бред” to sound harsh…

08/27/10 @ 11:17
Comment from: Luta [Visitor]

FATBACK! The translation for “сало” is fatback. THANK YOU! (And here all this time I’ve been describing it as raw pickled pigs fat, or salted pig fat, or “the inverse of bacon"…)

There IS a direct translation into English. Thank you.

08/27/10 @ 10:53
Comment from: Irene [Visitor]

I keep reading about fatback in Russia but have never seen - or tasted - any. Can you do a complete entry about that some time? If you already have, I regret not having read it. (Love the Nestles bar!)

Don responds: Click the “alphabetical listing” link from the main blog page and then follow it down to сало.

08/27/10 @ 07:53
Comment from: Christopher Stone [Visitor]  

As a Peace Corps Volunteer currently living in Georgia (I read this blog regularly thanks to an ex-ASU student who’s also serving here now), I can attest that “Just for Men” chocolate can be found throughout the former Soviet Union. When asked why men need their own chocolate, many Georgians and Armenians (I’m currently in a minority community) reply that it goes better with cognac.

08/27/10 @ 01:40
Comment from: it-ogo [Visitor]

1)Typo: прЫщики

2)Women will be OK but something wrong can happen to chocolate if they reach it.

Don responds: Typos have been corrected. Thanks!

08/27/10 @ 00:35

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