by Bella  

Свобода is the Russian word for freedom or liberty. When my family immigrated to America over 20 years ago, it was in search of exactly that; and when we moved to New York, we got to see one of the biggest symbols dedicated to being free.

Вон она там — Статуя Свободы! There it is, over there, the Statue of Liberty!

The adjectival form of свобода is свободный. It is often used in the sense of “available/free.” When you are asking whether someone is free/avaialable for consultation, you usually use the short forms of the adjective, namely свободен, свободна, свободно and свободны:

Маша свободна по субботам. Masha is free on Saturdays.
Доктор Иванович свободен через час. Doctor Ivanovich is available in an hour.
Есть билеты на этот рейс?
Да, одно место свободно.
Are there any tickets left for this flight?
Yes, there is one open seat.

Just remember that even though the English translation for свободный is "free" it's not to be confused with бесплатно, meaning "free of charge.


Comment from: john mcenaney [Visitor]  

this is my first time on the site. I went to Volgograd in July for a week. I lived in Saransk. took train fom saransk to V. one way was 21 hours..yes, many stops. but maybe 5 hours at most. and then i took the train from saransk to moscow. yes, some stops but not as many. 10 hours. But i suspect the 18 hrs you noted in your description of stalingrad must be about right, if it were a military train and no stops.

Anyhow. I wanted to say I find your site very intresting for me and american, who is now studying russian, and only spent 3 months over there. visited St. P, Vologrgrad and Mosck.
But the “calendar” page with a Word a Day and the sentences are terrific for me. I put this page up as my HOMEPAGE. I expect it to help me with learning and understanding Russian.

Gotta tell ya too..I was on my way home tonite from class (college of charleston, south carolina) and FINALLY decided to stop at this EURO FOOD store. I had heard that they sell russian foodstuff. I thought I would check it out for KVAC..WOW..YUP. It is 94 degr F. today here and I bot 2 bottles. I got addicted to the stuff while living in Saransk this past summer! What a wonderful treat!!
Love your site. Hope you keep it up.
OH…why cant i find a QWERTY Russian on my Mac. You apparantly did?
thanks. john

Don responds: John, thanks for the note. If you are running OS X, then these instructions should help. If you are running something different, the links on the AATSEEL site should help you find something decent for your Mac.

09/17/10 @ 17:33
Comment from: Sean Ray [Visitor]

I found out the difference between свободный and бесплатный the hard way when I asked a store clerk on Brighton Beach Avenue in New York, «Извините, эти закладки свободные?». He rolled his eyes as he handed me a bookmark and corrected me with бесплатные.

These kind of trial and error encounters really cement the words in your head!

09/17/10 @ 10:37
Comment from: Roberta Taussig [Visitor]  

Could we get some discussion of the difference between свобода and воля?

Don responds: Actually, I’d love to see a careful discussion of that myself, but it’s probably beyond the scope of a blog that’s aimed at first- and second-year Russian students.

Here’s the fast and dirty: the primary meaning of воля is will/desire/aspiration. In the phrase на воле it can have the meaning of freedom, as opposed to imprisonment, thus «Он два года сидел, но теперь он на воле» “He was incarcerated for two years, but now he is free.”

09/17/10 @ 10:08
Comment from: Yegora [Visitor]

Right. Let’s remember a conversation from the “Back to the future” movie:

- All right, give me a Pepsi Free.
- You want a Pepsi, PAL, you’re gonna pay for it.

This is what is difficult to translate into Russian :) One of translations I found is like this:

— Дайте мне Пепси без сахара.
— Куда ж он денется?

That’s fun as well in it’s own way, but isn’t as laughable as original one.

09/17/10 @ 06:01

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